Playing a game with your child is a brilliant opportunity to support their learning and language development. Whether you are concerned about your child’s language skills or not, games and play time are excellent opportunities to share our knowledge and experience with our kids. As a speech and language therapist, I always tell parents that one of the best gifts we can give our kids is our time. Time in which they have our undivided attention. Time to play with them, chat, read, whatever it might be.The Shopping List Game by Orchard Toys is a fantastic and affordable addition to any household.
What is Shopping List Game
If you haven’t heard of ‘Shopping List’, you can have a look here. In essence, it is a simple, fun and incredibly engaging picture based game that children from about 3 years, will love to play. More importantly it is packed with language learning opportunities and skills you probably didn’t even think of. When it comes to the types of games and activities to do with children, it is often the most simple ideas and games that will resonate with them.
Shopping List is a timeless game I have been using in clinics for years. More recently I have also been playing it at home with my older son. Shopping List Game of course comes with wonderful instructions of rules of play. Orchard Toys provide great information about what skills each of their games target. I have written this post to share with parents some additional ways you can use this game to support your child’s language development.
5 Skills Your Child Can Practice Using Shopping List Game
1. Pronouns: Practising ‘He’ and ‘She’
Why not cut a picture of a girl and boy out and stand them beside the trolleys and baskets. That way when you play the game you can use pronouns like he and she on each turn. For example:
- ‘She has carrots in her trolley’
- ‘He has socks in his trolley’
If you don’t have a printer, get creative. Use a magazine or catalogue to find a picture of a boy and girl.
2. Listening Skills and Following Directions
I sometimes play an ‘Eye Spy’ type game with the boards and cards. I turn all the pictures face up and then give the kids clues as to what I want them to find. E.g. ‘They are orange, and long, and reindeer love to eat them’ (carrots). This task can be made more difficult for older children by giving them less information and more cryptic clues. E.g. ‘It’s white, and comes in a tube’ (toothpaste).
You can also make it more difficult by giving your child two different descriptions and ask them to find two items. For example: ‘I am looking for a green fruit and something I can read’ (apple and a magazine).
These types of task are great for supporting your child’s auditory processing skills and ability to remember and follow longer and more complex directions. It is also great for attention and visual scanning.
3. Turn takings and Understanding Rules
Shopping List Game is great to play with younger kids as a means of teaching them about playing a game together. Waiting your turn. Paying attention to what the other player is doing. Anticipating whose turn it is next. Learning from other players. Understanding the goal and rules of the game is also really important. Remember when sitting down to play with your child, everything is a learning opportunity for them.
4. Joint Attention
Although you might be trying hard to get your child to look at the pictures and say the words, don’t become disheartened if they don’t. They can just as easily learn new words from the experience of playing the game itself. New vocabulary like ‘waiting’ ‘my turn’ ‘these cards are the same’ ‘different’ ‘winner’ on so on. Sharing the experience of the game and encouraging joint attention, is in itself a great achievement.
5. Expanding Vocabulary
Shopping List Game provides children with a wide range of potentially new words that you would find in a supermarket. Remember to keep your intonation upbeat and energetic to keep the momentum going and maintain your child’s interest.
Where to buy ‘Shopping List’
Orchard Toys ‘Shopping List’ is available in most good toy shops around Ireland and the U.K. including The Art & Hobby Shop, and Smyths. Orchard Toys also sell their full range directly from their website.
Looking for more ideas for games to support speech and language development?