This classic game is filled with fun, but it can also be filled with language skills if you play your cards (or hippos) right! Warning: While the set up and clean up for one round only takes 10 minutes, we cannot guarantee that your child won't ask for rematches!
Materials: Hungry Hungry Hippo Game
Nouns: game, hippo(s), marbles
Pronouns: I, me, you, we
Verbs: want, like, play, go eat, look, go, push, count
Adjectives: orange, yellow, blue, green, more, fast. fun, silly
1. Set up the game according to the instructions and assign a colored hippo to each player. You could ask your child which hippo they want. If they do not select a color, you can model this skill by picking one yourself (i.e. "I want the blue hippo.")
2. Start by explaining the directions if your child has never played. You can say something like, "We push the buttons to get the marbles in the middle. Then we push the levers as fast as we can to help the hippos eat the marbles. If you eat more marbles, you win!" If your child requires simpler directives, just say, "Help the hippos eat like this." and demonstrate operation of the game board.
3. Model use of the target verbs with some phrases such as:
I WANT to play again, I LIKE this game!, Let's start! GO!, LOOK at my hippo EAT!, PUSH faster!, Let's COUNT the marbles.
4. In many of our blog posts, we have been targeting WHAT and WHERE questions, but this game provides many opportunities for WHO questions (i.e. WHO has the blue hippo? WHO has more marbles? WHO won? WHO wants to play again?).
5. Some kiddos have difficulty understanding and using pronouns. Providing extra exaggerated models will help them master this skill. When your modeling pronouns, point to who you are talking about to clarify, if your child seems unsure. (i.e. "I have eight marbles." "YOU won!" "WE can play again!")
6. Besides describing hippo colors, you can model the use of other adjectives during play (i.e. This is FUN! Push FASTER! This game is SILLY!). Or you could pose questions and provide two different choices of describing words such as, "Do you think this game is BORING or FUN?".