Ready to have some fun with a Woozle? What’s a Woozle?! Glad you asked. He’s my new BFF. Met him on my annual shopping trek to the Lakeshore back-to-school sale. As a SLP who has been practicing for almost 24 years, I am pretty picky about the stuff I buy. Pediatric SLP’s are pretty notorious for having lots of “stuff” and I think I probably would have a guaranteed appearance if they ever have a “SLP Hoarders” show. So now I set pickier criteria for anything I buy. It must be: creative, unique, fun, reasonably priced and be adaptable (have a use towards several different goals). So envision me on my typical hour long browsing adventure in Lakeshore….. ruling out tons of stuff (“Already have one”, “That’s very similar to _____”, “They want HOW MUCH for a _____?!”, “Too flimsy”, etc….). I was about to leave empty-handed until I spotted him. A Woozle! Smart move on Lakeshore’s part to have a sample of most products open to examine. I used the 20% off any regular priced item coupon to buy the game at Lakeshore (after first scanning it with the Amazon app & searching Google to make sure I was getting a good deal). Retail price: $19.99
The Feed the Woozle game is a cooperative game by Peaceable Kingdom. They have several other cooperative games, including Hoot Owl Hoot! which I have and love.
What is a “cooperative game”? Glad you asked….. It’s a game where everyone plays together, no one is left out, and everyone has fun! Traditional games tend to have one winner and one (or many) losers! In a cooperative game, the players work as a team against a common obstacle, not against each other. Cooperative games emphasize play, not competition. Kids learn to work and play together in respectful and compassionate ways. They learn to share, make decisions together, and trust one another. Cooperative games encourage inclusion and build confidence. Cooperative games are great for kids of all ages (as well as the adults in their life). Kids don’t beat a cooperative game every time, so even if kids lose to the game, they lose as a team. There’s always a reason to keep working, thinking and playing together to win as a team! These type of games are awesome to use in social skills groups, in speech-language therapy, kids yoga groups, on family game night & more!
The Feed the Woozle game includes:
- A stand-up Woozle (made of thick cardboard with a shiny finish. While not water or saliva-proof, the slightly laminated feel to it should help it’s durability. It folds nicely to fit in the box)
- 24 silly snack tokens (made of thick cardboard with slightly laminated finish)
- 12 “Mmmm! Yummy!” cards (made of a little thinner cardboard with slightly laminated finish)
- A large die (with the numbers 1, 2, 3)
- A durable plastic spoon
- A spinner (very easy to spin & made of thick cardboard with slightly laminated finish)
- Instructions for 3 different levels of play based on developmental level
While they have marketed this game for kids ages 3-6, I think older kids will enjoy it as well.
What I love about the game:
- Carrying the snack tokens on the spoon promotes mindful focused attention. Tasks like this are especially great for kids with ADHD.
- The silly snack tokens are hilarious & full of great descriptive language. Using humor & creative thinking is especially great when working with kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders (who tend to be very literal thinkers).
- It promotes creative movement especially when using the spinner. It adds movements that you do while carrying the spoon with the snack token [ex: Hula Dance, Spin, March (could modify into a Brain Gym Cross Crawl March), Bunny Hop, Walk Backwards & Go Crazy (make up your own movement or could do a yoga pose of their choice)].
- The cooperative nature of the game promotes the concept of working together as a team.
- The rules are easy to follow & easy to modify further to meet individual kids needs.
- The game is colorful & well constructed.
Ways to adapt the game to meet special needs:
- Use the Woozle symbols (in the PDF below) for kids to comment or request during the game.
- Create a 12-space token board for kids to collect the “Mmm! Yummy!” cards on to provide a concrete visual support for kids to see how close they are to winning the game. Of course the game could be modified with a rule of collecting a lesser amount of cards to win (for kids with shorter attention spans or to fit the game within a short therapy session).
- Use a BigMack or other single message output communication aide for kids who are nonverbal or minimally verbal to comment during the game (ex: Ewwww! Feed me! Yeah! We won! My turn, etc.).
- Put the die into a High Roller (adapted dice roller) to allow kids with physical limitations to be able to “roll” the die.
In addition to the game directions, I have already come up with lots of other ideas for my new BFF the Woozle! I’m one of those folks who can’t just use an item for the advertised purpose. I go to DollarTree or Target and see a cutting board and think “ooh that would be great to make PECS boards out of” or a neoprene iPad case and think “ooh I could cut holes in it to make a keyguard for the GoTalk Now app on the iPad”. I kid you not! Ever since attending a Linda J. Burkhart make-and-take low-tech AAC workshop in 1992, I have lost the ability to think “inside the box” and my venture into kids yoga has just magnified the creative side of my brain. (For those of you who are not familiar with Linda Burkhart, she’s the “MacGyver” of no/low-tech AAC)
So far I’ve come up with the following Woozle-themed activities & printables:
- Kids yoga activities to go with each of the 24 silly snack tokens
- Draw or do an open-ended craft to create more snacks to feed the Woozle
- A fun fruit mindfulness activity (Woozles need mindfulness too! If he was practicing mindful eating, I’m pretty sure he would not consume “toenail toast”)
- Cards & coloring to show the Woozle how to “Eat the Rainbow” to encourage healthier food choices
- Color Woozle (could also be decorated in a craft activity)
- 30 language attribute/category activity cards (ex: Name 2 things that are crunchy)
- 6 Woozle size cards (2 each of small, medium & big. Plan on using them to order & match by size)
- A Woozle size sorting board (small, bigger, biggest ~ use with the cards above or with any other manipilatives of snack items)
- 40 communication symbols (can be used as a communication board, cut apart as PECS symbols and used in aided language stimulation)
Here is a free 16-page PDF with all the printables: Feed the Woozle ~ free printables to use in speech-language therapy or kids yoga
Craft Idea: Make a Woozle with these Easy Monsters Finger Puppets. Wouldn’t it be fun to make these & then do “Woozle Mudras” in kids yoga or work on requesting and descriptive language in speech therapy?!
Check out this fun free Monster Pack printable from 3 Dinosaurs! I bet these are the Woozle’s other BFF’s 😉
Check out more Feed the Woozle activity ideas for SLPs in this post on Activity Tailor: http://www.activitytailor.com/feed-the-woozle/
I’d love to hear your ideas for games to use in kids yoga or speech-language therapy! Feel free to leave a comment below or on the OMazing Kids Facebook page
Angela Moorad, MS, CCC-SLP, IAYT, RCYP-2
Speech-Language Pathologist at the JD McCarty Center for Children with Developmental Disabilities (http://www.jdmc.org/)
Founder of OMazing Kids, LLC – inclusive wellness activities for kids of all abilities
Radiant Child Yoga Certified – Levels 1 & 2
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