“Have you met my Auntie Nym? Well, let me tell you, she can be difficult. When you tell her to stand up, she will always sit down. When you ask her to go in, she will always go out. If you ask her to turn on the lights, she will always turn them off.”
My Aunt(ie) Nym is actually a relation creation used by my favorite supervisor, Donna. Equal parts Amelia Bedelia and contrary toddler, Auntie Nym is like the Jerry Lewis of the speech room. Oops, too dated a reference. Auntie Nym is the Katy Perry of the speech room. She’s hot, then she’s cold; she’s yes, then she’s no; she’s in, then she’s out… You get the idea. Kids love her. Her name, obviously, is a play on “antonym” and, at least where I live the pronunciation of “aunt” as “ant” (or the Southern “auntie”) lends itself as a perfect reminder of that sometimes tricky vocabulary term. And few kiddos after a couple of lessons would forget that ol’ Auntie Nym was notorious for doing the exact opposite of whatever you wanted.
Donna has a kooky doll she uses as a visual aid and the kids have a ball thinking of what Auntie Nym would do in a given situation.
When you start working on antonyms you might want to begin by having your students “give” Aunt Nym instructions:
Child: Tell her to move fast!
Therapist: Look at that! She moves slooooow. (demonstrate)
Child: Tell her to go to sleep.
Therapist: Uh-oh. Look, she woke up.
Once they have some exposure to basic opposite pairs, you can reverse the process.
Therapist: Aunt Nym, please shut the door. (pause) Uh-oh. What will she do?
Child: Open the door!
For higher level language skills you might consider writing a letter to “Auntie Nym” giving her instructions for a visiting a restaurant (one the kids are familiar with) or another location/event the children know. Auntie Nym can write back, retelling what she did (exactly opposite of what was instructed) and the hilarity that certainly ensued.
I would LOVE, love, love, love to see an Auntie Nym video parody on Katy Perry’s “Hot n Cold”! Come on, tech savvy peeps–hook us up!
Need some assistance thinking of opposite pairs? Try these:
P.S. Auntie Nym wanted to sign off—“Hi! Have a terrible day!”
I use letters from Aunt Nym that are written to my students. To view, click here.