Monday, January 25, 2016

Lets talk Toys

I'd like to talk toys in this post. I'm a kid at heart, so one of my favorite things about being an SLP is that I get to play. The truth is that if you're choosing materials correctly, your clients will be having so much fun they won't even know that they are learning. So when it comes to developing language in preschool children I find that imaginative play sets can't be beat. I'm talking about doll houses, farms, zoos, train sets etc... Playing with toys like these make it so easy to target many expressive language goals simultaneously; vocabulary, basic concepts, sentence expansion, requesting, the list goes on. Another great thing about playing with toys is seeing the joy on my student's faces when they find out they are going to get to get to play!
This brings me to my new favorite toy, Melissa and Doug Reusable Sticker Pads. You'd be hard pressed to find a 3 or 4 year old that doesn't love playing with stickers. I have a few different sets of these sticker pads, and while the trains and diggers in the vehicle set are really popular with my kiddos I'm really loving the play-house set. The play-house reusable sticker pad has 5 different scenes; a play-ground, kitchen, bathroom, living room and a bedroom with matching reusable plastic stickers. These scenes are all great for learning basic household vocabulary and working on pronouns and verbs. When working with groups of children who have speech delays I typically have the kiddos take turns choosing the sticker they want. We then describe what the sticker is doing in the scene. (ex. "It's my turn","I want the girl", "She is cooking eggs on the stove"). You can get great language targeting all sorts of goals including: requesting, turn taking, length of the utterance, pronouns, adjectives, basic vocab and more all while kids are having fun!

Another plus for this play set over a traditional doll house is portability. You can just stick these sticker pads in a bag and go, perfect for a traveling therapist or parent on the go. The sticker sets are totally affordable at under $5 a pop. With those prices you can afford to buy two sets for a barrier game to target higher level expressive and receptive language skills, such as describing and following directions. If you're not sure what a barrier game is follow the link to a Super Duper Publication's Handy Handout for more info.

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