Social Skills with Toca Kitchen Monsters

In this screenshot alone we can work on several social inferencing skills. In easiest-to-hardest order: we can determine whether the monster likes/dislikes the raw steak, we can determine how the monster’s feeling based on his facial expression, we can determine what’s influencing the monster’s mood (“What’s making him feel grossed out?”) by following his eye gaze, we can determine what he wants based on the thought cloud, and we can even inference how he’ll feel (hungry) and/or what he’ll do (eat the steak) if we grill the steak like he wants us to.

Toca Kitchen Monsters is another FREE app from Toca Boca. In this one, kids get to choose from 2 monsters and then they get to choose which food items and how to prepare them. This app can be really fun for learning about likes and dislikes when talking about social skills!

When using this app for basic social skills we can take a piece of food from the fridge and put it on the monster’s plate. The monster will then either lick his lips while making a “yum” sound or blow a raspberry at the food. When this happens we can ask the child, “How is he feeling?” If the child has trouble I then give him/her an incorrect answer (“Is he feeling sleepy?”). If that’s still too hard then I’ll give 2 choices (“Is he feeling hungry or sleepy?”). If a child still needs help I’ll give him/her the answer and the reasons for it (“I hear he’s making a ‘yum’ sound and he’s licking his lips so I think he’s feeling hungry.”).

The next step we can use this app for is discussing likes/dislikes. I’ll ask, “Does he like this food?” and use the same cueing hierarchy I describe above. I can then take it a step further and talk about whether I like the food and ask the child the same. This all helps children who struggle with social skills understand that it’s not that “some people like gross things like coffee” (as one of my patients so aptly put it), but that people have different preferences/tastes. When a child is really struggling I talk about our favorite colors (all my patients know mine is purple and that’s rarely the child’s favorite color, too).

Here are some more ideas for targeting social skills.

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