Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a therapy based on the science of learning and behavior. Behavior analysis helps us understand how behavior works, how it’s affected by the environment, and how learning takes place. ABA therapy applies our understanding of how behavior works to real situations. The goal is to increase behaviors that are helpful and decrease behaviors that are harmful or affect learning. These programs can help increase language & communication skills, improve attention, focus, social skills, memory, & academics, and decrease problem behaviors. Below is a list of ABA approved activities you can do at home while playing with your kiddo! FYI these are geared more towards the toddler age group.
- Vegetable Painting – use popsicle sticks to dip veggies in different colors of paint and stamp on paper while teaching a verbal command, such as “put in”, “push”, or color/veggie names. This activity also practices imitation.
- Rain stick sensory bottles – water bottles filled with literally anything that will make noise. Try brightly colored beads, raw beans & rice, legos, etc. Try making an activity of picking up fillers on a walk outside, like seashells from the beach or pebbles from the woods. While filling the bottles teach “put in” and use shaking/tapping bottles to teach imitation.
- Sensory bags – use ziplock bags, water, baby oil, food coloring, glitter, etc to make sensory bags. Again this is practicing “put in” & imitation.
- Sticking pipe cleaners or dried pasta through the holes in a strainer practices fine motor skills as well as “put in” and imitation.
- Sing along to your favorite songs and make up a dance to practice gross motor skills and imitation.
- Ball drop – mount PVC pipes and use tennis balls to drop down the pipes. You could even do this with small balls and paper towel rolls taped to the wall. Get creative! You could also use a ball drop toy. This can teach fine motor skills, “put in”, “pick up”, “drop”, or “bring”.
- Use ice cube trays and anything small & colorful, such as beads or poms, to sort into trays. You can sort by color or by size of objects. This can teach fine motor skills, “put in”, imitation, and color/size/shape names.
- Bubble bath sensory “bin” in a kiddie pool outside during warm weather. Throw in all kinds of beach themed toys and make a scavenger hunt to find them under all the soap suds.
- Shaving cream painting – fill a bin with shaving cream and draw a design on top with some children’s non toxic paint. Give them a paintbrush and let them swirl the colors around. This activity could be used to practice imitation and fine motor skills.