Object Functions: Activity Page

color by function

Object Functions: what are they, why are they important, and activity page

Working on object functions is a great way to help children enhance both their receptive and expressive vocabulary skills. While children may be able to name or label several nouns and objects in their environment, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they understand what it is they are talking about. It is important to strengthen the understanding of the relationship between an object and its function to help children to expand their grammatical skills, support their ability to follow directions, and help them to navigate daily routines. 

How do I do this?

First, you can start by seeing if children can demonstrate their understanding of object functions. Here are a few ideas to teach object functions and strengthen those associations:

  • During snack or meal times: 
    • Ask, “which one is for drinking?” and have them point to the cup
    • “Which one do you eat?” and pick up the food item(s)
  • Getting ready for bed or morning routines:
    • Ask, “which one do you wear?” and have them pick out their PJs or clothes
    • “Which one do you use to brush your teeth?” and point to the toothbrush 
  • Packing a backpack for school:
    • Ask, “which one do you read?” and have them pick out the book
    • “Which one do you write or color with?” and point to the pencil, crayons, markers, etc.

Once your child understands what an object’s function is, you can work on enhancing their ability to describe those functions which will, in turn, help to support their grammar skills. You can ask “what do you do with a ____?”, and your child will have the opportunity to make associations between objects/nouns and verbs, use appropriate word relationships (semantics), and construct correct sentences (syntax). Here are a few examples:

  • “What do you do with a cup?” → “A cup is used for drinking”, “You can drink from a cup”, “You can pour water into a cup”, etc. 
  • “What do you do with shoes?” → “You wear shoes on your feet”, “Shoes help to keep your feet protected”, “You wear shoes to go outside and play”, etc. 
  • “What do you do with a toothbrush?” → “You brush your teeth with a toothbrush”, “You put minty, blue toothpaste on the toothbrush”, “You put water and toothpaste on your toothbrush”, etc.

Activity Printable

The associations between objects and their functions are some of the first that children make, so why not help them build those associations with a fun and easy at-home activity! Download and print our Color by Function Activity Page and start practicing today.


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