With the holidays approaching, we wanted to share some of our favorite toys as speech-language pathologists. Play is an essential component of language development and allows children to interact with others, learn turn-taking skills, learn to problem solve, develop, and expand their vocabulary.
“Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning.” -Mr. Rogers
Bubbles: Children love bubbles! You can target common words and signs. For example, “open”, “help”, “more”, and “please”. You can also work on the anticipatory phrase “Ready, set, go!”. You can work on the /p/ sound for “pop” and the /b/ sound for “bubbles”.
Farm set: Target labeling animals, animal noises, prepositions (“put the cow on top of the barn”), language expansion (“Pig!”, “Hi pig!”), Wh questions (“who says moo?”), and pretend play!
Food set: Use food sets to request and labeling foods, language expansion (“apple!”, “red apple!”), verbs (eat, cut, cook,stir), following directions, pretend play, object function (“What do you do with a knife?”).
Surprise Toys from The Learning Resources: Offer choices between colors, build anticipation to encourage communication by shaking the present, pausing, and waiting for the child to request, labeling (colors, numbers), sorting by color, categorizing, language expansion (“duck!”, “yellow duck!”), pretend play (make the plane fly), prepositions (Put the duck in”).
Sound Puzzles: Our favorite puzzles Melissa & Doug sound puzzles. Use puzzles to have your child request “I want ____” or label “I see a _____”, “It’s a ______”. Identifying animals/objects, turn taking, prepositions “Put the cow in”, “Take the pig out”, verbs (open, turn, get, in, out, on, off), and WH questions (“What does a cow say?”).
Critter Clinic: Work on requesting (color of keys to open door, animals, shot, thermometer, etc), language expansion (I want _____), core vocabulary (open, close, up, down, need, want, my turn, your turn, help), following directions and prepositions (put the cat in the blue door), color identification (where is the purple key?), and sequencing (doing a check-up on one of the animals)
Cars/Ramps/Garages: Cars are one of our favorite ways to work on environmental sounds: (vroom, beep, honk). You can also use ramps and garages to work on requesting, turn taking, anticipatory phrases (1..2..3..Go!), concepts such as “stop”, “go”, “in”, out”, and following directions (Put the blue truck in the garage).
Mr. Potato Head: Use for labeling body parts, following directions (Put the blue shoes on Mr. Potato Head), requesting (I want the green hat, I want eyes), expanding language, turn taking, pronouns (Give the pink hat to the girl), and prepositions (Put Mr. Potato Head on top of the table).
Happy Playing and Happy Holidays from A to Z Speech Therapy! If you have any questions about your child’s speech or language skills feel free to contact us. We can be reached at email@example.com, A to Z Speech Therapy Website or 734-660-4661.
-Rachel and Alexis
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A to Z Speech Therapy is a mother-daughter owned private practice offering convenient in-home and teletherapy speech and language services for pediatric clients and their busy families. A to Z Speech Therapy also offers social skills groups, play groups, educator in-services, and parent education consultations. A to Z Speech Therapy was named after Rachel’s two daughters, Alexis and Zoey. Alexis followed in her mother’s footsteps by becoming a speech-language pathologist and they are now fulfilling a dream of working together in a profession that they love.
Amber is the proud mother to four beautiful children, Damian (27), Rosaleigh (14), Carlyn (11), and Naomi (8). Her family also includes four cats.
She loves being a stay-at-home mom and feels blessed to be able to care for her children full-time and provide them with so many opportunities through Metro Detroit Mommy. In addition to Metro Detroit Mommy, Amber has a passion for hosting karaoke with Malibu Entertainment. She enjoys the metro Detroit nightlife especially, singing, dancing and meeting new people.