The costumes and masks are in a heap on the floor. The parties and trick-or-treating are over. Parents of kids with cognitive or language delays can find fun, educational value in that plastic Jack-o-lantern. Kids learn from sorting candy into types and learning new label words. Here is what I mean.
Determine how candy will be stored at your house. Does everyone’s candy go together for later? Does your child keep his or her own? There are lots of way those treats can be used as motivation to do homework and chores. See my Halloween blog entry for ideas.
Let’s suppose that you have deposited the Halloween loot on the kitchen table.
Wrapped – Unwrapped
First, explain that you need to sort wrapped and unwrapped. (Find an example of each to explain). Then explain that we cannot eat unwrapped treats. (Maybe they are dirty, or maybe they will make us sick). Let your child help you sort. Discard the unwrapped items.
Types of Treats
Think for a moment for the general terms we use to describe candy:
- Bag of Candy
- Candy Bar
- Other Kinds of Treats
Again explain the types and pick an example of each. Have your child help sort. Kids with cognitive and language delays love having command of new words. It is okay. It is good. It is WONDERFUL practice to say the new terms as you sort each piece: Look at this! It is a bag of candy. Which pile is for this one? Then: Is this a bag of candy? No, it is a sucker. Where does that one go?
Tedious – yes. Repetitious – yes. A meaningful learning experience for your child – YES!
Then follow up on requesting Halloween treats with language such as: I like the way you ate your supper. Do you want one of your Halloween treats? Do you want a bag of candy or a candy bar?