Egg-citing ABA!

Spring is here and Easter is right around the corner!  We can’t go to Target without my daughter begging to walk through the Easter section.  During our last visit, I picked up a bag of small plastic eggs and a tube of larger glitter eggs (glitter is big at our house). The eggs were the best $7 I’ve spent in a long time.  My kids can’t get enough of them.

One of my favorite ways for parents to maintain and generalize skills learned during therapy is to incorporate learned skills into seasonal or holiday activities.  It ensures that concepts will be presented in a new way (in the context of the holiday).  It also familiarizes children with seasonal and holiday traditions and objects.  Easter eggs are one of the easiest and most versatile tools for generalization.

Here are just a few of the endless ways you can play and learn with Easter Eggs…

–          Have an egg hunt.  Ok, that’s fairly obvious, but also one of the ways to make the holidays more enjoyable while also allowing children to practice holiday activities.  (We do this for Trick-or-Treating and Christmas Stockings too.  We even watch fireworks on YouTube to gear up for the 4th.)  Practicing familiarizes children with what is going to happen and what is expected of them during the activity/event.  It also lets them know how and when reinforcement will be delivered.  Best of all, it increases independence during the real event.  Tailor your egg hunt to your child’s hunting ability, but remember that placing eggs in a visible but inaccessible location is a good strategy to elicit requesting (manding).  You can also practice labeling (tacting) and requesting (manding) for prepositions, colors and attributes (if you use eggs with added decoration).  Do you have two or more competitive egg hunters?  Assign colors to each child.

–          Let your child hide the eggs (and maybe give you instructions to find them).

–          Emptying and Filling – Fill the eggs with a variety of objects and let your child open them, take items out, fill them and close them.  All important fine motor skills.

–          Egg Matching – Color the bottom of cups in an egg carton and your child can match the eggs to the carton.  An alternative – put colored paper or object in each egg. Your child can open all the eggs and match the colors inside to the correct colored egg. See the Colors Lesson in the Academic Curriculum in Skills®.

–          Sound Discrimination with Eggs – Find pairs of objects that make sounds (e.g. two bells, two bead necklaces, two beans, two keys) and a few that don’t make sounds  (e.g. cotton balls) and place one of each object in an egg.  Present the filled eggs in a basket and the remaining objects in an egg carton.  Try matching the eggs to their related objects by sound.  Option two – place both items in eggs and try to match eggs by sound. The Sound Discrimination lesson in Skills® has a number of activities to do with sound eggs.

–          Filled eggs offer tons of language opportunities.  Talk about the items in the eggs, take turns guessing and describing the items in the eggs, and use this time to reinforce the concepts of “full” and “empty.”

–          Whack an Egg! Cut holes in a shoe box and let your child push or hammer the eggs into the box.  Use two different sized eggs and different sized holes for problem solving.  This is another chance to review “full” and “empty.”

–          Academic Egg Halves – Write a lower case letter on one half and an upper case letter on the other and match.  Write a letter on one half and word endings on the other and mix and match to create different words.  A third option, write rhyming words on each half.  Want a math alternative? Write a number on one half and the same number of dots on the other side and match numerals to an equal number of dots.  Put the numbered eggs in order. Refer to the Academic Domain of Skills® for specific lessons.

–          Liven up your tactile tub!  Adding Easter Eggs and paper grass to whatever you already have in there.  We are playing with quinoa grains, paper grass and plastic eggs right now.  Throw in some large spoons and tongs and try picking up eggs with different tools.

–          Working Memory Eggs – Practice working memory skills.  Let your child watch you fill an egg and then present that egg and an egg of a different color and have your child select the egg with the hidden object.  This activity can be made increasingly complex. To tailor it to your child’s specific skill level, refer to the Working Memory lesson from the Executive Function curriculum in Skills®.

–          Place sequence pictures in the eggs and let your child open them and sequence the pictures.  Pick a holiday themed sequence (e.g. Easter bunny filling Easter baskets).  For more ideas, refer to the Sequencing lesson from the Language curriculum in Skills®.

–          Egg painting!  Place a piece of paper in a cardboard box with sides and put drops of paint in the paper and drop in Easter Eggs.  Roll the box to create egg tracks on the paper. This is also a great way to review color mixing – See the Colors Lesson in the Academic Curriculum in Skills®.  Open the eggs and use the circles dipped in paint to stamp paper.

If you have any more ideas, we’d love to hear from you!  Please leave a comment below or on our facebook page.

Happy Playing and Happy Spring!