Stay at Home: NET Edition

As we are staying at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, being creative with the activities we plan for our children and learners can be tricky! Learning through play (Natural Environment; NET) can be very beneficial for our children and ensuring we embed valuable skills within those activities is crucial. Typically we learn through our interaction with the environment and with other people. In early education, teachers may set up activities that are designed to expose their learners to a specific concept, generalise acquired skills or support social skills. Developmental disorders can impact a learners ability to learn from the natural environment. Within an Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) approach, educators use a variety of Discrete Trial Teaching (DTT; Table work) and Natural Environment Teaching (NET; play based) activities. DTT enables teaching to focus on a high number of learning opportunities around language, academic and cognitive tasks. NET focuses on teaching a variety of skills through naturally occurring events or activities, for instance meal times or other routines, community trips or play. NET teaching has been shown to be an effective approach to teaching skills (Hart Risley (1968); McGee, et al (1983); Rosales-Ruiz & Baer (1997); Welch & Pear (1980)).


Activity ideas:

Blanket Swing


Chalk drawing

Coloured Rice

Decorating cakes


Feet and hand painting

Fruit Salad

Guess Who

Hide and Seek

Ice Painting

Kinetic Sand

Marble Painting

Mr. Potato Head

Musical instruments

Obstacle Course

Pasta Necklace


Role play: Doctor and Nurses

Scene making

Sensory toys

Shadow Drawing

Simon says

Train set


Visiting the park

Water balloons



Hart, B. M., & Risley, T. R. (1968). Establishing use of descriptive adjectives in the spontaneous speech of disadvantaged preschool children. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 1(2), 109-120.

McGee, G. G., Krantz, P. J., Mason, D., & McClannahan, L. E. (1983). A modified incidental-teaching procedure for autistic youth: acquisition and generalisation of receptive object labels. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 16(3), 329-338.

Rosales-Ruiz, J., & Baer, D. M.(1997) Behavioral cusps: A developmental and pragmatic concept for behaviour analysis, Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 30(3), 533-544.

Welch, S. J. & Pear, J. J. (1980). Generalisation of naming responses to objects in the natural environment as a function of training stimulus modality with retarded children, Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 13(4), 629-643.


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