What’s more fun to young kids than playing with toy food items? They love using play food to engage in activities like playing house. Harness that interest for your speech therapy sessions! This is why toy food sets can be so engaging for our speech students! These play food items allow students to interact with you and do pretend play, all the while allowing you to work on a variety of different speech and language skills with them. I’m sharing 10 skills you can focus on with toy foods below, so keep reading to get all of my suggestions!
Where Can I Buy Play Food for My Speech Room?
There are a few different play food options available online. One of them is even from Melissa and Doug, so you don’t have to worry about the quality of those items! All of the ones I’m suggesting below can be found on Amazon, but you might be able to find them at stores like Target, too. The links below are Amazon affiliate links for your convenience.
Pantry in a Bucket by Play Circle Battat (This is a good deal!)
New Sprouts Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner by Learning Resources
Build Vocabulary While Using Play Food in Speech Therapy
You can use play food to compare and contrast items by attribute features. While you are playing with the food, you can discuss the different category groups for food items, function, size, shape, color, where you buy/store it, what meals you use the food for, parts and textures. I love using my visual sentence frames to help my students explain similarities and differences between foods.
For your students not ready to work expressively with comparing and contrasting, have your students “sort” food into different groups. For example, you can sort chewy vs. crunchy foods, hot vs. cold, sweet vs. sour foods.
Being able to see and touch the play food while doing this language activity makes it engaging for your students too!
How to Use Play Food in Speech Therapy
A toy food set can be used to target so many speech and language skills! Listed below are some of my favorite ways to engage children in these skills:
- Have one student prepare a meal for another student. One student can practice his/her articulation, vocabulary, grammar while telling the student what to do to prepare the meal.
- Sequence the steps for setting a table, cleaning the kitchen, shopping at the grocery store, or making a meal. Sequence how to make a hamburger, sandwich, cake, etc.
- Following directions and basic concepts with the food and utensils.
- Sort food by sub-categories: desserts, fruit, vegetables, breakfast, dinner, meat, etc. Then, describe the food by attributes (size, shape, colors, parts, texture, etc.)
- Work on “who” and “where” questions. Give different food items to students and ask, “Who has a brownie?”
- Asking and answering wh-questions while playing with the food.
- Play pretend restaurant to work on social skills, articulation carryover, and language.
- Plan a dinner party or birthday party.
- Practice manners while eating.
- Work on inferencing by giving the kids clues about the food item and they have to guess the food.
Need a cheat sheet guide to help you with targeting wh- questions, Tier II vocabulary, articulation, basic concepts, adjectives, and helpful therapy ideas for toys you use during play-based therapy? Grab this Toy Companion Cheat Sheet Guide for Pre-K to 2nd grade and have stimulus targets mapped out for fourteen different toys.
Share How You Use Play Food Toy Set
Do you have a fun way to engage your students with play food in speech therapy? Share in the comments, tag me on Instagram @thedabblingspeechie, or email me at email@example.com.