Our countdown timers, visual supports, first/then board, and playmats help structure play and teach positive behavior to create learning opportunities during playtime.
A note to caregivers: While these play resources were designed for varying levels of ability, you are still the best judge of which is most appropriate for your child. Consider carefully which products and how much supervision your child will need during any activity, and do not modify the products in any way.
Download these visual tools to help guide your child through transitions during play and encourage an understanding of time passing. For example, you can use them as a cue to let your child know the activity is over by counting down the minutes or number of turns. Make sure to show your child as you fold down each number until the activity is complete.
Help guide your child's playtime with this countdown timer featuring a fun MR. POTATO HEAD theme.
Help guide your child's playtime with this countdown timer featuring a heroic TRANSFORMERS theme.
Help guide your child's playtime with this countdown timer featuring a fun CANDY LAND theme.
Help guide your child's playtime with this countdown timer featuring a fun CHUTES & LADDERS theme.
Help guide your child's playtime with this countdown timer featuring a fun MLP CASTLE PLAYSET theme.
Each of these visual tools acts as a communication device to help your child express and understand different transitional moments throughout your play session. From waiting for the next activity to asking for help, choose the materials that best suit your child's needs and incorporate them into playtime whenever it's appropriate.
From starting an activity to taking turns, use this visual cue to inform your child when it's time to wait. Reinforce waiting by showing the card and telling him or her when the waiting period starts and ends.
Use the turn-taking cards to visually communicate whose turn it is to play with a toy or game. Show the appropriate card to your child to encourage an understanding of when he or she can play. It can also be helpful to reinforce the card verbally when you hold it up.
If a child is struggling and their frustration is increasing, a visual help card may cue the child to seek assistance and give them a means to communicate. Make them easily available to your child during play, and reinforce by praising their use and helping them promptly.
If you sense that your child might be starting to get frustrated, you can show him or her the break card and reinforce verbally by telling him or her that it's time for a break.
This two-step play pattern can help you and your child structure playtime and understand order of events. It can help to make the "then" activity something the child enjoys – for example, "First, press the button. Then, you can play."