My favorite shape sorter by far is the Parents brand animal sound shape sorter. This link currently says out of stock but I have seen it come and go and it tends to be really popular so they usually bring it back again. The reason I love it so much is that I get to work on all sorts of skills with it. I was actually inspired to write this post after reading ‘Colors‘ by We Can Do All Things. I have talked in other posts how I love toys with pieces because it naturally encourages repetition. This toy has 5 pieces, each a different shape, color and animal. Are you starting to see why it can be so great?
I remember one time a parent telling me their kiddo didn’t know their colors, but they knew their animals. It was easy to incorporate that into our activity. Whenever they went to get the next piece I would say ‘pick up the blue cow’. Since they knew the cow, they were able to find it and pretty soon they were able to find the pieces based on color alone. You can use the same technique for shapes or animals.
I have used it to work on carryover with speech skills as well. The cow makes it easy since it says ‘mooo’ and as my cousin (a pediatric SLP) has told me many times, the M’s, B’s, and P’s are the consonants kids have the easiest time with. I would also use the sounds to get the kiddo to pick the next piece by giving the animal sound and they would find the piece.
When I have a kiddo practice bridging for core and butt muscle strengthening, I alot of times make an animal parade. I have the animals ‘talk’ while they walk under the kiddo’s bottom that is lifted in the air. It’s fun because if they collapse too soon they think its hysterical that the animal is ‘trapped’. Usually once the animals have walked back and forth while the kiddo is bridging, we then do sit-up to put the animals in their ‘homes’ which allows us to reinforce fine motor skills as well.
There are many toys out there that can have a multi-purpose use, you just have to be creative. What other toys do you use for multiple purposes?
PS – One of my other favorites is the Laugh and Learn Piggy Bank which has colored coins with different animals printed on them!