Love them or hate them, a number of young boys (and girls) LOVE nerf guns. I know my young man does! I understand that some families don’t allow toy guns or nerf guns and if so this post won’t be for you. However, if you have some foam/dart/nerf guns, here are some ideas about using them in therapy. All of these ideas would also work well with water guns in the garden in the summer.
I found this idea when trying to get my son to practise his times tables. We would stick up sticky notes with the answers on around the room, I would call out a sum and he had to shoot the answer. It made practise much more fun and he even asked to do it a few times! So a little disclaimer – I haven’t done this in therapy, but I think it would be a great way for parents to practise at home! Please be careful and make sure no one is aiming at faces. These will also be more appropriate for older children!
- Attention and listening skills. You could play ready, steady, go type games where your child has to listen for your command before they can shoot. Start by saying ready, steady, go quite quickly and then gradually slow it down. You could extend this by having a choice of 2 items to shoot. You could ask them to shoot the door or a chair, so you would say ready, steady…..chair.
- Auditory memory/ sequencing. You could stick a range of everyday object pictures around the room (or possibly use actual objects in the room as long as they can’t be broken!) and ask your child to shoot 2 of them. When they can do this easily move onto 3 etc. For example, shoot the chair and the window.
- Before and after. Instructions containing before and after are tricky for lots of children. Depending on where in the sentence the word is, depends on the order that you have to complete the instruction in. Again using objects or pictures you could give your child instructions and see if they can follow it correctly e.g. shoot the apple before the rug. For more information about teaching before and after read this post.
- Phonology – speech sounds. You will probably need pictures for this one. As your child shoots one of their target words, they have to say it. As they progress with their practise they could shoot 2 pictures and put them into a sentence. This could lead to some good silly sentences!
- Phonological awareness. Again you will probably need specific pictures for this one. You could ask your child to shoot a picture that starts with a p or finishes with a t. If you were practising rhyme, you could ask your child to shoot a picture that rhymes with a target word.
- Vocabulary. If you are trying to learn and remember specific vocabulary, you could get your child to say one fact about each picture they shoot. Equally you could give them a category or a material and ask them to shoot something that matches that.
I’m sure there are many other skills that you could practise as well. Do you have any other ideas! Remember, have fun and stay safe!