Squid’s Dad found this excellent little activity book – which had a helpful page with each pony’s special friendship skills. She doesn’t know any of those words – but she knows all those ponies – so it was a nice hook to chat about what makes a good friend.
The great thing about doing ‘social skills’ through the ponies is that it is one step removed. There is no personal judgement of her or her behaviour – she can be the external observer with a birds-eye unemotive view of the ponies. And I’m hoping the theoretical lessons will translate into practical friendship skills. And the darn blighters are so cute it was a nice rainy-day activity in any case.
Ponies work hard here. Their big eyes bring charm to the toy box. They’re a peer acceptable interest for a school aged girl. And every week they give a tutorial on an aspect of female friendships.
Although the cartoons are at the top end of her comprehension – this hasn’t been a problem. One of her current speech targets are to improve her narrative speech (tenses, sentence length, connectives etc). We have a special box of mini ponies that we bring out after every episode, and replay the story together after we’ve watched the cartoon.
It has taken us a few attempts to get it working. First few times she loved the cartoons, but couldn’t tell me anything about it afterwards. I’d not stayed in the room, but I found this amazing fan site with full transcripts for the episodes, so I could prompt her with the actual lines from the show. Now I’ve
got hooked on the little blighters myself started staying in the room and keeping half an eye on the TV while I’m tidying, so that we can roll straight into the game and I know the story. My little girl is now coming out with much more detailed information about what she’s seen. I’m presuming that she’s watching with more attention – or maybe it’s her overall narrative speech improving. One helpful thing is that since we both watched the same show, I can often guess what she’s trying to say even if her speech is unclear. I think that this is giving my daughter positive reinforcement to try more complicated narrative sentence forms. If she can even get a third of the words plausibly correct, I can figure out what she means and echo back with the correct grammar without breaking the flow of the play.
Thank you to the Bronies for putting me onto this!