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Big Box of Core-Make Your Own!

Posted Apr 11, 2018 - 3:46pm

By Jessica Steiner, M.Ed., CF- SLP

Hello Core and AAC lovers! As promised, let’s talk about core word toys so you can make your own big box of core to enhance your AAC Language Lab lesson plan. I purchased some of the materials at Target but similar materials can be purchased at retailers like WalMart or the Dollar Store. Some of the materials I picked up for free at different booths during the annual ASHA conference. If you’re an SLP or teacher on a budget, like me, that’s a good place to check out!

Onto the box, I took a 50 core word board to Target with a budget in mind so I forced myself to get creative and look for toys that could be used for multiple core words. In the dollar section I was able to score some light up toys including spiky bouncy balls and light up wands which target core words: up, on, off, stop, go, my/mine, turn, down, give, finished, want, not/don’t, more and like. I have a few students on my caseload who have a cortical vision impairment and the light up toys really grab their attention and motivate them to communicate. With these toys, I pair them with the AAC Language Lab classroom lesson plan “Turn It” or “Ready, Set, Go” along with various switches.

Next up, toy cars and trains! What toy box would be complete without them? These I got on sale for $1 each also at Target. These are some of my favorite toys for eliciting language! Pair any toy car with the classroom lesson plan “Stop, Go, Fast, Slow” for a language rich session. If you have kids with physical impairments like I do, pair switches or their devices to work on directing actions or activities. Core words to target using toy cars or trains include: stop, go, my/mine, turn, like, don’t/not, fast, slow, more, and give.

Finally let’s talk core words eat and drink. These words have sometimes given me trouble as I have some students who cannot eat anything by mouth and have G-Tubes. I found Billy the Beaver at Target and he is the most expensive toy in my box, running about $12 but totally worth it! Billy comes with stuffed food and an empty stomach. My kids love to feed him until he’s stuffed full of food while working on core words like eat, drink, in, help, different, more and finished. Many of my students have G-Tubes and are NPO so they are unable to participate in any food related activities. Practicing eating with Billy the Beaver gets them introduced to the act of feeding and using their core words for functional activities. I like to pair Billy the Beaver with the AAC Language Lab classroom lesson plan “Making Requests”, “Directing Actions 2” and “Directing Activities”.

The biggest piece of advice I can give when shopping for core related activities or toys is to go in with a budget and a list of core words. Find toys that can be used for multiple words so you aren’t spending a fortune. Comment below with any more suggestions for a Big Box of Core!

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