Welcome to the blog! I am oh so eager to share some of my favorite speechie materials, ideas, tips, and tricks with you!
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Be still my color-loving heart… I adore this toy! 🌈 It’s so versatile! I can use it to target almost any speech-language therapy goal under the sun. I’m always surprised by which kids want to play with this toy. Even my 8 year-olds choose this sometimes. Hey, whatever works! To play, the child puts the different animals and shapes in the matching holes. Then they can match the key colors to the door colors to open the doors and start over again. Scroll down below to see how I use this toy to target different goals in therapy.
Requesting Objects: I’ll gather the objects (shapes and animals) and line a couple of them up. I prompt the child to request which object they want to put into the house. You can target requesting at word-level or all the way up to sentence-level.
Requesting Help: Asking for assistance is an important pragmatic function. Luckily, it’s pretty tricky to open the doors with the little keys. I let my kids try, but they inevitably need help! I prompt them to request help either through the sign, having them imitate “help” or “help me,” or even shifting their gaze toward me– depending on the kid.
Following Directions: Lay out several objects and cue the child to follow your verbal directions (e.g., “Put bear in.”). You could make the directions more complex, such as, “Put the circle in after you put the whale in.”
Speech Sounds with Mini Objects: I have a set of mini objects for each sound I target in articulation therapy (see the boxes here). So if the child is working on the /b/ sound, I’ll pull out the box of /b/ objects. We can target the words by putting them in the holes (e.g., “Bear goes in, ball goes in, bottle goes in”) and then using the keys to open the doors to take the objects out (e.g., “Take bear out, take ball out, take bottle out”).
Color Concepts: Target color identification and/or labeling using the colors on the doors, keys, or objects.
Vocalizations, Animals Sounds, Vowels: The ability to imitate and produce simple vocalizations is something I target often! You can prompt the child to imitate the animal sounds of the different animals. You can also have them “tell” a sound to different objects. For example, if I’m targeting the vowel “ee,” I hold an object up near my mouth and say “ee” then give it to the child for them to try. The objects serve as a visual cue to vocalize and as reinforcement!
Functional Play: Also known as “playing with toys in an expected fashion.” Shape sorters are great toys for targeting this basic play skill. Model how to put the shapes in and prompt the child to play with the toy in that way.
Same vs. Different: Talk about which objects match the holes on the house. If you put the bear next to the circle hole, are the shapes the same or different?
Prepositions: Target words like “in” and “out” as you play with the objects and house.
Categories: Put mini objects from different semantic categories all over the table. Direct the child to group the objects into categories and discuss while you complete the activity. Then direct them as to which group of objects to place into the house (e.g., “Put all of the foods inside the house,” or, “take all of the animals out of the house.”).
Negation: Hold out two mini objects. Direct the child which object NOT to get (e.g., “Show me which one is NOT a banana.”). Then put that object in the house.
Power Words: I call “open” a ‘power word’… The word is very powerful when a child can use it appropriately! This toy is perfect for targeting one of my favorites, “open”!
My particular shape sorter house was made by Chicco, but it looks like they don’t make that exact version anymore. I’ve linked two similar ones below for your shopping pleasure. Enjoy!
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