_By Ryan Knoblauch, SLP
I’m always looking to get kids to engage in learning, and it’s really all about having fun. The core vocabulary movement is taking augmentative and alternative communication by storm and people are always looking for ways to learn and use their AAC systems. Being a speech therapist, I get to play for a living. I’d like to say that everything I do is interesting and fun. So, what’s more interesting and fun than talking about bodily functions with kids? Phil’Up Chuck has been a crowd pleaser in my small groups (push-in activity) over the past couple of years.
To start, we begin by brainstorming other terms for “up chuck” like barf, puke, vomit, spew, blow chunks, ralph, and hurl. This usually gets people interested. Before playing the game we might talk about times that we were sick. We talk about how we felt (tired, yucky, sick), what made us sick (food, my brother, car), and what made us feel better (sleep, Sprite/7Up, mom). We talk about where and when we got sick too (in the car, in a bucket, in bed, at school, in the toilet). It’s fun to put these up on the chalkboard too so that the student can see the phrases and have them in their vocabulary banks.
Playing games like Phil’Up Chuck allow people to communicate in a variety of ways such as commenting, directing others, expressing refusal, expressing likes/dislikes, and requesting. The very first word that I teach the kids with this activity is “disgusting”. Some communication apps might have words like “gross”, “yuk”, or “yucky”. It’s all the same especially when you put a little dramatic flair behind how you say it. The kids love these words. Then talk about things that are disgusting like smelly garbage, farts, poop, and so on. Trust me, they’ll be engaged.
animated gif picture of Joey Chestnut, the World Hot Dog Eating Record Holder, swallowing hotdogsAs we get the game out, I ask them, “What should we do?” by modeling on the AAC devices. I give them options like “open it” or “take it out” and then I dump out the pieces (with dramatic flair). Then we read the directions and begin looking at the game pieces. As we look at the pieces, we locate the food items in our vocabulary set. For Phil’Up Chuck, it comes with chicken legs, pizza, ice cream, and hot dogs. I then model sample directing phrases that we will use with the game such as “eat pizza” or “put in hot dogs”. We make sure we have a few practices before we start. As we play, I encourage the use of comments like “Eww!”, “Gross!”, and “Disgusting!”
On a side note, it’s fun to show them some of the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest videos because, quite frankly, it’s disgusting to watch. See Joey Chestnut perform above.
To end a round of the game, the player that makes Phil “up chuck” has to flip over a card to expose the vomit on the t-shirt along with a comment such as “Yuck!” That’s when we all get to make comments after the player gets vomit on their “shirt”. Play starts over and continues until Phil “up chucks” again. The player that remains with a clean shirt card wins. You can easily parlay this game into other activities about likes/dislikes of food, smells, and tastes. Overall, Phil’Up Chuck is a great way to practice core vocabulary with lots of repetition. Remember, it’s not always about requesting! There’s a lot to say about things that are disgusting.
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