The following ideas are ideal for a post-Christmas show and tell style session but can be equally adapted throughout the year. You will need to spend a couple of lessons on toys to introduce ‘favourite’ and for children to bring their toys in for the lesson after to talk about them.

Author: 
Jo Bertrand

Aims

  • To introduce new toy vocabulary – ball, doll, computer, teddy bear, toy car, puppet
  • To practise expressions: ‘I like…’, ‘My favourite is…’
  • To introduce adjectives: big, small, round, square
  • To introduce ‘same’ and ‘different’
  • To introduce passive knowledge of vocabulary: bounce, cuddle, play
  • To practise questions ‘Is it…?’ with adjectives, ‘Is it a…?’ with nouns and ‘It’s/It’s a…’ answers
  • To encourage individual speaking time

Age
5-6 years old

Materials

  • A bag or cardboard box
  • A selection of small toys
  • Toy shop catalogues
  • A tray
  • A tea-towel (to cover toys)
  • A homemade worksheet
  • Toy flashcards (optional)

The bag of goodies
Bring into class a big bag or box that you can fit about five toys into. You could use a teddy, a ball, a toy car, a doll and a puppet. Use mime and actions to help express the words cuddle, bounce and play (for the car and puppet). Make a big show of putting your hand into the bag and feeling around for a toy. Once you have a toy in your hand ask ‘What is it?’ without showing them the toy. The idea is they try and guess what it is and eventually ask questions such as ‘Is it round?’ Start by saying ‘It’s small, it’s round, you can bounce it’ etc. Repeat the question ‘What is it?’ as you pull the toy out of the bag and say ‘Yes, it’s a teddy bear!’ After a few goes pass the bag around the class for the children to pick a toy themselves. This way you can lead the questions e.g. ‘Is it big?’ and they only have to answer yes or no.

Kim’s game
Use the same toys as before plus a few more and lay them out onto a tray or other flat surface. You need to be able to cover the area or remove it from the children’s eye range. Practise them saying the names of the objects until you think they can remember most of them. Then cover the tray and discreetly remove one of the toys. Show them the tray again and see if they can see and say which toy has been removed. Replace the toy and repeat a few times until they understand how the game works. You can then ask for volunteers to take your place and hide the toys.

Show and tell
Ask the children to bring their favourite toy to class. If you have a very large class they can show their favourite toy to their neighbour and tell them about it. It doesn’t matter if this is in their first language. The idea here is for them to be interested in the subject and for it to be personal to them. You can then ask questions to individuals with the whole class listening using adjectives big, small, round, square etc to try and guess what toy a child has bought in. This way they are working on their listening and understanding skills.

Odd one out
To practise the adjectives big, small, round and square you can design a quick and easy worksheet.

  • Draw five horizontal lines across the page.
  • On the first line draw three beach balls and one simple square house.
  • On the second line draw three small teddies and one big teddy.
  • On the third line draw three computers and one ball.
  • Distribute a copy of this worksheet to each child with the last two lines left empty.
  • Do the first line together. You can simultaneously draw the three balls and house onto the board exaggerating as you draw a ‘round’ ball and a ‘square’ house. Then draw a circle around the odd one out. They should be able to tell you which it is, but you may have to help them with the language ‘The balls are round’ ‘The house is square’ and ‘They are different’.
  • Let them do lines two and three alone or in pairs and then feedback as a class to why they are different, having established that they are in fact different. 
  • Then proceed to line four. Use it for a picture dictation practising the toy vocabulary and the adjectives.
  • Ask them to draw three small teddies and one big teddy. Some of them may find this drawing daunting so make sure you have models on the board, either that you’ve drawn yourself or in the form of flashcards.
  • On line five ask them to draw three square computers and one round doll’s face. Show them what you mean by ‘face’ if need be. Monitor as they draw to help and oversee what they’re doing.
  • Then they can swap with their neighbour who draws a circle around the object which is different.
  • If you think that this is too difficult for them then they can draw the circle on their own piece of paper. If you think that this is too easy then for line five ask them to draw three objects the same and one which is different and then ask them afterwards to tell you what the difference is.

Categorising
Distribute the catalogues you’ve bought in giving a few pages to each child. The idea is that they all cut out, sort out and stick onto a large poster different types of toys. It’s up to you what categories you have but possibilities include sorting by colour, size or shape. Once the poster is finished it can be used as a talking point comparing colours, numbers, shapes, saying which is your favourite toy etc.

Toy culture
There are several books, cartoons, songs and nursery rhymes related to toys and teddy bears. Choose one you like and integrate it into your lessons or base your lesson around it. You will also find a section dedicated to toys in most young learner text books so check first to see if they have original stories or toy related songs you can use.

Some favourites include:

  • ‘Round and round the garden like a teddy bear. One step two steps and a tickly under there.’
  • Noddy and toy town
  • Toystory
  • Andy Pandy
  • The Lost Toys (short animation film)

Follow up suggestions

  • They can colour the objects on the worksheet. If you want you can do a colour dictation working more on ‘same’ and ‘different’.
  • They can draw pictures of the toys they brought in to display on the board. They will be proud to see their favourite toys in their classroom.
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