Teach Through Games: Bug Trails

Teach Through Games: Bug Trails

Age level: Early Elementary
Description: This is a 6-legged domino game designed for kids ages 6 and up. This is played as a domino game typically is, except that you must match up the colors on all legs touching the bug that’s already been placed on the table. This game is put out by Thinkfun, a company that consistently puts out great games and toys for students.
Skills & Modifications: The primary skill for this game is high-level matching. This is a great game to play with multiple students because you can easily differentiate based on each student’s skill level and/or IEP goals.

  • Matching – This game is well-received by typically developing students between 6-8 years old. However, it can be difficult to play as designed with students with autism. For those students who are struggling with matching skills, I have found that this is frustrating for them because while they may be able to match the colors of one leg to another, matching two or more legs to legs of another bug is too difficult. For these students, instead of playing by the rules, I will place two to three options in front of them so they can choose which one would match the bug already placed on the table. In some cases, I may just place one bug and let them figure out how the bug should be oriented to match it to bugs already placed on the table. Another way to practice matching is to set out several bugs and have the students find the bugs with the same faces.
  • Scanning – For students working on scanning skills, I will change the game so that it is not a turn-taking game. Instead, I will spread out several bugs with the direction of finding one with two blue legs or one yellow leg. We will then match the bug to one already placed on the table.
  • Taking Turns – This is a great game for taking turns, especially if you working with your student on taking turns with more than two players.
  • Accepting Losing – This game does have a definitive winner so if you have a student struggling with accepting losing games, it’s a good one for practicing.
  • Counting – This is great for preschool students who are learning to count a specified item in a field of items. For example, I will ask the child to count how many blue legs a bug has, with the distractors being the legs of other colors on the bug.
  • Seek & Find – To practice this skill, I’ll spread out several bugs on the table and ask the student to find a bug based on a specific characteristic, such as “Find a bug that looks angry” or “show me a bug with two red legs.”
  • Identifying Emotions – I love that each bug has a different facial expression. If you’re working with students with autism who have just started to identify basic emotions, this is a great way to test for generalization or use the student’s motivation to look at the bugs as an introduction to emotions. I will typically ask “How does this bug feel?” or “Is this bug angry or happy?”
  • Alike & Different – For this skill, I will place two bugs side by side and have the student describe how they are alike and different.
  • Intraverbal Skills – The last skill I work on with this game is describing the bug. I will say “Tell me about the bug” and the child can tell me about the colors of each leg, the facial expression, parts of the face, etc.

Pros: As mentioned in the How section, when I’m considering whether or not to buy a game, I look to see if the game has a natural hook. The design of the bugs in this game are a great hook for early elementary students. The kids I’ve introduced this to enjoy looking at and talking about the bugs.
Cons: For students with autism, this may not be the most appropriate game when played as designed. For students struggling with matching skills, this is frequently too high level, while for students ready for higher level matching skills, this game may no longer be age appropriate.
Cost: $14.99 Should I buy this? I think this is a great purchase if you are a classroom teacher or work with multiple students because there are so many skills you can practice with it. If you are a parent, it’s a good purchase if your student would be highly motivated by the bugs.
ABLLS: B3, C16, C24, C38, C47, G13, G22, G42, H40, R3, R4, R5
VB-MAPP: VP-MTS 2, Listener 7, Tact 11, Listener 11, Math 13

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