Most children bring sandwich lunches to school. This provides a great opportunity to incorporate language and sequencing in a fun, practical and tactile way.
But first, what is sequencing and why is it important in language development?
Sequencing means putting information in an orderly manner. Being able to sequence ideas is crucial to being an effective communicator in speaking and writing. With this skill, we can string grammatically correct sentences, tell stories, relay information, and give instructions. Developmentally, children around 3.5-4 years of age should be able to sequence 2 ideas (e.g., I went to the shop and bought a toy). By around 5 years, most children should be able to understand time sequences such as what happened first, next, and last.
Children with language difficulties often have trouble sequencing their thoughts. This is mostly evident in their recounts, which can often leave the listener feeling lost and confused.
As parents and educators, we can help teach our children sequencing, regardless of whether they have any overt language difficulties. Sequencing words such as "first, next, and finally/last" are useful to help prompt the child to organise their thoughts. It can also help the listener to figure out where the child is in their thought process.
OK, let's make this sandwich!
Lay out all the ingredients. You may like to organise them accordingly, from the first step to the last. Ask your child "what do we do first?" And then provide the model reply:
"First, we take the bread."
"Next, we add the cheese."
"And then, we add the chicken."
"And finally, we add the lettuce and tomatoes..."
Sandwich making is great because you can get your child to practice regularly (assuming you have sandwiches often!). If your child can recognise letters and/or numbers, you may also like to include visual prompts.
Bear in mind not to overload your child with too many steps. Every child is different and you need to tailor your teaching according to their abilities. If your child already sees a speechie, talk to him/her about the goals.
Some of my other "go to" fun sequencing activities:
- baking (simple recipes, please!)
- craft making
What are some of yours?