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February 01, 2012 | Laura | Comments 12

Therapy Tip of the Week for 1.31.12

Hi! I’m adding a new feature here at teachmetotalk.com in an effort to share therapy ideas for therapists and other professionals who work with toddlers.

Each week I hope to post a new video along with a short written summary with links to any articles or products I mentioned in the video.

Here’s this week’s segment:


1.31.12 - Homemade Activities To Target Attention & Task Completion 

This week’s tips include activities you can easily make to target attention and task completion as well as early cognitive skills (cause & effect/simple problem solving) and even early color matching.  

These activities are best for very young children who are functioning at the 9-12 and 12-18 month developmental levels. Sometimes this developmental group is more of a challenge to treat due to their lack of interest in “baby toys,” yet they may not have the cognitive or motor skills necessary to play with more traditional toddler toys. These kinds of activities may also be used for older children with significant developmental delays who need extra practice with fine motor skills. Lastly, these are super “homework” ideas for moms to use during daily routines as a diversion for a busy toddler or during 1:1 play time with an adult.  


Language Concepts to target during these activities:

Early Prepositions: In, Out

Verbs: Push, Squeeze, See, Look

Any Exclamatory Word: Yay, Wow, Oops, Uh-Oh, Clank (as sticks hit the bottom of the container) and any other novel sounds you can come up with to help the child also focus on you!


Articles & Products Mentioned:

Ditch the…. 

How can I help my toddler learn more words?

Teach Me To Talk: The Therapy Manual




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There Are 12 Responses So Far. »

  1. You just keep getting better & better! You are such an awesome resource Laura! You are making a difference in the lives of so many children.

    If you have a moment, could you and Kate share some information on what a typical home visit/session looks like during one of your pod casts (how you plan for a visit/session, what do you do when you first get to a home, what activities you do when, how you wrap a session up, etc.)?

  2. Thank you Erika! That’s a great show topic! We’ll put that on our list for later in February. I always update the Facebook page with the podcast topic on Sundays around 5 pm eastern time as I prep for the show, so you can be sure to catch when we use your idea. Thanks again for the praise! I’m always a little tentative when I release a new feature or project. Laura

  3. Erika - There are also some session outlines in Teach Me To Talk: The Therapy Manual in the last chapter I believe. I don’t know if you have that book or not, but take a look there if you do. You can find listings of lesson plans/outlines for kids at a couple of different developmental levels there. Laura

  4. Awesome..easy and cost effective. I was literally just this week trying to come up with clever, cheap ways to target some of the skills you talked about here!!! Can’t wait to see some of your ideas for higher cognitive functioning children. I have quite a few very bright children on my caseload that do not talk!!!! help!!!

  5. Thanks Jill! For the next few weeks I’ll be talking about seasonal ideas for Valentines day and I’ll try to include some higher level ideas for you with those activities! Laura

  6. GREAT ideas! Thanks for sharing Laura!

  7. Wow!! LOVE these ideas!! Fun for mom to make and fun for kids to do. Theraplay!!

  8. Hi Laura, I love the variety of activities you have that challenge motor skills alongside attention and early language. So many of the kids we work with need input in all these modalities so it is always great to get new ideas!

    I also love that these are low tech options. I’m really struggling right now with the wave of new “Apps” on the market for Speechies. I want to take the positivity of this new technology on board but I would hate to see us losing all the traditional therapy techniques or being seen as “old fashioned” if we don’t use an IPad for therapy!

  9. Hi Kathryn. Thank you so much! I hope we NEVER lose sight of hands-on play in early intervention with babies & toddlers!!! I think it’s hypocritical for ANY professional to push “screen time” for any child under the developmental age of 2 and or to offer anything more than limited access to quality options throughout preschool. The newer research that tells us that we may actually contribute to a child’s attention issues by overexposing them to the wrong kind of stimulation is very, very scary for me! I’ll be writing more about that in the coming weeks, and we’ll discuss this on the podcast next Sunday. Thanks again for your comment! Laura

  10. Thanks Annie!

  11. First of all I LOVE this new segment you’re doing on your website! I just watched all of the clips you’ve done so far and I can’t wait to tune in each week and watch. As you know, I tune in to the pod casts consistently, but this is a nice quick and more visual resource. As a therapist, my question for you is how do you address kiddos who want to mouth everything when you choose to do a task like this? The first thing I thought of with the popsicle sticks and the pom poms was my kiddos putting those items right in their mouths. Also, with the rice tubs, how do you address the kiddos who want to scoop the rice out and pour it all over the carpet or take handfuls and throw it? Do you spend a lot of time “cleaning” during the task just to keep your product together? I try and not dwell on addressing these behaviors too much but it does happen at times as they are exploring and/or testing boundaries. As always, thank you so much for continuing to be my go to for ideas, inspiration, resources, and continuing education.

  12. Thanks Janea! I think I said on the both of the videos that I do not do these kinds of activities with children who are still mouthing lots of things or who are stuck in that throwing phase. If you’re spending all of your time managing behaviors, then it’s not an appropriate therapy activity because you’re not addressing what you’re there to do - which is target the language issues. Laura

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