Monday, May 16, 2011


Pretend and creative play is something that we often have to teach children on the spectrum.  Finding ways to make these play skills more understandable is important in gaining abilities in this area.  Pretending is a very abstract concept so our goal is to make it more concrete and therefore, more meaningful. 

Feed the Character

Using interests is always a good way to capture a child's attention.  When purchasing kids' shoes, they often come with an adorable box featuring that character.  Dora the Explorer was featured on the box that I used to make this task.  You can also print out pictures of Thomas, Barney, etc and adhere to a plain box.  To hold Dora's stick "food", I used foam packing material to hold each stick upright.

We put some animal stickers on the end of the Popsicle sticks, another interest for this little girl, which you can do with or without.  Depending on fine motor abilities, you can cut the hole for the mouth for a certain size.  This is great for strengthening fine motor skills, eye-hand coordination and emerging pretend play. 

Also, cutting out a 'door' in the back of the box makes it easier for retrieving the sticks afterwards.

Feed the Puppet

Puppets can be engaging for many kids however, knowing what to do with them can be tricky.  Start the individual with 'feeding' the puppet while stabilized.  This puppet did not have a mouth, so I cut a hole the size of the various food items.  I covered a pretzel box with paper (so the label wouldn't be distracting), put the food in a container and held the puppet in place with an empty paper towel roll down inside the box. 

I secured (with Velcro) a plastic baggie inside the puppet to catch the food items.

Once the individual is more familiar with the items it can be removed from the container.  At that time, another person can hold the puppet and work together at feeding the puppet.  This can make this activity more engaging and interactive.

Have fun!!



  1. Good tips, think we'll get a puppet and try these. Thanks again, we'll keep you guys posted on our TEACCH experience that's going on.

  2. Thanks Brian! Looking forward to hearing more about your TEACCH adventures!