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Language and Communication follow instructions with 3 to 4 key words  This resource has been viewed by a moderator.


The child will understand unfamiliar instructions which have 3 or 4 key words which they need to remember and understand to do the instruction.

Early years skill:Understanding
Early years typical range:30-50m
P-scales/Nat. Curriculum skill:English Listening
P-scales/Nat. Curriculum level:P7
TAP skill:Language Understanding
TAP level:TAP42
Section:Early Years (0-5yrs) info; Primary (5-11yrs) info
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Activity/strategy name and materials required How to do the activity Key principles for doing the activity and comments
Animal Holiday

Several animal toys (wind up ones are more fun!)

Pictures of different locations e.g. beach, jungle, city, space (!)

One or two items suitable to each location, stuck to the picture using Blu Tack e.g. a bucket and starfish on the beach

1. Explain that the animals are going on holiday to different places.

2. Give instructions for two animals at a time and the child makes them go on holiday. E.g. the sheep goes to the beach and the cow goes to the jungle.

3. You can also include unusual instructions e.g. 'put the sheep and the chicken under the bucket'

If the child struggles with the instruction, break it into two parts, and count them out on your fingers.

Monkey's Suitcase

Toy monkey (or some other toy)

Toy suitcase

Clothes or other items to go in the suitcase

You will either ask for 3 or 4 items (e.g. 'pack the hat, bag, top, and glasses') or 2 items with a descriptive word (e.g. 'pack the red coat and green book'). The underlined words are the key words - the words the child needs to understand and remember to be able to carry out the instruction.

Dice Game

3 or 4 dice - either with Velcro on the sides or pockets, so that pictures can be attached

Pictures of characters (e.g. animals) - enough for 2 dice

6 symbols for positional language (in, on, under, behind, next to, in front) - attach these to a dice

6 object pictures - attach these to a dice

Toys to match the character and object pictures

To extend this to four key words have 2 dice with characters on. This time throw four dice so you will get things like dog-horse-next to-table turning up (to make the instruction "put the dog and horse next to the table).

Making a sandwich

A sandwich assembly play kit (e.g. from the Early Learning Centre)

Pictures of the key parts (bread, cheese, tomato, lettuce, butter etc)

You could vary this by making soup with different ingredients.

You could 'feed' the sandwich to a toy or to an adult if you are working with a younger child.

You could make real sandwiches!


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