In today’s show, we continue the series Selecting Therapy Activities for toddlers and preschoolers with language delays. Remember that when we match our activities to a child’s developmental level and strengths, and strongly consider his likes and even dislikes, we maximize that child’s participation and motivation, two very important components of an effective therapy program.
Today we’re continuing with the next category of play. I’ve included links to toys on Amazon so you can stock up and get ready to play! (The Amazon Affiliate links are for your reference so that you can SEE the toy and know that it’s the ‘right’ one we’ve discussed and of course, for your convenience if you’re busy and don’t have time to search the stores yourself!)
These activities require more attention and are great for targeting both receptive and expressive language. Kids are ready to bump up to this kind of play when they understand how toys work and can stay with you and include you during play for at least 5 to 10 minutes.
Receptive Language – Because you’re focusing on teaching children to understand language during these activities, you won’t require or ask a child to talk. Many kids with receptive language delays CAN’T process what they hear and talk at the same time. When we ask them to do that, any number of undesirable results may occur. We talked about how to identify the various kinds of negative reactions on the show and how to handle those. Listen for those ideas!
Best ideas for working on receptive language with any of the toys below:
- Ask a child to do something with the toy during play. Here you’re targeting following directions. Examples – “Get the ____.” And then ask them to do what comes next.
- Practice receptive language during clean up time. You can see great examples in my DVD Teach Me To Listen and Obey 2.
Expressive Strategies – This includes what you say as you play and what your goals for the child to say are:
- Play sounds and exclamatory words such as: uh oh, wow, whee, boo, and sound effects like animal sounds or vehicle noises like beep beep or vroom
- Very familiar SINGLE words such as: in, out, up, push, go, ball, car, more, please, all done, etc…
- Verbal Routines such as “Ready Set Go!” or “1, 2, 3”
- Short phrases – simple two-word combinations such as “bye bye ball” or “more please”
- Holistic phrases such as “I got it!” “See ya” “Put it in!” “There it is!” “I did it!” “Way to go!”
If you’d like a more detailed explanation for how to use these expressive strategies, they’re in my book Building Verbal Imitation Skills in Toddlers. For professionals, this information is also available in a CE course Steps to Building Verbal Imitation Skills in Toddlers.
Puzzles – Continue to increase the complexity of the puzzle by selecting those with more pieces and new words:
Add fine motor practice and FUN with a fishing pole for this magnetic fishing puzzle:
Mr. Potato Head is also a classic choice and comes in a variety of sets from basic and cheap to fancier sets with lots and lots of pieces. I like extending the receptive goals for learning body parts and following directions with prepositions (in, out, on, off, etc…) with this toy.
My Therapy Tip of the Week video about using Mr. Potato Head will give you even more ideas:
Here’s my favorite set of blocks. You can teach lots of concepts with this one! Listen to the show for ideas!
Garage with Keys – This toy is a little more challenging because of the keys and toddlers and preschoolers LOVE it. It’s a nice step up from a race track with limited play options. You’ll be able to keep using this toy as a child moves toward pretend play.
Animal Hospital – I use this “house” and put in all kinds of plastic animals or toys. Again, kids love the keys and you can change out the contents to make this a hit day after day!
This Toy Microwave WORKS to keep a child’s attention! It also teaches the “wait” concept better than most toys since a child can watch the food spin and needs to wait for the beep before opening the door.
It’s even more fun with velcro food that a kid can pull apart or cut with a knife.
I love these stringing sets for vocabulary building and it’s FANTASTIC fine motor practice! Remember, start by having a child take the animal/vehicle off before you expect him to “string” by himself.
That’s all for this show! I hope you have as much success and fun playing with these toys as I do!
If you haven’t heard the previous episodes in this series, listen here:
#295 Part One
#296 Part Two
#297 Part Three