Here is another great activity that was suggested to us by our Speech Therapist. This activity is designed to help speech specifically by teaching the child how to speak in the negative. Here we are focusing on the word "not." It also helps a child learn to sort as well as to understand "why" something is different rather than just recognizing that it is.
All you need for this activity are some index cards, sticky notes, baskets (or other objects for setting the activity up) and various items from around the house; 3 that are the same and 1 that is different. For these activities I use a large variety of items such as 3 square blocks and 1 round one, 3 girl dolls and 1 boy, 3 hats and 1 dress, 3 forks and 1 spoon, and 3 crayons and 1 pencil, etc. Just digging in your child's toy box will usually give you plenty of ideas for where to start.
First we need to set the activity up. As always, my speech therapist has emphasized how important it is to set it up in a manner in which promotes success. This is why we need the baskets or other items to show the child what they need to do. I found one large basket and three small ones. I place the large basket nearest to my daughter and the three smaller ones above that. That is how she will sort. It looks something like this.
I then place the four objects I want sorted in the large basket in front of her. She then begins to sort them by placing the three items that are the same in the smaller baskets. For this activity I have given her three coins and a dollar bill.
When she is finished the the basket in front of her has only one object left, which is the one that is different.
Then we ask her why that object is different. I will mention how the objects in the smaller baskets are the same and the one in the large basket is different. I then say, "why is it different?" To answer she looks on the index card which we have on the desk next to the baskets. She then reads the answer "It is different because it is not _________________." (In the space where there line is I place a sticky note with the correct answer for that object) In this instance I added the words "a coin" and she responded by saying "It is different because it is not a coin."
Of course it is best to start out with really easy objects at first. The first time we did this activity I had a difficult concept and she did not do very well, so for the next one I used totally unrelated objects; three clothespins and a toy. Of course that made it really easy for her to figure out which one was different. It was not until she mastered the activity that we began getting more difficult concepts such as having all coins with 1 nickel and 3 quarters, etc.
The most important thing is to keep it fun and encourage success. My daughter loves it when we tell her what a good job she does. She gets excited and is eager to do it right. Nothing is more rewarding then seeing your child excited about a job well done.