During the holidays, many of us have extra time at home with our kiddos. Between the changes in routine, sugary treats, and general festive excitement in the air, many parents are only experiencing a "silent night" when the song is playing on the radio. All is not calm and all is not bright. For this reason we love "Yeti in my Spaghetti." The game is similar to pick up sticks, but players attempt to carefully remove spaghetti noodles instead of sticks. The object of the game is to avoid knocking the yeti into the bowl. In addition to language skill practice, playing provides a unique opportunity to work on calm, controlled, gentle movements. (Something all children could use a little extra of this time of year!) As speech language pathologists, we are fans of the game for the various language and social skill opportunities that arise during play. We will discuss this further below!
Verbs: play, put, pull, win, lose, fall,
Nouns: game, yeti, spaghetti/noodle, bowl
Pronouns: my, your
Adjectives: fun, fast, slow, gentle, silly
Prepositions: in, on, under, over
1. Set up the game as per the instructions.
2. Model use of verbs for your child by describing the actions necessary for the game. (i.e. "We are going to play a game." "You must carefully pull the noodles, but don't let the yeti fall into the bowl.")
3. Model use of the pronouns my and your by reminding children whose turn is taking place. (i.e. "my turn," "your turn") These cues are also helpful for kiddos who have difficulty with turn-taking skills.
4. It can be challenging for children to master prepositions. Simply describe the locations of the noodles as they are being removed from the bowl to help model appropriate use of positional words. (i.e. "This noodle under the yeti is hard to move!" The yeti is on the noodle pile." "Don't let the yeti fall in the bowl.")
5. Many adjectives can be modeled during game play to describe the experience (i.e. "This is fun." "What a silly game!") You can also utilize adjectives to explain successful strategies for winning (i.e. "Be gentle. Slow movements will help you win!").
This game is fast paced, which makes it great for practicing the skill of turn-taking. Since each player's turn goes relatively quickly, not much patience is required. A fast game also allows for multiple rounds to be played. This means there are extra opportunities to work on the skill of frustration management. Your child can practice winning without gloating, or congratulating the winner and accepting losing calmly. We have to teach expected behavior so prepare to model these skills and discuss them a bit. Remember to explain the concept and remind your child as needed, that, "Sometimes we win and sometimes we lose."