Welcome to the blog! I am oh so eager to share some of my favorite speechie materials, ideas, tips, and tricks with you!
Everything is better together, so make sure to comment and let me know what you think and what you want more of!
Let’s continue the deep dive into my toy closet! Scroll down below to see how I use all of these toys in speech therapy.
Sensory Ball: This ball is bumpy, which makes it really easy for little hands to hold onto. I use my ball to target turn taking and joint attention (rolling the ball back and forth), requesting (“more”), verbs (“bounce,” “roll,” “throw,” “go”), and even articulation. Sometimes we put picture cards on the walls with sticky tack. The child throws the ball and whatever card they hit is the word they practice.
Play Food & Utensils: Play food is so versatile! I love using it to target both simple and advanced pretend play. With simple pretend play, we pretend to eat the food or feed it to a doll or bear. For advanced pretend play, we gather the ingredients we need, cook a meal, serve it to people, and clean up so that it’s a whole sequence. Besides just pretending, play food makes it easy to target imitating early vocalizations (licking sound, biting sound, gross sound, a reaction to something being hot, blowing on food to cool it down, etc.) requesting, commenting (“yum,” “mmm,” “yuck,” “ew”), protesting, labeling, and speech sounds. For articulation, I typically choose a carrier phrase that includes the child’s sound and incorporate that into the activity. For example, if a child is working on /l/, the carrier phrase could be “I like ___” and we could talk about all of the different foods we like and don’t like while we cook.
Little People & Animals: Is anyone else obsessed with Little People?! They are just so stinkin’ cute, I can’t even stand it! I have so many that I had to organize the people and the animals into different boxes. And even those boxes are starting to burst at the seams! These toys are perfect for using with a house or barn to target pretend play. I also use them to target requesting (“I want pig,” “my cow,” “give me,” etc.), C1V1C1V1 combinations for kids with apraxia (“moo moo,” “ba ba,” “neigh neigh,” etc.), describing, commenting, and as a reinforcer for speech sound practice.
Miscellaneous bin: There’s all sorts of random stuff in this bin. Individual-use bubbles (because #covid), fidget spinners, extra foam balls for my ball popper, and things like that. My favorite toy you’ll find in there, though, are my stacking spinning tops! Kids (and adults!) are mesmerized by them! They come with a special tool that helps you wind them up so they spin really fast. They stack on top of each other, which is always exciting! I use the tops to target verbs (“go,” “spin”), requesting, commenting (“whoa,” “ahh,” “yay,” “uh-oh”), joint attention, to sabotage (prompting a child to ask for help using the toy), and sometimes just as a reinforcer. Definitely add these to your therapy toolbox!
Lincoln Logs: Fun fact! The Lincoln Logs in my toy closet are actually mine from when I was a kid. It’s neat knowing these 30 year-old toys are still getting love! This set is a favorite for my older kids that enjoy the challenging of building their own log cabin. I most often use them as a reinforcer, especially when we target articulation. They earn different logs by practicing their words or putting them in phrases/sentences. We also incorporate mini articulation objects and put them inside the cabin.
Alphabet Blocks: These particular blocks are mine from childhood, too! I use them to target functional play (stacking blocks), requesting (“more”), prepositions (“up,” “on”), and commenting (“uh-oh” as we knock the towers over). They work well as a reinforcer, too, have you have a little one who loves letters!
Baby Dolls: Baby dolls are excellent for targeting simple pretend play. I love the set below because it has all of the accessories needed to pretend through daily routines like bath time, snack time, and bed time.
Mr. Potato Head: Let’s be honest. Mr. Potato Head is a MUST for EVERY pediatric SLP! What can’t you target with him?! Requesting, body parts, prepositions (in, out, on, off), following directions, expanding language, and more! I think it’s totally worth it to grab some extra accessories to spice up his (or her!) outfits, too!
Mega Blocks: These blocks . I use them mostly to target functional play (stacking blocks), pretend play (building a house or city), and as a reinforcer. Most recently, I had one of my little boys with apraxia beg to play with the blocks. For every target word he said 5 times, he earned a block. I inched the block closer and closer to him with every production! He ended up earning enough blocks to build a huge tower that he named his “Paw Patrol Tower.” We pulled out my Paw Patrol action figures and gave. We had a blast in that session and have repeated that activity a bunch of times!
There you have it! A deep dive into my toy closet. Which of these toys are on your wish list?!
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