I’m sure you know that one of the hardest things for children with language impairments to do is to remember and use their friends’ names at school. This blog post will list some activities that can be done in the classroom or in groups to help children improve their memory for their friends’ names.
- Play “I Spy.” This is a good activity if you go into the classroom for a few children. It can be done during free play time, snack, or lunch. You can even incorporate a toy pair of binoculars, toy telescope, or use a paper towel tube. Model: “I spy with my little eye a girl, her name is ____” or “I spy with my little eye a boy, his name is____.” If the children need to work on longer sentences try: “I spy with my little eye a girl who is wearing blue, Her name is _____.” Have the child or children spy various classmates around the room or at the table. You will probably have to model the name of the child that is spied until the child or children on your caseload have had a lot of practice. You can have children not on your caseload play along and model as well.
- If you have permission to take pictures of the children in the classroom, make a picture book of all the children in the class for the child on your caseload to use in therapy. If the class is large, you may need to make the book short at first and introduce more pictures to it over time. It helps to put it in a binder. Glue each classmate’s picture on a page and with the help of the child on your caseload write the name underneath. You and your caseload child can look through the book in therapy and practice naming his/her classmates. You can have the child find a particular classmate in the book. You can have him/her practice clapping out the syllables in each classmate’s name. You can practice social greetings with each picture, “Hi _____.” ”______, do you want to play?” And finally, you can cover the picture with an index card and slowly reveal the face while your caseload child guesses the classmate.
- If you have the children in circle time, you can have one child come up one at a time. Give them a sticker and tell them to give the sticker to a friend. Then ask, “Who did you give the sticker to?” They can practice using full sentences to say, “I gave the sticker to ____.” If they do not remember their friend’s name, they can practice asking, “What is your name?”
- As a transition activity, such as getting up from circle or getting up for snack have each child tell you the name of a friend sitting next to them. If they do not know their friend’s name, they should practice asking, “What is your name?”
- Sing “Willoughby Wallaby Woo” (by Raffi) as part of a circle time using all the names of the children in the class. It is really fun if you have a little elephant they can pass around and pretend an elephant sat on them. Or you control the elephant and place it on the head of the child you are singing about.