Irregular Plurals with Li’l Woodzeez & Calico Critters

My in-person patients of all ages are loving my Li’l Woodzeez and Calico Critters sets. I originally bought the Li’l Woodzeez camper set (for $34.99) and the Li’l Woodzeez chipmunk family, which is apparently no longer available, (for $9.99) because I thought they were adorable, but I’ve since added pieces and sets to target various grammatical features.  For irregular plurals I added the Li’l Woodzeez family of “sheep” (for $9.99), the Calico Critters family of “mice” (for $22.95), the Li’l Woodzeez family of “wolves” (for $9.99), the Li’l Woodzeez Health Clinic for “teeth,” “shelves,” and “leaves” (for $19.99), and the Li’l Woodzeez “Boating Set” for “fish” (for $9.99).  The camper I originally bought came with 3 loaves of bread, which is also helpful for irregular plurals.  Using any a single family set I can target “children” and “feet” and with any 2 sets I can target “men” and “women.” 

In an appointment I usually start by asking kids what family they want to play with. I’ll say things like, “This family has one wolf, and another wolf, and another wolf – so what are they?”  If the need more help I’ll ask, “Are they a family of wolfs?” with emphasis on the “f.”  I’ll do the same thing for the “teeth,” “shelves,” “loaves,” and “fish” before I give the patient the toys.  I’ll then let the kids play and listen in for any errors and ask them to fix them as we go.  If they’ve been playing for a while and they haven’t used more targets I’ll use the same kind of prompts as before to target “leaves” (outside the clinic), “feet,” “men” (using a second set for the second man), “women” (again using a second set), and “children.”  I always try to give them the singular version so they know what I’m looking for.  For example, I’ll say, “They don’t have one child, do they?” because if I ask, “What do they have?” I’ll get answers like, “2 kids” since many of my patients are smart enough to avoid the targets they struggle with.

Right now the biggest challenge is having the right toys disinfected and dry for the kids who need to work on specific targets.  When I’m not able to keep it all straight and have it ready I’ll either ask the kids if they remember about the toys we’ve played with before or hold them up (although, children usually want to play with a toy if they see it and it feels cruel to then tell them they can’t. It’s like literally “dangling it in front of them”). 

Here are some more ideas for using Calico Critters & Li’l Woodzeez in speech and language treatment.

And here are my favorite play-based activities for addressing irregular plurals.