Toy Trains Speech Therapy – 10 tips for how to use

Toy Trains Speech Therapy – 10 tips for how to use

Young children always seem more likely than not to have a fascination with toy train sets. Maybe Thomas the Tank Engine/Thomas the Train has something to do with it?! They love building train sets and making the trains go around the railroad tracks. You can capitalize on this interest by having your students build 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 train sets below, so keep reading to get all of my suggestions!

Where Can I Buy a Toy Train Set for My Speech Room?

 

There are a few different toy train sets available online. One of them is even a Melissa and Doug set, which you know is going to be really well made and high quality! 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.

Melissa and Doug Take a Long Railroad (This one is great for SLPs who don’t want to assemble a railroad.)

On Track USA Figure 8 Wooden Train Set

Cute Stones Wooden Train Set

Toy Train speech therapy ideas for play-based therapy.

Play-Based Speech Therapy Information

If you are wondering about how to implement play-based therapy in your sessions, check out this blog post for some tips.

Often times in my sessions, I will do a mix of direct structured therapy using a toy and then will allow time for a natural play-based activity time with the toy. This helps me get those direct trials in for certain goals and then allows me to take the child’s lead with the natural play-based time. 

Toy trains are a favorite toy for many of my students, so planning therapy around motivating toys keeps students engaged in therapy. Check out 10 ways you can use a toy train set in therapy.

How to use toy trains in speech therapy

10 Ways to Use a Toy Train in Speech Therapy

10 ways to use a toy train set in speech therapy

1. Teach cause and effect by knocking the train off the track, crashing into something, stopping all of the sudden, letting go of the train to go down the hill, etc. Work on comments about what happened, joint attention, and requests to do it again.

2. Work on sequencing with first, next, and last, or tell a story with the child’s actions and then work on re-telling the sequence. Sequence the steps for a train picking up and dropping off the passengers.

3. Have the students make deliveries with the train. The students describe the items they delivered by attributes. You can also give clues to work on inferencing.

4. Work on mean length utterance and grammar structures for plural tense, present progressive, third person singular, past tense, adjectives, and prepositional phrases.

5. Work on following directions with basic concepts and prepositions. You can teach basic concepts of up/down when going up a hill on the track. Other basic concepts you can target are around, on/off, and over/under while the child has the train go over or under a bridge.

6. Use the train to work on slow/fast speech for fluency. Have the train get stuck to demonstrate blocks with stuttering.

7. Use the train to help increase articulation or phonology productions. Lay the train sideways and put cotton balls above the train as “smoke” for each production. Take the cotton balls off one by one for more productions.

8. Build a train track. Place mini trinkets or flashcards along the track. Have the train stop at each item to practice, answer a wh- question, describe, use in a sentence, etc.

9. Follow the group’s plan and flexibility with changing the social routine or play routine. One person is the conductor, and all the cabs have to follow the head train.

10. Facilitate pretend play for getting on a train, paying for a ticket, collecting the tickets, and arriving at the destination.

If you want all these ideas handy as you implement play-based therapy, you can add my toy companion cheat sheets for 18 different toys to use in therapy. There is a Spanish and English version. Many SLPs use the resource in therapy to coach staff and parents how to work on skills while playing with toys.

Easy ideas for using a toy train in speech therapy for the busy SLP

How Do You Use a Toy Train Set in Speech Therapy?

 

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

 

More Toy Speech Therapy Idea Blog Posts

Using toys in speech therapy can be a great way to plan for different goals and help keep your students engaged. Here are more blog posts on how you can use different toys to target lots of goals in therapy:

How to Use a Farm Toy in Speech Therapy

10 Ways to Use Play Food in Speech Therapy

10 Ways to Use a Pet Vet Hospital in Speech Therapy

Engaging Turkey Videos to Use in Speech Therapy

Engaging Turkey Videos to Use in Speech Therapy

If you are planning some themed therapy for the month of November, you can use a turkey-theme to cover a lot of goals. Traditionally, at a Thanksgiving meal, many families eat turkey as the main course, so you can discuss turkey as part of a meal.

Or, you can highlight turkeys in your therapy sessions to discuss a type of animal, specifically a farm animal with your students. One of the most versatile things to cover is a farm theme. You can highlight different animals each week to work on the category group of farm animals, but in that sub-category, you can also cover a lot of speech and language goals talking about individual farm animals. If you need digital therapy resources for a farm theme, I have a blog post filled with great recommendations you can read HERE.

When discussing turkey’s you can find reading passages about turkeys to work on the main idea, comprehension questions, tier II vocabulary, summarizing, and explaining details with grammatically correct sentences. To read about turkey ideas to cover those goals, head to this BLOG POST

Whether you are in-person or doing teletherapy, you can use turkey videos to help frame your therapy sessions with engaging content. In this blog post, I will be sharing some of my favorite turkey videos you can use in speech therapy.

Turkey Videos to Work on Main Idea and Details.

You can work on main idea and details about fun turkey facts using this video from Scishowkids. The videos aren’t too long in length, so you can use them in a 20-30 minute session. Plus, you can also work tier II vocabulary with this video.

Homeschool Pop also has two great videos sharing about turkey facts. 

Turkey Videos for Speech Therapy to use in teletherapy

Use Kami Chrome Extension to Write on Worksheets While Using Videos

You can use these videos while filling out a graphic organizer for Turkey’s can, turkey’s are, and turkey’s have. If you need a graphic organizer to fill out about the turkey fact details for teletherapy, you can use the Kami Chrome Extension to add text boxes. Here is a YouTube video tutorial on how to add text boxes in Kami. You can put the graphic organizer on one side of the screen and the YouTube browser on the other side. Then, just screen share your entire screen. If you need a graphic organizer, this one is included in my Turkey Push-In Language Lesson Plan Guides.

turkey videos for speech therapy

Turkey YouTube Book Read Aloud Videos

I usually prefer to read the actual book out loud to my students over a YouTube book read aloud, when doing teletherapy sessions, it can sometimes be hard for all the students to see my book over the screen. So, I will use YouTube read aloud in my sessions, so the kids can see the pages while I read the story.

All you need to do is have the YouTube video on mute so that you can read the pages. I try to find a book read aloud that shows the pages clearly so that I can read the lines from the story. These book read alouds allow we to see all the words on the page.

Other ways to use books are by screen sharing while projecting a book from Kindle Unlimited, Vooks, or using Epic.

If you are looking for a book that discusses Thanksgiving meals, this book Duck for Turkey Day by Jacqueline Jules is a great way to discuss that each family may pick a different type of meat or food item for their main course, but the reason for gathering as a family is the same. It showcases how a Vietnamese family gathers for Thanksgiving and that although families may eat different foods at Thanksgiving, they are all gathering to be thankful for family and friends.

Turkey Videos for speech therapy to use with movement breaks

Have Movement Break Videos with a Turkey Theme!

If you work with younger students that need movement breaks in a session, you can use these fun turkey-themed songs. When I do whole class lessons on the SMARTboard, I would often pull up one of these videos when kids were struggling to pay attention.

You can also work on verb actions, initiating requesting for the song, and discussing if they liked the song.

Some songs you can even work on left or right and other basic concepts.

What movement breaks do you like using? Share in the comments!

 

Use Google Slides to Organize Your Turkey Videos

One way you can keep all your favorite videos organized is by adding them to a Google Slide or PowerPoint. I find that adding them to Google Slides are easier for sharing with educators or families. Once you add in all the video links, you can easily navigate to the ones you need for the lesson.

Once you have it organized, you can use it year after year with your groups. If you need all of these videos in an organized Google Slides presentation, grab my turkey push-in lesson plan guide. It comes with everything ready to go.

You can see how you can organize your videos in the video below. 

What turkey videos have you found to be helpful for your caseload? I would love to add them to my stash of materials! Share in the comments.

Digital Monster Activities for Teletherapy

Digital Monster Activities for Teletherapy

During the month of October, you can plan a monster theme to go along with the Halloween festivities. Monsters can be a great theme to use because they can be silly and colorful. You can incorporate a lot of practice with adjectives for colors, numbers, size, textures and how a monster’s body part looks like (i.e. has pointy ears, furry bodies, one eye.)

There are a lot of great digital monster activities that I have found for my caseload and I wanted to share. Most of these activities I have been using with my k-3 students. Even my students with moderate to severe disabilities LOVED them, especially the green screen monster activity.

Before using a monster theme in therapy, it’s always good to reach out to parents and make sure they are comfortable with their child talking about monsters. Now, let’s talk about monsters, shall we?

Digital Monster Activities Using Apps

Digital Monster Activities to use with your students in teletherapy to increase engagement.

When it comes to using apps in speech therapy, I am kinda picky. The app has to be versatile, colorful, and hit a lot of different skills. Sago Mini apps always deliver for my Prek-3rd grade students. With this monster app you can work on verb actions, requesting, answering “what” questions, describing the monster, and talking about what he ate. I also love the Sago Mini Farm app that I share in this blog post for digital farm activities.

Teach Your Monster to Read is a FREE app that works on teaching phonics to kids. You could definitely use it to incorporate phonological awareness with your articulation and phonology students.

If you own an OSMO, you can use the OSMO Monster app to have an interactive experience with Mo the monster. You will asked to draw pictures and they come alive on the screen. You can talk about the noun-functions of the items. What is even cooler is that it is a new experience every time you use the app! Need more OSMO tips, head to this BLOG Post with all the details.

Highlights Monster’s Day is a FREE app that goes through the day of a monster. This is a great app for working on sequencing.

Sesame Street also has some fun free games with cookie monster. This cookie monster food truck game can be great for sequencing and building vocabulary. 

Organize Your Monster Activities with Google Slides

When I plan for my virtual speech therapy sessions, I like to have all my digital materials in one place if I can help it.

Using Google Slides helps me build digital lessons by allowing me to add slides, link YouTube videos or websites, and have interactive activities such as the design a monster activity in the picture below.

You can add animations to your Google Slides that will appear when you have it in “present” mode. In “edit” mode, you can drag and move images in the Google Slide.

Another way to adapt Google Slides is to screen record using screencastify and create language lessons of you talking about the different slides. You can send those home to parents to watch with their children. Plus, you can assign Google Slides to students in Google Classroom.

This monster Google Slide presentation is part of the monster language lesson plan guides for K-2 that can be used for small groups, individual and push-in lessons. I have been using the Google Slides and the digital parent newsletter virtually for LOTS of my sessions. Just click one of the pictures to have this ready to go resource in your hands within minutes!

Digital monster activities for speech therapy

Pink Cat Games with Monsters

If you are looking for affordable digital games that you can adapt for the different goals on your caseload, I highly recommend checking out Pink Cat Games

This website has a lot of fun monster games. You can try the dress the monster game for free. With this web-based app program, you can customize questions to fit the goals of your students while playing their ready to go games.

The best part of this website is that you can search for skills and find questions that have already been created by other educators. This is a yearly subscription of $39, but you are able to try the dress the monster game for free.

digital monster activities for speech therapy that are great for younger students.
digital monster activities for speech therapy that are great for younger students.

Monster Song YouTube Videos

Digital Monster activities using YouTube videos

When I go into the classroom to do my whole class lessons, I love having some brain breaks and songs to use at the carpet time to help keep my student’s focus.

You can use these videos on a Smartboard or virtually to help break up a session. Sometimes our students need to get up and move a little bit. A lot of songs have verb actions that you can target while dancing to the song. If you need more tips on how to setup a whole class lesson, head to this blog post.

One of my SLP ninja organizational tips is to put all of the YouTube video songs I may want to use on a Google Slide. This way, all the songs are in one place. You can ask your students what song they want to make a request or just know you have options week to week. If you need more Google Slide tips, check out my tutorial on YouTube.

Free Monster Green Screen Activity

digital monster activities for teletherapy using a green screen.
digital monster activities for teletherapy using a green screen.

Have you seen this FREE Whack a Monster Green Screen activity from GoGo Speech? Head to her YouTube video to grab this free activity. The link will be in the video description.

You upload each of the JPG as a video background in Zoom and then you can interchange the backgrounds while you “pop,” “smack,” or tell the monsters to “go away.”

 

I used this lesson last week and I had so many giggles and spontaneous language from my K-3 students with Autism and intellectual disabilities. Before using this lesson, there were sessions that fell flat. This activity was very engaging for my students and I had fun getting into it as well. Highly recommend!

 

Monster Ideas for Speech Therapy

If you are looking for toys and materials for using a monster theme, check out this blog post. For those SLPs that are sensory bin fans, this monster sensory bin is quite the crowd pleaser!

 What digital monster activities have you been using in therapy? Let me know in the comments or tag me on social media @thedabblingspeechie

Digital Farm Activities for Your Speech Students

Digital Farm Activities for Your Speech Students

Whether you are doing therapy in-person or via teletherapy, having engaging lessons for your students with moderate to severe disabilities can be challenging. This blog post is filled with digital farm activities you can use in your therapy sessions to increase engagement with your students.

I am all about adapting materials to cover a lot of goals and use across ages. These materials can definitely be used with your mild-moderate language students too. Plus, these digital materials can be used for teletherapy, on the iPad in small groups or part of a whole class lesson on the Smartboard.

The BEST Farm App to target Basic Concepts and Language Targets

If you have students working on basic concepts, yes/no questions, vocabulary goals and grammar markers, the Sago Mini Farm app is the BEST.

I personally love this app because there are a lot of opportunities to work on basic concept pairs like on/off, up/down, in/out, etc.

Their apps are very affordable (only $3.99) and I find that the app provides a lot of fun little features, so you can make the app engaging for more than one session.

If you are wanting to use this app in teletherapy, you can screen mirror your iPad and use it across the computer. This app has saved me in my individual sessions to keep attention because there are a lot of different picture scenes that can be manipulative in the app that I think you LOVE it.

You could even adapt this app to work on storytelling with the animals on the farm.

digital farm animal activities to use in speech therapy

Digital Farm Activities Using YouTube Videos

There are a lot of fun digital farm YouTube videos that you can make interactive with your students.

You can use these videos on a Smartboard for push-in therapy, during teletherapy or in small groups.

To make the video more interactive, you can pause it to have students reply verbally.

When your students need a break after doing a hard task or after reading the book, this is a fun way to keep your students engaged with the farm-themed lesson.

The farmyard guessing game sketches out the farm animal, which you can work on “what” questions, and the CORE vocabulary “look” and “wait” as you anticipate what farm animal is being drawn.

Digital Farm Activities Using Google Slides

When you have the Google Slide open in edit mode, you can move and drag pictures. It has been easy to work on teaching CORE vocabulary for “more” while putting animals on the farm. If you need activities to work on teaching more using Google Slides, this Farm scene is in that resource. 

If you are looking for digital farm materials that you can use for virtual push-in sessions and small groups, I suggest using Google Slides.

Google Slides are very similar to PowerPoint, but you can share them with staff/parents, and assign them in Google Classroom.

I like using them to put all my digital materials for a theme in one place. I will insert farm-themed book read alouds, YouTube videos, or insert links to Boom Cards or PDF resources. This way you can easily find the material you need without having tons of tabs open.

You can create picture scenes to work on sentence formation, answering wh-questions, and building vocabulary skills with farm words. One website I use to find real photos that is FREE is Pixabay.

 

 

YouTube has a lot of great videos about a farm theme that you can embed into your Google Slides. You can insert songs, book read alouds, and non-fiction videos to teach your students about the farm theme. You can use this for your sessions, or assign in Google Classroom for parents to watch with their children throughout the week.

Having time to create Google Slides isn’t always possible, so if you need a farm Google Slide presentation, my farm language lesson plan guide has one all ready to go for you!

You can then repurpose those lessons for whole class or individual sessions. You will definitely feel less stressed knowing that all of your digital materials are in one place. You can even add hyperlinks to your favorite Boom Cards. If you upload your farm-themed static PDFs into your Google Drive, you can also link those to your Google Slide Presentation to have everything organized. If you need templates to create speech folders or group activities, check out these pre-made ones that make planning easier!

Boom Learning Activities with a Farm Theme

If you love using Boom Cards™ with your students, I found a few FREE decks that have been helpful for my virtual speech therapy sessions:

Farm Animal Who Am I?

Flashlight I Spy Farm

Vocabulary Farm Animals

Add Farm Giphys to Your Google Slides

If you want to create your own Google Slide materials, check out this YouTube video tutorial for how to add fun farm giphys into your slides. You can search farm animals and put them in slides to make it look like a real movie. It will increase engagement a lot, I promise!!

Farm Activities and Toys to Use in Speech Therapy

If you love using books, toys, and printables in your therapy sessions, check out these other farm-themed blog posts that are filled with ideas for books and toys you can use in therapy. Just click the photos below to head to the blog posts. If you need some new ways to use farm toys in therapy, check out this blog post

What digital farm activities have you found to be helpful for your caseload? I would love to add them to my stash of materials! Share in the comments. 

Shared Book Reading Strategies to Build Language

Shared Book Reading Strategies to Build Language

When it comes to planning language therapy, school-based SLPs do not have a lot of time to prep and make materials.

Using shared book reading strategies in speech therapy can be an effective way to plan lessons quickly and implement language intervention techniques that work.

Plus, you can also implement a parent or staff coaching model by showing support staff how to implement shared book reading strategies during classroom instruction. This can help with further generalization of language skills. If you need more information about different collaborative services, check out this BLOG POST.

What Are Shared Book Reading Strategies?

Shared book reading strategies are a set of techniques that adults can use while reading a story to increase a child’s engagement with the story. The goal of using structured interactive book reading techniques is to help enhance the child’s language and literacy skills.

Instead of just reading the book aloud to the child, the adult is uses shared book reading strategies to help the child learn new vocabulary, answer questions about the story, and draw connections with the characters and events.

Using interactive book reading strategies helps struggling readers have support to participate in enjoying the story and it allows children to access books that they may not be able to read on their own.

As speech pathologists, we see students with language impairments on our caseloads. The research shows that when our students oral language improves, their reading comprehension will improve as well!

In fact, there is research that found when language interventions focus on a broad set of oral language skills such as vocabulary, grammar, syntax, narrative skills, and inferencing are linked to showing effective outcomes for student’s reading comprehension.

We can work on all those broad oral language skills using books.

 

shared book reading strategies in speech therapy to build language skills and increase engagement.

Benefits of Shared Book Reading Strategies in Speech Therapy

shared book reading strategies speech therapy ideas to increase language skills

First off, I will just say that if you do not have a ton of time to plan therapy, using books to guide instruction is the way to go! It will save you time planning therapy without losing the effectiveness of the intervention.

Secondly, when you use shared book reading strategies you organically increase student engagement. They are more actively participating during the story, they begin to predict the events in the story, learn that the pictures can provide clues about the story and characters, and it reduces the cognitive demands for processing language.

Using books can be an easy way to incorporate opportunities to work on lots of different skills such as categories, tier II vocabulary, wh-questions, grammar concepts, perspective-taking, and story retell.

And, our students have to use literature in the classroom every day, so if we can enhance their language and ability to follow the events of a story, they will generalize those skills into the classroom setting better.

There is research that shows that when using shared book reading strategies, students learn 1.22 more words on average than when interactive book strategies aren’t used.

shared book reading strategies speech therapy ideas to increase language skills

Types of Shared Book Reading Strategies to Use in Speech Therapy

Before reading the book, you can discuss the title. Have students make predictions about why you chose the book or what they think the story will be about based on the title and picture of the book.

You can also discuss key vocabulary before reading the book to help expose them to concepts or vocabulary they may not have heard before to help with comprehension.

Another easy strategy is to point to the vocabulary in the pictures of the story and provide clear, child-friendly definitions.

Then, during extension activities, you can have the child act out those words and make connections with those target vocabulary words.

Another strategy to build vocabulary is to label pictures in the book, describing the characters while pointing to the pictures or text, and asking questions related to the story.

After reading the book, you can discuss the book with your students. This is when you can ask them to make personal connections with a story. For example, with the book, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day, you can ask your students to reflect on a day that wasn’t great. This can be an opportunity to compare/contrast their horrible day to Alexander’s.

This increases the opportunity for students to hear and use the targeted vocabulary from the story.

 

Often times in therapy we may use a book 1-2 times, but with shared book reading, they encourage repeatedly reading stories because it allows students to ask more questions and can talk more about the content as they become more familiar with the story elements.

One way you can increase opportunities for story retell, practicing vocabulary or using verbs from the story is to plan extension activities using toys, sensory bins, visual story maps, etc. I love using my Penguin senosry bin with the book, Tacky the Penguin.

Materials to Help You Implement Shared Book Reading

For all of my whole class and small group therapy sessions, I always use a book to plan my therapy.

I use the shared book reading strategies while I read the book to the group. Then, we discuss the book or review the vocabulary as a group. To keep students engaged, we will break up into group stations in which I have extension activities that align with the book. This allows we to review the vocabulary and verbs from the story.

In all of my push-in unit, I include a Google Slide, a parent newsletter with book suggestions and activities that cover the theme. 

There are also 3-5 activities included for small group. This allows me to use a theme such as the farm, and pick different farm books to use with the students. I can interchange the books in the theme and always have extension activities that align with the vocabulary.

If you need activities to implement shared book reading, I have LOTS of themes. Here is bundle 1 and bundle 2. Check out some of the units and how I use books to facilitate the extension lessons.

Free Story Element Visual Supports

While you read the book, you can work on identifying the story elements with these free story elements visuals. You can put them on popsicle sticks and give each student in the group a couple of story elements to listen for in the book. If you need more ideas with popsicles, head to this BLOG POST. Just click the pink button below to grab your free visuals.

Book Recommendations to Use in Speech Therapy

If you need help with finding books to use in your speech therapy sessions, check out these blog posts:

Diverse Children Books

Summer Books for Speech Therapy

January Read Aloud Books

Top Ten Books for Speech Therapy

Wordless Picture Books for Speech Therapy

Books You Need in Your Speech Library

Beyond the Book- Maya’s Book Nook provides questions, vocabulary to target, and a post-activity to do!

Diverse Books for Speech Therapy by Sweet Southern Speech

Shared Book Reading speech therapy strategies to help increase engagement and build language skills.