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Language and Communication understanding and using 3 key words  This resource has been viewed by a moderator.


Follows and uses instructions containing three keys words.

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Early years skill:Understanding
Early years typical range:22-36m
P-scales/Curriculum skill:English Listening
P-scales/Curriculum level:P6
TAP skill:Language Understanding
TAP level:TAP36
Pre/Nat. Curriculum Area:not specified
Pre/Nat. Curiculum Standard:not specified
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
Adjective + adjective + noun instructions

Big / Small teddy bear pictures

Big / small clothing in various colours basic colours

Explain that we are going to dress teddy.

First the adult tells the child what clothes to find e.g. 'Find big red trousers'.

Child takes a turn to say what will go on next - encourage the use of both adjectives by being puzzled if not enough information is given.

E.g. 'Hmmm. I'm not sure. There are big, red trousers and small, red trousers... Which ones did you mean?'

Take it in turns so that the child hears lots of good adjective + adjective + noun phrases being modelled.

Football Game

Coloured card (to make goalposts and boxes)

Coloured balls (e.g. ping pong balls)

Using the coloured card, make some goalposts/boxes of different colours beforehand.

Lay out the coloured boxes and goal posts.

Give the child instructions, e.g. "get the red ball in the green goals", or "get the blue ball in the yellow box".

The child can then throw or 'kick' the ball with his fingers

This requires some preparation, i.e. making the boxes and the goalposts.

I have found this activity useful when working with older children, who are not motivated by simpler games.

Make sure that you have an item for each colour you use, e.g. a red ball, goalpost and box; a blue ball, goalpost and box; a green ball, goalpost and box etc.

Hide the toys

Bedroom furniture (e.g. bed, chair, wardrobe)

Objects/toys (e.g. ball, car, doll etc)

Lay out the furniture and the toys.

Tell the child that he/she has to hide the toys in the bedroom.

Give instructions, e.g. "put the ball under the bed", or "put the car on the chair".

Either real items or pictures can be used.

Dinner Time!



2 plates

2 baskets

Food items

You can use either real objects or pictures.

Black Sheep Press Barrier Worksheets

Barrier Games programme

- 1 key word level

- 2 key word level

- 3 key word level

Large folder to make a barrier

2 of each picture sheet

It is important for this activity to be done first with the adult giving the instructions but each sheet should be repeated with the child leading the activity (i.e. giving the instructions to the adult). You can prepare a 'special sheet' with the additions/colouring already in place to make this easier.

Barrier Games

Two sets of objects


Two sets of base boards or sorting containers (e.g. a washing basket and plate)

The principle of each game is similar to the barrier worksheets - both the adult and the child carry out the instruction, and then see if both sides of the barrier match!

Using objects and pictures from the child's everyday experience is useful to help them use more language in a range of situations.

Whose is it?

2 posting boxes: each should have a picture of the 'owner' on the front (e.g. boy, cat, doll, girl, duck or teddy)

A range of small pictures (or objects).

Don't forget to give lots of praise!

If the child finds it hard to pick the right object, give a choice of just 2 at a time.

Feed the animals

2 animal hand puppets with opening mouths, (a monster is good because it can eat silly things)

A range of toy foods

Don't forget to give lots of praise!

If the child finds it hard to pick the right object, give a choice of just two at a time.

It can be fun if you can secretly take the food out of the puppet's mouth and hide it - the child will think the puppet has really eaten it!

Make a book

Photos of the child and friends, or topic pictures

Empty book, or sheets of paper to bind into a book.

Some computer programmes, such as Clicker 4 and 2 Simple, have similar activities to this one.

Using a model sentence for each book will help the child to build the range of sentences they understand and can use. For example: 'Sam has a big /small _____.'

If you are ambitious you could make a flip book which allows a lot of different combinations!

Adapt an activity

Use any of the above activities

Real objects can be used instead of pictures in all of these activities.

Using photos of the child and her friends, doing everyday activities, will help her use her new language skills in a wider range of activities.

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