A recent discussion prompted me to share strategies that I incorporate when introducing a dollhouse in my AVT sessions. I guess I could refer to it as, Lynn’s AVT Dollhouse Continuum. Ha!
1. First, I introduce a basic version of an LSL rich and classic Goldilocks and Three Bears story. We listen and learn the story using simple props including three bears, a kitchen table, three size bowls for the hot/cold and just right porridge, three chairs, three beds - hard/soft/just right.
2. Then in a couple weeks or so, I include a very basic dollhouse in the story. We play and retell the story together.
Over the years, I have learned to keep the materials simple. If I would share a busy dollhouse too soon many children would become overstimulated, excited, and want to do their own thing with the house. Then, my LSL goals and plans go out the window ( A little pun!).
3. Soon, we are ready to introduce a full or more elaborate dollhouse within the LSL session and at home.
4. I divide lessons on the “HOME”, by rooms of the house. Each of the lessons includes literature, songs and accompanied LSL activities to meet the child’s needs and goals. We listen, learn and expand upon the rooms of the house that were introduced in the story. We target LSL goals through individual units on bathtime, bedtime, mealtime routines, doing the laundry, in the garage, parts of the house (ceiling, chimney, gutters, porch…) and then outside of the home and into the yard. The Three Bears going for a walk blends into a “Listening Walk” as well as learning outdoor vocabulary.
4. My LSL continuum often begins in January with the Three Bears Story and carries through the Spring. Outdoor summer themes are next. The same themes can be repeated this next year at a higher LSL level. Of course, the house is only one area or theme but the continuity is rich for LSL.
5. I guide the family and plan the LSL sessions to include the broad areas of:
House vocabulary/labels, Action Verbs, Categorizing items in the house, Basic Concepts including Prepositions, Go -Togethers, Parts of The Whole, Sequencing, Answering “wh” questions, Following/Giving Directions and social/pragmatic skills and play.
As you can see the dollhouse continuum and thematic room by room units are ideal for targeting and reaching typical goals for a 2-4 year olds.
This topic is near and dear to my heart as my husband and I gave our two-year-old grandson a wooden dollhouse last December. I researched the options and highly recommend the Hi-Rise Wooden Dollhouse for a clinic, school or family. It has gender-neutral colors and patterns, a natural-wood frame, and open sides with access every room so it's easy to talk and play together. Our grandson particularly loves the garage and the wooden car that the family rides. I also purchased a wooden animal pet set which adds to our animal lover’s dollhouse experience.
There in no limit to listening, spoken language, learning and fun with a dollhouse!