The holidays are just around the corner and as we get ready to hunker down for winter you may be looking for that perfect game or toy to keep your child entertained inside. Why not work on language skills while you’re at it?I’ve put together some of my favorite and most used items as well as suggestions on how to use them during play!
Squigz– I could play with these all day! The suction cups make them great for playing on a table or window and I use them for following directions and spatial concepts (above, under, next to, etc.).
Pop the Pig– Another SLP favorite that is great for turn-taking and working on using the correct pronouns during play. You can also use this to work on expanding utterances, instead of saying “blue” work on “I need blue” or “blue please” when getting the hamburgers.
B. Toys Critter Clinic– I love this one because of the countless opportunities to work on vocabulary! You can talk about the colors and animals you want while opening and closing the doors. This activity can be used to request help with the keys and doors. The critter clinic is also great for play skills while pretending to be a vet!
B. Toys Whacky Ball– This is one of my favorite toys to work on “core vocabulary.” You can withhold the ball from your child while working on requesting “more” and “go.” The Whacky Ball can also be used to work on turn taking with the hammer.
Mr. Potato Head– This one is a classic but so fun and motivating! Mr. Potato Head is great for working on body parts and expanding phrase length when requesting different pieces by using “I want” or “I need” sentences. Sometimes, I’ll put all of the pieces into the “wrong” spots and see if the child can tell me where each body part should be.
HedBanz game– Another great game to work on sentence expansion and describing skills. You can play this game using the rules by asking yes/no questions but I also like to switch it up and have the players describe the items by category, function, and features.
Nursery Rhyme and Board Books– I love using repetitive, nursery rhyme books (like “Brown Bear, Brown Bear” or “Wheels on the Bus”) to work on language development with the really little ones. The repetition in the books and songs are great for working on patterns and filling in the last word or sound of a phrase.
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