Guest Post written by Carly Eckes M.S.
Newly Graduated This Week
Soon to be licensed and Newly Employed
Speech and Language Pathologist
There are many variations to hose games. Start at a level where you know your child will be successful. This might be making a video model of you and some other child playing this game and showing the video to your child. Keep the energy high and playful. It does not matter if your child gets mixed up and sprays too soon or in the wrong place. Success is having fun together and success will continue to motivate your child in playing hose games at a more difficult level. You will need a yard/garden hose and a spray nozzle. I will list the different ways to play hose games starting with the easiest and ending with the most difficult. Here are some of the objectives that you can target while playing together with the hose:
Reciprocity, sharing emotions, sharing intentions, directing others, following directions, exchanging roles, flexible thinking, learning new vocabulary, learning non-verbal cues, planning together, creating together, remembering together…………..
How to Play:
First provide a model of how the game will work. This will be a game of spraying water and stopping. Grab the nozzle of the hose and use language that is familiar to your child. For example you could say not yet, not yet, not yet, NOW! Your actions should match your commands. While you are saying not yet you should be waiting and when you say “now” you should be spraying (you can spray the hose anywhere you choose). You can also use similar language such as no, no, no, YES! Again, while you are saying no you are waiting and when you say yes you are spraying. After you provide a model, give your child the hose and use the language you have established for the game. See if your child can follow your commands. When they are able to follow commands, have the child give you commands while you spray the hose.
The next variation is to use a head nod or head shake in place of saying not yet and now. This will require your child to look at you to know what to do. Again you will want to begin with a model. Shake your head no and then yes. You should be waiting while you shake no and spraying while you shake yes. Then give the hose to your child. Wait to see if they look to you for directions. After your child is able to follow your directions, take the hose and see if your child can give you directions non-verbally by using head nods and head shakes.
Next you can introduce new vocabulary by spraying things in the yard. You will want to continue use of the first steps of the game (use the language established or head nods). First you model. Start by saying what you will spray then you use your language or head nods to wait and then spray. For example, I might say let's spray the tree. I would wait to spray while saying not yet, not yet, not yet, NOW! After you model, give your child the hose to see if he or she can follow the directions. Once your child is able to follow the directions you take the hose and have them give you directions. You can teach a lot of new vocabulary while playing this game. You can teach your child the names of things around the yard and you can teach colors. You can also teach body parts by spraying each others feet, legs, arms, etc. You can also put unknown objects around the yard to teach your child the names of them (as long as you don’t mind them getting wet!)
The most difficult variation to this game is to only use non-verbal cues to direct where to spray and when to spray. To model you will look at what you want to spray and then wait while you shake your head no no no then YES!. You spray as soon as you nod YES! For example, let’s say that you want to spray your child’s feet. First you look at his or her feet. Then, while you wait, you shake your head no. When you are ready to spray you nod yes. Again, after you have modeled one role in this game, give the hose to your child. Look at what you want your child to spray and then use nonverbal no/yes. When your child can follow your directions, have them do the looking and nodding while you spray.