What does play-based speech therapy look like?

What does play-based speech therapy look like?

If you work with younger-aged students, then planning play-based speech therapy sessions can help you save time with lesson plans and increase engagement with students!

You can adapt toys to cover multiple goals, so you can use the toy in many of your sessions. I love utilizing a toy or a pretend play theme for many of my mixed group sessions! Adapting materials sparks joy in this SLP.

Today, I wanted to share all about what play-based speech therapy is, how this benefits the child, the stages of play, and tips for how to be a rockstar SLP with play therapy! Ya ready for some practical therapy info? After this blog post, you will be confident with doing play therapy with your students!

What is play-based speech therapy?

 

Play-based speech therapy is when a speech pathologist (SLP) plans speech and/or language activities around a play toy or activity. The SLP will create opportunities for the child to practice the target skill while enjoying motivating toys and activities that are relevant to the child’s interests. 

Wondering how to get started with play-based speech therapy? Check out this blog post to see the benefits of play-based speech therapy and how play-based learning can help you plan engaging speech therapy sessions efficiently! #slpeeps #playtherapy #playbasedtherapy #speechtherapy #speechtherapist #cfyslp #slp #ashaigers #speechies #schoolslp #dabblingslp #preschoolslp #pediatricslp
  • Children are motivated to engage and communicate when playing with materials of interest.
  • Play-based therapy helps increase attention and build better positive interactions.
  • Children learn the social skills necessary for playing with toys and make progress on speech and/or language goals in a naturalistic setting.
  • The child will make better connections with real-life events and will improve memory.

Types of Play That Can Be Targeted in Play-Based Speech Therapy

  1. Functional play – investigating how common objects work and are used
  2. Construction play – building things with objects
  3. Game play with rules – board games that have a clear set of rules for playing
  4. Outdoor and movement play – activities that involve physical movement
  5. Symbolic, dramatic, and pretend play – common activities are done in everyday life as play
Wondering how to get started with play-based speech therapy? Check out this blog post to see the benefits of play-based speech therapy and how play-based learning can help you plan engaging speech therapy sessions efficiently! #slpeeps #playtherapy #playbasedtherapy #speechtherapy #speechtherapist #cfyslp #slp #ashaigers #speechies #schoolslp #dabblingslp #preschoolslp #pediatricslp

The Five Stages of Play Children Use

  • Stage I: Onlooker play – watching and observing (under 1 year of age)
  • Stage II: Solitary play – playing by themselves (between 1-2 years of age)
  • Stage III: Parallel play – playing near others but not engaging with others (between 2-3 years of age)
  • Stage IV: Associative play – playing with others but sometimes playing by themselves (between 3-4 years of age)
  • Stage V: Cooperative play – playing with others and will not continue to play without a partner (above 4 years of age)

Tips for Implementing Play-Based Speech Therapy

  • Let the child take the lead during the play activity as much as you can without moving away from the target goals. When doing play-based therapy, it is important for it to feel natural and not clinician-directed.
  • Avoid commands such as, “Say this” during the session. When we put too many demands on students, it takes away from the “play” aspect of therapy. Instead, give 5-10 second wait times after modeling a word or phrase to see if the child initiates a question or a comment.
  • Find toys and materials that are relevant and interesting to the child. Participation will increase with the right toy.
  • If the toy/material is motivating for the child, then use it more than one session. Lesson planning will take less time, and students will have more engagement with the skills.
  • Provide two toys or play options in a session. Allow the child to help make decisions about what he/she wants to play with. Re-introduce toys/materials that were not interesting to the child in the past. They may have a new interest in the toy.
  • Set a timer and have visual supports for students that need preparation before ending a play session. This will help decrease or eliminate unwanted behaviors during transition times.
  • Model speech and/or language skills that you want the child to learn. You can show the child how to get a toy that he/she wants, show how to play with a toy, or use a new phrase the child can use while playing. 

How to Use Toys in Speech Therapy

If you are needing ideas for toys to use in your speech sessions, I have a lot of blog posts that share how to adapt toys for many goals. Your play-based speech therapy sessions will be easier to plan when you have toys that can be adapted for many activities. Check out these posts:

Farmhouse Toy

Pet Vet Toy

Bubbles

Toys for Functional Communication

Do You Struggle with Remembering All the Targets While Playing with Students?

Between managing attention and behavior, as well as working on IEP goals during play, it can be cognitively overwhelming for you as a clinician. We want to maximize those play-based sessions, but it can feel like a workout coming up with relevant targets off the top of our heads. That’s why I created Toy Companion Cheat Sheet Guides for 18 popular toys. It comes with wh- questions to ask, verbs to target (over 36 for each toy), Tier II vocabulary, articulation words to use, carrier phrases, basic concepts, adjectives, and 10 therapy ideas to implement with each toy. Whew! That’s a lot of skills. You will be ready for your therapy in minutes and can even use these to train parents and teachers with how to use toys in a functional way! Need this in your life like yesterday? Head to my store and grab it HERE.

What Are Your Tips for Play-Based Speech Therapy?

 

Do you have any tips for implementing play-based speech therapy with your students? Have you found some success with using toys to help your students with complex speech and language needs? I would love to hear your tips! 

And, I would love to know your favorite toys or pretend play themes you enjoy using for therapy. Share in the comments or email me at feliceclark@thedabblingspeechie.com with your ideas. 

Wondering how to get started with play-based speech therapy? Check out this blog post to see the benefits of play-based speech therapy and how play-based learning can help you plan engaging speech therapy sessions efficiently! #slpeeps #playtherapy #playbasedtherapy #speechtherapy #speechtherapist #cfyslp #slp #ashaigers #speechies #schoolslp #dabblingslp #preschoolslp #pediatricslp

How to Use a Toy Farm in Speech Therapy

How to Use a Toy Farm in Speech Therapy

Having toys in your therapy stash that you can use to cover multiple goals is the way to go when you are a busy SLP. Lesson planning is important for effective therapy, so knowing how to quickly utilize a toy to elicit speech and language targets is nice on those days when  meetings and paperwork eat up all your planning time.

Today, I want to share about how to use your toy farm in speech therapy to cover a wide range of skills. My kids are very engaged when I pull out the toy farm in speech therapy. 

Where Can I Buy a Farmhouse for My Speech Room?

Using a toy farm in speech therapy can be a great material to help your students work on goals in a functional way. Check out how to use a toy farm in your next play-based speech therapy session!  #slpeeps #schoolslp #preschool #toysforspeech #preschoolslp #speechtherapy #speechies #slp #dabblingslp

There are several different types of farmhouse playsets available on Amazon. I am sure you can find a farmhouse toy at Target, too. Here are some of the playsets that are affordable (Amazon affiliate links included for your convenience):

 

Battat Big Red Barn

 

Melissa and Doug Wooden Fold N’ Go Barn

 

Fisher-Price Little People Caring for Animals Farm Playset

 

B Toys Baa Baa Baa Musical Farm Set  (This is the one I own.)

 

If you don’t have room for a bulky farm set, then you can buy these Farm Animals and Down on the Farm Toob sets to use in therapy. There is also a Farm Babies set!

Using a Toy Farm in Speech Therapy With Younger-Aged Children

A farmhouse set can be used to target so many skills! Listed below are some of my favorite ways to engage children in speech and language skills:

  1. Sort the animals by attributes (wings/no wings,  two legs/ four legs, lives on a farm, not on a farm).
  2. Discuss what each animal can do, what parts they have, where you can find them, how they feel, etc.
  3. Work on grammar concepts, such as plural tense (i.e. cows, horses), noun-verb agreement (She has the bucket), present progressive (i.e. is walking).
  4. Create a farm sensory bin to work on storytelling, social skills, pretend play, grammar, and vocabulary.
  5. Give the farm animals items and ask “who” questions (Who has the corn?).
  6. Work on “where” the animals and items are on the farm.
  7. Make a farm animal washing station to work on verbs, vocabulary, and sequencing. One container has dirt, and the other has soapy water.
  8. Work on following directions with basic concepts and 1-3 step directions.
  9. Create a fence with popsicle sticks or use a plastic play fence. Students work on around, over, under, etc.
  10. Have the farmer go around the farm doing all of his/her chores. Work on noun-functions, creating sentences, describing, and more.
toy farm in speech therapy
toy farm in speech therapy

Have a Toy Farm Cheat Sheet for Your Sessions

Play-based therapy is a naturalistic tool that SLPs can use to target verbs, language skills, social pragmatics, and articulation/phonology. It can be tough to remember all the targets to hit in a mixed group, as well. That’s why I created cheat sheets to help SLPs. You focus on the therapy with the students rather than worrying about the targets you are going to use in the session. Need toy companion cheat sheets? Grab my toy companion cheat sheets designed for Pre-K thru 2nd grade for 14 of your students’ favorite toys, including a toy farmhouse playset!

toy farm in speech therapy
Using a toy farm in speech therapy can be a great material to help your students work on goals in a functional way. Check out how to use a toy farm in your next play-based speech therapy session!  #slpeeps #schoolslp #preschool #toysforspeech #preschoolslp #speechtherapy #speechies #slp #dabblingslp

Farm-Themed Therapy Resources

 

 

When I plan my small group and whole class therapy lessons, I like to use themes to keep me organized. In this blog post , you can see all the books, videos, and activities I plan with a farm theme. 

How Do You Use a Toy Farm Playset in Speech Therapy?

 

 

Do you have a fun way to engage your students with a farmhouse playset in speech therapy? Share in the comments, tag me on Instagram @thedabblingspeechie, or email me at feliceclark@thedabblingspeechie.com.

Monster Sensory Bin for Speech Therapy

Monster Sensory Bin for Speech Therapy

Do your students love talking about monsters? I know mine do! And there are so many books and activities you can use to cover lots of speech and language goals. Here are a couple of blog posts with ideas to use in your therapy sessions.

If you have been following my blog or social media accounts, you know I love sensory bins! They are the best way to engage your students. Today, I want to show you how to make this monster sensory bin using really affordable materials. This googly-eyed sensory bin is really fun to use during the Halloween season or any time of the year!

Grab your favorite monster themed book and use this bin as an extension activity! Amazon affiliate links are included for your convenience. For more sensory bin ideas, I have a whole page filled with ideas to give you inspiration for therapy!

Materials for Making the Monster Sensory Bin

Here are the materials you need to make your speech sensory bin:

-A bin or box of any size

-Monster Googly-Eyed ping pong balls (You can get at the Dollar Tree during Halloween season or grab them on Amazon)

Purple yarn cut up into spaghetti length pieces (Use your 40% off coupon from Joann’s for a great price on yarn)

Learning Resources scoopers or use a plastic spoon or soup ladle with your bin

Ways to Use Your Monster Sensory Bins

This sensory bin can work on functional communication. You can target “want”, “more”, “all done”, “my turn”, “wait”, “help” and “where” using this bin. Do you need a CORE board for some of your students? Head to this blog post to get a free one

Your students can learn the concepts of in/out using this bin. If your students are working on verbs, you can target “pick”, “find”, and  “look” while playing with this sensory bin.

Students can work on language concepts while using this bin. Write different conjunctions on the eyeballs. When a student picks up an eyeball, he/she has to create a sentence with the conjunction. You can do the same thing with prefixes or suffixes. What other goals could you target in your sessions? Let me know in the comments. 

Articulation Practice Using This Monster Sensory Bin

Want your students to increase their repetitions with their articulation sound or phonological process? Write numbers on the eyeballs using a sharpie. Then, have your students hunt for an eyeball. Whatever number is on the eyeball is how many repetitions they have to say. You can also use this as a generic mixed group game. The student with the most points at the end wins!

Are you struggling to get more repetitions with your articulation/phonology students? This blog post will keep your students motivated and working hard each session.

These ping pong balls are bouncy. So, the other way you can use this bin is to put all the eyeballs in a bucket or basket. The student has to say his/her sound so many trials before trying to bounce the eyeball into the sensory bin. Consider it a kid friendly game of monster pong!

Mixed Group Sensory Bin Reinforcer

Play a minute to win it challenge with your students once they complete their work for the session. Set the timer for one minute. Have your students use the scoopers to see how many eyeballs they can get out of the bin in a minute. The student who can get those most eyeballs out in a minute wins.  

How Will You Use This Sensory Bin in Therapy?

Are you going to make this bin for your students? I love storing my sensory bin fillers in gallon sized plastic bags. This way, I can have 1-2 bins and interchange the fillers for new themes. For more storage ideas, head to this blog post. If you need to change up your therapy plans, this sensory bin will definitely get your kids engaged in the session. Make sure to tag me on social media with your bin and therapy ideas @thedabblingspeechie

Halloween Phonology with a Witch’s Brew!

Halloween Phonology with a Witch’s Brew!

It is fun to break away from traditional therapy activities and find ways to infuse the seasonal holidays into your articulation and phonology sessions. For Halloween, you can use so many props from the Dollar Tree or Target Dollar Spot to work on phonology goals in a festive way.

Today, I am going to share a Halloween phonology therapy idea that will help you get those high trials in your sessions. You can have your students make a witch’s brew or potion while practicing their target sounds.

Materials for the Halloween Phonology Witch’s Brew

To make your own Halloween phonology witch’s brew, you need the following items:

-A witch cauldron (I got a mini cauldron at the Dollar Tree)

If you can’t find one at the Dollar Tree, they have a set on Amazon. This set has different sizes, if you want a larger cauldron. 

-Mini Trinkets (I got mine from Dinky Doodads on Etsy). If you want to see how you can use mini trinkets in your speech therapy sessions, check out this post HERE. Kids go bananas for these trinkets, so they are worth the investment for me.

-Witch fingers to stir the witch’s brew (You can grab some on Amazon).

If you need some visual sentence frames to use with this activity, I like to use my articulation sentence starters to get in good practice with the sound!

How to Use the Halloween Phonology Witch’s Brew Activity

With you cauldron and trinkets, you can have your students practice their speech sounds as they placed the trinkets in the cauldron.

Incorporate phonological awareness activities while making a witch’s brew. For example, you can place three mini trinkets out in front of the student. Then, tell the student that the have to find the items the witch wants for her potion brew by knowing which item rhymes with “hat”. 

Or, you can have items already in the cauldron. Tell your students in order for the potion to work, they have to take each item out one by one practicing the word 5 times each. The student can take each item out and practice until all the items are out of the cauldron.

This activity could easily be adapted to work on in/out, plural nouns (i.e. I need three frogs), verbs “stir”, “find”, “make”, “chant”, or simple sequencing.

Carrier Phrases to Use While Making Your Witch’s Brew

The best way to come up with themed carrier phrases is to think about the target sounds your student is working on. Then, brainstorm words that go with your theme, toy or book. This will help you generate carrier phrases that a student may use with the material. Here are some carrier phrases I came up with:

-Sprinkle in ______.

-Stir the _____ into the brew.

-The potion is ______.

-The potion needs _______.

-It’s a ______ potion.

-Boil and bake ______ in the cauldron.

-Add _____ into the brew.

-I want _____ in the cauldron.

More Halloween Speech Therapy Ideas

If you need more Halloween speech therapy ideas, this blog post has activities I used in my therapy rooms a few years ago. Another fun Halloween theme is to use monsters with your students. Here is a blog post that gives you ideas on how to incorporate monsters. I also have some monster materials that will engage your students you can read about HERE

There is also this fun Flying Broomsticks game as a open reinforcer for your mixed groups.

How Would You Use This Halloween Phonology Activity?

I would love to know how you would adapt this Halloween phonology activity for your students. Share your ideas in the comments or tag me in a photo on your IG account. 

Monster Speech Therapy Materials That Are Fun!

Monster Speech Therapy Materials That Are Fun!

If you are new to planning therapy around themes, then you will love all the ideas in this blog post. Today, I am sharing about monster speech therapy materials that are fun for your students. I think you will like using them, too!

 

To plan therapy around a theme, you simply pick a topic or a book that you want to use in therapy. Then, you find books and activities that will support your theme. By using a theme, you can heavily target specific vocabulary used with that theme. Amazon affiliate links are included for your convenience.

Using monsters as your next theme is perfect for increasing engagement with your students, because most kids seem to love talking about those silly creatures.

Monster Books You Can Use in Speech Therapy

There are a ton of great monster-themed books. You can work on story retell, vocabulary, answering wh- questions, describing, grammar, and social skills using books. I listed some of my faves below and what target areas you can focus on. 

The Color Monster by Anna Llenas is great for teaching emotions.

How to Catch a Monster by Adam Wallace can target vocabulary and story retell.

Go Away, Big Green Monster by Ed Emberley is great for students working on simple vocabulary and language.

The Monster Who Lost His Mean by Tiffany Strelitz Haber can be used for social skills and also has opportunities to work on phonological awareness skills. 

Monsters Love School by Mike Austin has a ton of unique verbs to target while reading the story.

Little Shop of Monsters by R.L.Stine has so many great adjectives and describing words to introduce to your students.

 

What are your favorite monster-themed books to use in your therapy sessions? Share in the comments. Please let me know what skills you target, too!

Build-A-Monster Speech Therapy App

 

Making your very own silly monster is very motivating for children! Your students will love creating their own monster using the Sago Mini Monsters App. This app is under $5, so it is affordable for you SLPs on a budget.

 

With this Mini Monsters app, you can target the following skills:

-Initiating requests and comments

-Working on describing skills

-Targeting verbs

– Practicing sequencing steps to make the monster

 Watch a YouTube tutorial to see the monster app in action. How would you use this app in therapy? Let me know in the comments!

 

Target Following Directions and Prepositions with Silly Monsters

Have your students make their own monster puppets with the FREE monster puppet printables in my TPT store. Use popsicle sticks (Amazon affiliate links included) and tape to create fun monster therapy materials.

You can work on following directions and using prepositions with your monster puppets. 

With your monster puppets, you can also work on has/have and “who” questions. Place the monsters on the table and put mini objects next to the monsters. Students can explain what each monster has with a grammatically correct sentences.

Ask your students “Who has ____?” or give clues about an item and have your students identify “who” has the item. 

 

Reinforcer Games For Mixed Groups

When I have a group working on different goals, one way I keep the students engaged is by having a generic game to play in between turns.

If you want to use a monster theme in your mixed group, then you can use this roll and color monster game that is a FREE printable in my store. You just print the sheets and grab a die and the stimulus items your students need to work on in speech therapy. Whatever number the student rolls on the die is how many monsters they get to color. Whoever colors all of their monsters first wins!

Learning Resources has a Twist and Match Monsters game that is great to use as a reinforcer for any goal. You can have some fun describing the monsters as you play, too.

Make Monster Paper Bag Puppets

I saw this paper bag monster puppet idea on I Heart Crafty Things. I thought it would be perfect for my younger students. During the craft you can work on requesting, commenting and the basic concept “on.” Then, your students can use the puppets to work on pretend play, following directions, doing verb actions and more!

You just need paper bags (I found color bags on Amazon), construction paper, scissors, and glue. If you want to use googly eyes, Dollar Tree has packages or you can use these eye stickers that I found on Amazon.

Teach Word Opposites and Adjectives

Work on teaching adjectives with the feed the monster activity. Students can work on describing the items by adjectives, as well as work on verb tenses.

To get some movement going in your therapy room, tape the word opposite monsters around your room. Then, students use the checklist to find the word opposites that the monsters are chomping on. These activities will help your wiggly students stay focused. See the picture below for an example of this word opposite activity! It is all part of my Monster Push-In Language Lesson Plan Guides for K-2 students.

Have your students work on initiating communication, describing, and practicing sequencing with this design a monster file folder activity. Kids will feel motivated to participate knowing that they get some say in what the monster will look like. Need these materials for your K-2 caseload? Grab them in my TPT store. There are a lot more tools included, such as a Google Slides presentation, a newsletter home to parents, book recommendations, YouTube video links, and more!

Need More Monster Speech Therapy Ideas?

In this blog post, I shared some other monster speech therapy ideas you can use with your students. My students especially loved making their own monsters with play dough!

What Monster Speech Therapy Materials Do You Use?

Do you have a fave monster speech therapy material you love to use with your students? I would love to know about it! You know I am all about adding new materials to my speech therapy stash. Let me know your favorite material in the comments.