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Language and Communication use single words signs or symbols for actions 2  This resource has been viewed by a moderator.


Pupil understands and uses single words, signs or symbols for familiar actions

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Early years skill:Communication and Language
Early years typical range:8-20m
P-scales/Curriculum skill:English Speaking
P-scales/Curriculum level:P4
TAP skill:Expressive Language
TAP level:TAP24
Pre/Nat. Curriculum Area:not specified
Pre/Nat. Curiculum Standard:not specified
Section:Early Years (0-5yrs) info; Primary (5-11yrs) info
Activity/strategy name and materials required How to do the activity Key principles for doing the activity and comments
What's missing?

Pictures of common actions

1. Put a range of pictures of actions in front of the child.

2. Check the child can pick up/point to the action you name.

3. Ask the child to have a really good look at the cards.

4. Ask the child to close their eyes or turn their back.

5. Take one card away.

6. Ask the child to uncover their eyes and say what's missing.

The child needs a good visual memory to do this activity.

Secret card

Action cards

1. Take a card and look at it without showing the child.

2. Mime carrying out the action on the card.

3. The child has to guess what your mime is.

4. Show the card to confirm whether the child is correct or not.

5. Swap roles so the child has a chance to 'act'.


Picture books showing a range of actions.

Understanding: Ask the child to point to someone who is doing the action you say.

Speaking: Ask the child to name the actions shown in the pictures.

You could ask questions like "Who's crying?".

To encourage speaking, you could talk about the picture leaving (long) pauses in your speaking where the child could add their own comments, you could even try making the occasional errors in your descriptions (especially if the child is understanding the names for actions) and see if the child corrects you (correct yourself if they don't).


Pictures of actions with paper clips attached.

Magnetic fishing rod - you can make one yourself with a stick or pencil, piece of string and a magnet.

Box or blue sheet of paper to represent a fish tank or pond (optional).

Understanding: Put the cards with paperclips into the "fish tank" and ask the child to fish fo a particular action. (with magnet) and name the picture

Speaking: Ask the child to fish for a card and for them to name the one they get - or they can say which one they'd like you to fish for.

Some children may need help with the fishing rod - a shorter line can make it easier for some children with motor difficulties, larger paperclips or less cards can also make it easier.

If the child has difficulty understanding, you can reduce the number of cards or give a prompt.

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