This section will reveal to you insider strategies and techniques used by speech-language pathologists to super-charge your child’s learning.
- Point to the three pictures on the train and point out what they have in common (they may all be animals, or all green, or all have wheels etc.). Talking about the category name or common attribute is the first step toward your child learning to do the same. You may have to model, or demonstrate, this technique many times before your child is able to do it himself. Remember that your child may be able to choose the correct car to join the train but still not be able to tell you why they made that choice. This is totally normal….understanding comes before being able to express that understanding. The expression will come with time and lots of modeling from you!
- Encourage your child to talk about what the three pictures have in common. For higher levels, the three pictures will have more than one thing in common (e.g. they are all animals, they all live in the water, they are all mammals). Your child may be able to point out all the things that the pictures have in common or maybe only one or two…help your child fill in the missing information by using one or some of the following techniques:
Cloze technique: This is a technique that speech therapists use to help bridge the gap from knowledge to articulating that knowledge. What you do is start the sentence and then pause and let your child fill in some important information e.g.) ‘These are all animals and they all live in the…..’(wait for child to say ‘water’).
Ask leading questions: ‘How are fish babies born? (they hatch from eggs) How are whale, dolphin and seal babies born?’ (they are born live)
- Once your child chooses the correct car to join the train, name something else that could also go with that train and explain your choice. Ask your child to do the same.
Balloon Pop Game
- Talk about how this game is different from Category Caboose. In Balloon Pop, the user must figure out which three pictures go together the best from all of the pictures presented and then pop the ones that don’t belong. Level one is fairly strait forward as the odd balloon out is quite different from the other three. However, in level three, some of the balloons that don’t belong have some characteristics in common with the three that go together because level three deals with subcategories. The finer distinctions between subcategories may not be obvious, especially to a younger child. Remember that any choice your child makes is an opportunity to learn! If they try to pop an incorrect balloon and get an ‘x’, it tells them that that picture is one of the pictures that goes with two others. Now try to find two others that go with the picture they tried to pop.
- Talk about why a balloon was popped. What made it different from the rest? (e.g. ‘I see lots of animals and this one I popped was a can opener…it was not an animal.’…or ‘All of these pictures are animals, but one animal lives in water and the others don’t so I’m going to pop the water animal.’).
- Sometimes you may not be able to figure out why certain pictures were eliminated and others were not. Please feel free to email us and let us know. We will analyze the pictures and provide an explanation. There may be some scenarios where more than one explanation is possible but the program only accepts one way. We will let you know that too. These are all great learning opportunities for older children. It helps them see that the world can be classified in many different ways and sometimes there is more than one correct answer depending on what criteria you apply. This will help develop their cognitive flexibility.
- Small thumbnails of the images caught line up along the bottom of the screen. Talk to your child about the group that they were instructed to help Lenny fish out of the water and how all the pictures below are a part of that group and that the rotten fish pictures are not part of that group. Name other items that could be part of that group (e.g. naming other farm animals or other tools or other furniture etc.) You can also talk about what makes an object part of that group, which is sort of like providing a definition for a category. You will find that some categories are easier to define than others.