J and I have both been under the weather so we’ve had a chilled couple of days. This means I have had to find ways to amuse J without it using too much energy (for ether of us). I thought that a board game would be a great idea as we could chill on the carpet but also have some learning fun. I chose our Orchard Toy ‘Postbox Game’.
As J is still only 1 (for few more weeks) I made it simpler by having 2 colours instead of all 4. This made it easier for J to differentiate and sort the cards, whilst also meaning we could focus on strengthening to two colours using Makaton, speech and PECS cards. I think doing too many colours at once just adds pressure to communicate so J will be less likely to join in. For today’s game he didn’t have to say anything or communicate at all really. He just had to push the envelope through the right colour postbox. I would name the colour and praise him for matching. That’s one of the positives of this game – you can tailor it to the level of your child.
Examples of ways to play:
-Use one colour card with two colour post boxes to focus on one key colour word and to build confidence in matching correct colours.
-Use two colour cards and two post boxes to build on sorting skills and bring in two key colour words.
-Use all the colour cards and post boxes so child can use all 4 colours. Adult can hold the cards so the child has to ask for a card, or ask for a specific colour, or practise basic sentences eg: ‘more cards’ (verbally, signing or via PECS).
-Use all colour cards and post boxes and play a turn taking game where the adult and the child pick one card each to put through the post box. (Bring in words ‘my turn’, ‘your turn’, ‘wait’ etc). Turn taking is great as it uses the skills needed for social communication (After all we usually had to speak – wait- respond in conversations so this is good practise).
– Use for pretend play and set up your own post office using the post boxes and envelopes.
You can also amend difficulty by turning cards over so children can see the colours or have them face down so children have to try and remember where specific colours are. The game does come with official instructions on how to play, but when it comes to speech and language development is great to be able to tweak a game to make it work for you.
The post boxes do take a bit of time to set up, so if your child is still building up attention skills, it may be best to set up before bringing child over to play. Once the ‘feet’ are on the post box they do stand up but are easy to knock over. The cards are sturdy enough and have been durable with little hands (if you loose pieces you can contact Orchard Toys and they are usually able to send replacements).
This game has become a firm favourite in our house. It’s durable, amendable and one of those games you can play over and over. So yes, I’d recommend this for children both as a fun game to play together and as a resource for building on speech and language.