4 Squirrel Toys You Need for Speech Therapy

4 Squirrel Toys You Need for Speech Therapy

You are seriously missing out if you still need to plan a squirrel theme for your elementary caseload. Squirrels are the funniest creatures, and kids love talking about them.

This theme allows you to ditch your worksheets and easily target speech and language goals with toys and props. This blog post will teach you about four squirrel toys for speech therapy.

This blog post contains Amazon affiliate links which means when you use the link to purchase an item, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Squirrel Toys Speech Therapy Must-Haves

 Squirrel toy props for your speech therapy sessions that will increase engagement with your students!

Not only is the game Sneaky Snacky Squirrel for targeting speech sound goals, but it also has fabulous game pieces to add to sensory bins. In particular, this game is excellent for targeting s-blends. You can see all my favorite games for s-blends HERE.

The game itself provides opportunities for teaching colors, turn-taking, functional communication, commenting, and verb actions.

Plus, you can use the acorns to teach more, less, all, none, and for pretend play with squirrel figurines.

If you need a toy companion cheat sheet for this game, head to my store to snag the resource that gives you 45 cheat sheets for your most used toys and games.

Want to see how you can use a toy cheat sheet for your therapy groups? Try the bubbles toy cheat sheet for free in this blog post

Squirrel Dog Toys for Teaching Language Skills

One of my go-to places to find themed props is the dog section in stores or on Amazon.

There are always seasonal toys that can be used for your pretend play activities. Hands down, one of my favorite finds is the squirrel log dog toy.

You can target basic concepts, verb actions, answer yes/no questions, and grammar concepts, and hide other items inside the log. Put your acorns inside from sneaky snacky squirrel to work on plurals grammar markers, verbs (i.e., gather, find, carry, collect), and wh-questions.

For more ideas on where to find themed props, head to this blog post.

Squirrel toys speech therapy must-haves that will bring your sessions to life!

Join the Themed Therapy SLP Membership

If you are on the struggle bus with planning themed therapy for your Prek-5th grade caseload, let me take that off your plate!

You can use various printable and digital materials to plan a themed therapy unit without stress. When you join the annual membership, you can access over 24 themed units at once, like the squirrel theme!

Get the support you need to serve your students well.

Squirrel toys speech therapy must-haves that will bring your sessions to life!
Squirrel toys speech therapy must-haves that will bring your sessions to life!
Squirrel toys speech therapy must-haves that will bring your sessions to life!
Squirrel toys speech therapy must-haves that will bring your sessions to life!

Squirrel Figurines for Pretend Play and Sensory Bins

Squirrel toys speech therapy must-haves that will bring your sessions to life!

Another unexpected place to find mini-themed figurines is cake decorating store sections. I found these squirrel figurines on Amazon and knew they would be perfect for a sensory bin and play sets. If you own a treehouse toy or play house, check out how to make a squirrel takeover for play-based speech therapy in this blog post.

Squirrel Toy Speech Therapy Must-Have for High Trials

When working on speech sound goals, you always need props or activities that help make practice trials more fun. Use this squirrel ball popper to hit acorns with points you draw on the whiteboard. You can have students earn the balls after practicing their words several times. Set the flashcards for your language goals and have students try to hit a flashcard to practice.

Squirrel toys speech therapy must-haves that will bring your sessions to life!

What Squirrel Toys Have You Found for Your Caseload?

Squirrel toys speech therapy must-haves that will bring your sessions to life!

Have you found any fun squirrel toys you use with your elementary caseload? If so, share your finds in the comments of the blog post. For more squirrel lesson plan ideas, head to this blog post.

Squirrel Play-Based Speech Therapy Idea!

Squirrel Play-Based Speech Therapy Idea!

One of the MOST fun themes ever includes squirrels! During the fall season, your students will see squirrels scampering about, darting, and scurrying around outside anywhere there are trees or plants.

They are some of the silliest creatures to watch, so why not incorporate squirrels into your play-based speech therapy sessions?

I want to share a fun squirrel play-based speech therapy activity that you can pair with your favorite squirrel book!

Many of my sessions are structured with a book and then a play-based activity to allow for direct teaching, incorporating literacy, and allowing the child to explore concepts while playing.

You will find Amazon affiliate links for your convenience in this blog post. When you use these links, I earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

What You Need For The Squirrel Play-Based Speech Therapy Activity

Change things up in  your traditional speech therapy sessions by using this squirrel play-based speech therapy activity!

To have your squirrel take over, you need any toy set, but the one that would be best is the treehouse toy set from Fisher-Price. You can also use this fun treehouse from Calico Critters or Li’l Woodzeez

You need these mini squirrel figurines, and if you want verb and vocabulary flashcards related to squirrels, you can find those in the Themed Therapy SLP membership. The squirrel theme is part of the September month, but when you get an annual subscription, you have access to all the themes throughout the year, so you can pick the theme you need for your caseload!

Goals to Target with the Squirrel Play Therapy Activity

You can hide different verb and vocabulary flashcards throughout the play set when doing your squirrel takeaway.

Have your squirrels gather all the cards that are hidden around the set. As your student’s squirrels find cards, you can target speech and language goals.

You can also work on verb actions for the squirrels, target pretend play schemes such as preparing for winter, or work on basic concepts with the squirrels.

With your students working on speech sounds, give them words to practice related to squirrels that have their sounds. Or, have some sound-loaded phrases to use while playing.

Change things up in  your traditional speech therapy sessions by using this squirrel play-based speech therapy activity!

For example, if you are working on s-blends, you can naturally target scamper, scurry, squirrel or snack. For students working on /l/, you can have them say “look” every time they find a squirrel or flashcard.

Or, if the squirrels are searching for acorns and nuts, they can “munch” or “chew.”

How would you use this squirrel-themed play-based speech therapy activity to cover goals on your caseload?

Need more Squirrel Speech Therapy Ideas?

Change things up in  your traditional speech therapy sessions by using this squirrel play-based speech therapy activity!

If you are sold on using a squirrel theme with your entire caseload, you need to check out this blog post for more ideas!

This is a very underrated theme because every time I use it, kids LOVE it. To help you rock a squirrel theme longer than a week, check out this squirrel language lesson plan guide in my store!

You can also find a sneaky snacky squirrel toy cheat sheet in this resource

Leaves Preschool Activities – Hands on Ideas for SLPs

Leaves Preschool Activities – Hands on Ideas for SLPs

Working with preschool-aged students who need some engaging leaves preschool activities?

Well, you came to the right blog post!

When working with the younger crew, we want to find ways to spark their curiosity, and most often, that means ditching the traditional drill tasks and pulling out hands-on activities.

DIY Falling Leaves Hands-On Activity

Easy leaves preschool activities to use in your play-based speech therapy sessions!

To work on labeling the colors of the trees and the essential concept word pair on and off, make this DIY falling leaves hands-on activity. Amazon affiliate links are provided for your convenience.

You need the following supplies:

Colored cardstock
Jumbo popsicle sticks
Velcro dots
Fall colored pom pom balls
Pincher tool (optional)
Styrofoam square (get from packaging, or you can order some here.)

Your students can work on putting leaves on and taking them off and target the verbs put, fall, drop, pick, and gather. Naturally, use this to get high trials by having your students practice their speech targets for each pom pom ball they put on or take off the tree.

How would you use this DIY leaves activity? Share in the comments of the blog post.

Leaves Preschool Activities for Pretend Play

You can create a dramatic play activity for kids to pretend to pick up fallen leaves off the ground. Buy fake leaves, a basket or container, and a plastic rake. Your students can work on sequencing the steps for raking the leaves, targeted verbs, vocabulary, and answering “who” questions. For example, you can have students take turns raking leaves and ask, “Who has the rake?” 

Leaves preschool activities that will keep your students engaged during your speech therapy sessions.
Leaves preschool activities that will keep your students engaged during your speech therapy sessions.

Here is a list of other variations to do with the leaf raking activity:

 

  • Have a race to see how long it takes to rake the leaves
  • Throw some leaves in the air and see how many they can catch with a basket. The number of leaves is the number of words the child has to practice.
  • Teach students vocabulary such as collect, toss, pile, pick, dump, fall, gather, carry, drag, scoop
  • Add painter’s tape or a blanket on the ground. Have your students try to rake the leaves onto the blanket. When all the leaves are on the blanket, they can try to fold the blanket and then dump the leaves into a container. You can problem solve if leaves fall out or if the blanket is too big, how to ask for help. 

Movement Activity With Leaves

Cut up colored construction paper into the form of a leaf. You can put different numbers, directions, verbs, or any speech or language target. Hide the leaves around your room. Tell your students that leaves have fallen off the tree around your room. Carry a container while students find the leaves. You can work on basic concept clues, and then when they see the leaf, they can practice their speech sound the number on the leaf.

What Leaves Preschool Activities Do You Use With Your Students?

If you have any fun leaves preschool activities you do in your speech therapy sessions, share them in the comments. If you need more fall-themed therapy ideas, check out these blog posts:

Preschool Leaf Lesson Plan for Co-Teaching

Engaging Fall Themed Speech and Language Activities

Fall Sensory Bin Ideas to Make Therapy Fun!

10 Fall Themed Sensory Bin Fillers

Cause and Effect Toys For Play Therapy

Cause and Effect Toys For Play Therapy

Cause and effect toys teach children that their actions can cause something to happen. When a child blows in a bubble wand, bubbles fly out; when a child pushes a car into a tower of blocks, it falls.

Using cause and effect toys in speech therapy can help your students build language. Still, it can also increase attention span, create curiosity, and improve joint attention skills. Today, I am going to share some of my favorite cause and effect toys you can use to help increase engagement while also working on speech and language goals!

What Toys Do You Have In Your Therapy Stash?

Some of the BEST cause and effect toys are the ones that you already have in your speech therapy material stash. A set of blocks and anything to knock them down work wonders! Amazon affiliate links are included for your convenience.

I found these wooden blocks at the Dollar tree and grabbed some of my cars. While stacking the blocks, you can work on “up, more, exclamations (i.e., oh, yay) and stack.”

Stacking cups, blocks, or boxes are also versatile for teaching tall/short, hiding things under, and using pretend play bowls. This set from Brilliant Basics Stack and Roll Cups is under $10 and can be stacked or put together as a ball to roll.

For a set of stacking boxes, Melissa and Doug have a set under $15, but these Babies Dinosaur Stacking Blocks have openings to put dinosaurs. You work on stacking, up/down, and in/out.

Cause and effect toys can improve language, executive functioning, and joint attention. Not to mention using cause and effect toys are super fun for children.

Play Therapy Cheat Sheets

Check out the toy companion cheat sheets if you serve students with various goals and want to start using ONE toy to cover many target areas. There are toy companions for stacking cups, cars, and over 30 types of toys and games (new toy companion cheat sheets are added to the resource as you send in requests.)

Cause and Effect Toys That Provide a Surprise

Toys that have a surprise are great for improving joint attention. Kids love the anticipation of finding what’s inside. You can also be super animated with your facial expressions to share in the “surprise” and excitement.

For SLPs on a budget, grabbing some plastic eggs at the Dollar Tree or Walmart during the Easter holiday is excellent for hiding mini items or pictures inside. You can read here are you can use those eggs with a chicken theme.

You also can use plastic cups to hide items underneath. If you are looking for things to add to a sensory bin, check out the toys from Learning Resources. The Surprise Party presents are great for a birthday theme. They also have other versions, such as acornspicnic baskets, or farm animals.

Need a toy companion for these surprise party boxes? They are included in the toy companion cheat sheet guides!

Toys that Encourage Children to Request More of an Action

Cause and effect toys can improve language, executive functioning, and joint attention. Not to mention using cause and effect toys are super fun for children.

When you use cause and effect toys that spark your student’s curiosity to want to do it again, you have some golden opportunities to work on communication!

And, if they need the item or help from you to watch that action happen, you can work on functional communication such as help, want, go, more, or gestures to signal to make that action happen again.

My two favorite toys for sparking some curiosity are ball poppers and wind-up toys (part of the toy companion cheat sheets.)

You can work on using verbal routines (i.e., ready, set, go), target CORE vocabulary (i.e., go, again, more, turn), turn-taking, joint attention, and social communication (i.e., funny, help me.)

What are Your Favorite Toys to Work on Cause and Effect?

What toys do you use to work on cause and effect in speech therapy? Your recommendations for toys are always the best. Share in the comments so other SLPs can find toys that will help plan their next speech therapy session.

If you need more toy and play therapy ideas, you can always search “toys” in the search bar or check out blog posts HERE

Cause and effect toys can improve language, executive functioning, and joint attention. Not to mention using cause and effect toys are super fun for children.
Play Themes for Summer

Play Themes for Summer

When I started using themes to guide my lesson planning, I liked to consider the current seasons. Using a season as a theme is relatable to all of our students. This makes it easy to build in high-interest and highly relevant activities which can be used for multiple speech goals.

Summer is always a fun theme to use because it means a lot of fun indoor and outdoor play activities. This blog is all about great summer play themes you can use with your ESY students, private students, or even for some home carryover activities. Amazon affiliate links are provided in this blog post for your convenience. I earn a small commission when you purchase something with my link with no additional cost to you.

Pretend Play Themes for the Summer Season

Need some play-based speech therapy ideas with a summer theme? Check out these fun summer play themes you can do during ESY or with private clients.

During the summer season, your students may be going to the beach with their family and friends. The beach is the perfect place to incorporate play! You can easily target those semantic and vocabulary skills by categorizing any beach related words. Make lists of ocean animals, beach snacks, beach items, and ocean activities. Pretend to get ready to go to the beach and sequence the steps. This is a fun, functional way to work on those sequence words and verbs. You can even target language comprehension by giving your students directions on how to get ready for the beach with some basic concepts.

Providing guidance on how to make a sensory bin at the beach to your families is a great carry over activity to support your students’ generalization. Ask your families to simply bring a bin to the beach. They can fill it with sand, water, any shells they collect, or toys they bring along. Then prompt them to target that student’s language goals.

If you want to make the ocean sensory bin pictured above, here is what you will need:

Tasty and Fun Summer Play Themes

S’mores, ice cream, and lemonade! Yum! These three themes are always super fun and engaging for my students because who doesn’t love ice cream and s’mores? You can develop your students’ pretend play skills by pretending you’re going to the ice cream shop, camping, or selling lemonade at a stand.

Plus, you can work on so many social communication skills while you are eating your summer treats. Specifically, you can work on initiating requests for ingredients and flavors, make comments on what you like and don’t like, and work on turn taking/cooperative play.

 

Need some play-based speech therapy ideas with a summer theme? Check out these fun summer play themes you can do during ESY or with private clients.

For ideas on how to use an ice cream toy set, head to this blog post! It’s full of ideas on how to incorporate an ice cream toy set into speech therapy. Using cloud dough or play dough is also a good for ice cream related pretend play.

There are tons of ways to use a camping and s’mores play themes into speech therapy. If you’re not sure how to get started check out my previous blog post all about camping speech therapy activities.

Lemonade Theme Therapy Ideas

Need some play-based speech therapy ideas with a summer theme? Check out these fun summer play themes you can do during ESY or with private clients.

Learning Resources has a lemonade stand themed card game that can easily be used in speech therapy.

I would recommend checking out Amazon’s lemonade toy set that is currently under $15 and great for a lemonade pretend play activity.

You can also make a lemonade sensory bin with lemon scented rice.

More Ways to Use Play Food in Speech Therapy

 Have a summer picnic with your student and work on categorizing food by fruits, snacks, and entrees. Additionally, you can use a basket work on basic concepts like in/out, in front/behind, over, under. You can also incorporate those social skills I mentioned earlier. 

Need some play-based speech therapy ideas with a summer theme? Check out these fun summer play themes you can do during ESY or with private clients.
Need some play-based speech therapy ideas with a summer theme? Check out these fun summer play themes you can do during ESY or with private clients.

Pretend to visit a farmers market with your students. Talk about the produce you would see and what you would need to bring with you. Once you are done, talk about the produce that you saw and bought to work on vocabulary and verb tensing.

If you need more play food ideas for preschool speech therapy, head to this blog post. 

Summer Play Theme Sensory Bins

Use a garden or car wash theme to make sensory bins to target your students goals. Fill a bin with water, soap, and cars or trucks of different sizes and colors. List the attributes or the cars and work on basic concepts as the cars and trucks go in and out of the car wash.

You can also fill a bin with some soil, grass, and seeds. Have your student push the seeds and look for small bugs and critters! There are a lot of bug hunt toy sets that can be incorporates into this sensory bin. 

Need some play-based speech therapy ideas with a summer theme? Check out these fun summer play themes you can do during ESY or with private clients.
Need some play-based speech therapy ideas with a summer theme? Check out these fun summer play themes you can do during ESY or with private clients.

Summer Garden Therapy Ideas

Use fake flowers and other gardening supplies to create a pretend play theme of a flower shop or planting a garden. This can be a great opportunity to talk about the vocabulary and social communication of growing flowers and buying flowers for others. Buying flowers can teach the concept of giving, showing love with gifts as well as the verbs and vocabulary for making a flower bouquet. This is also a time to practice emotion words with your students! How would someone feel if you gave them flowers? How would someone feel if you didn’t give them flowers?

For more ideas on how to use flowers as a theme in speech therapy, head to this blog post.

More Summer Play Themes

Need some play-based speech therapy ideas with a summer theme? Check out these fun summer play themes you can do during ESY or with private clients.

Here are some more summer theme ideas to use for pretend play. You can target all of the previously mentioned therapy goals using these themes:

  • Going Fishing 
  • Zoo trip
  • Traveling or planning for a road trip
  • Going to a sandwich shop

If you’re interested in more seasonal themes, check out my spring play themes blog post.

I would also recommend reading this previous post for more information on play based speech therapy!

Need Tips for Implementing Play Themes?

When I first began incorporating play based activities into my therapy, I felt very overwhelmed. I quickly began to run out of ideas on how to incorporate my students’ goals in play without being repetitive or burnt out. I have found that when I have cheat sheets handy in my sessions, I spend less time thinking of targets and more time meaningfully interacting with my students. If you want to save more brain energy AND feel prepared for play therapy without hours of planning, then grab these toy companion cheat sheets for speech and language therapy. Included are cheat sheet guides for over 25 toys!

Need some play-based speech therapy ideas with a summer theme? Check out these fun summer play themes you can do during ESY or with private clients.
Need some play-based speech therapy ideas with a summer theme? Check out these fun summer play themes you can do during ESY or with private clients.

What Summer Pretend Play Activities Do You Use With Your Students?

I always love to hear what other SLP’s are doing with their student. Have any summer themed activities you’ve tried and loved with your students? Let me know in the comments! 

10 Ways to Use a Pizza Toy Set in Speech

10 Ways to Use a Pizza Toy Set in Speech

Making time for play therapy in your lesson plan is a great way to have your student work on their language in a functional and engaging way. Kids love to play, and they also love pizza! Which makes these pizza toy sets a must-have tool for your speech therapy session. Use these pizza toy sets to target a variety of language and speech goals through play!

Where Can I Buy a Pizza Toy Set for Speech Therapy?

 

There are a few different pizza toy sets available online. 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 in which I receive a small commission when you click at no additional cost to you.

It can be fun to play pizza delivery or eating at a pizza restaurant with this Melissa and Doug Wooden Pizza Counter. If you want a felt version, there is this set for under $20. Working on pretending to go to a pizza party, you can grab this pizza party set HERE. For a more tactile pizza play activity, you can use the Playdoh pizza set.

 

Incorporate a pizza toy set into your speech therapy sessions to increase engagement and opportunities for meaningful practice on speech and language goals.

Play-Based Speech and Language Toy Companion Cheat Sheets

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 Prek-2nd grade and have stimulus targets mapped out for 25 different toys. 

You can save brain energy while effectively using toys to target your student’s speech or language goals. Use these cheat sheets so that you can have FUN in therapy too!

Incorporate a pizza toy set into your speech therapy sessions to increase engagement and opportunities for meaningful practice on speech and language goals.
 Incorporate a pizza toy set into your speech therapy sessions to increase engagement and opportunities for meaningful practice on speech and language goals.

Using a Pizza Toy Set in Play-Based Speech Therapy

Incorporate a pizza toy set into your speech therapy sessions to increase engagement and opportunities for meaningful practice on speech and language goals.

A pizza toy 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:

1. Use the pizza toppings and pieces to work on following directions and sequencing the steps to make a pizza.

2. Describe the ingredients and sort the items into category groups: appliances, utensils, food, meat, veggies, dairy, etc.

3. Put the pizza toppings on flashcards and students pick a topping. Then, have the student practice their target. Use silly sentences such as “The rabbit ate the pepperoni.”

4. Practice turn taking and perspective taking by having the child prepare a pizza for someone else. Work on initiation for questions and comments.

5. Have things go wrong while making the pizza by having it burn, dropping the pizza, running out of toppings, and expressing dislike such as yuck for toppings.

More Therapy Ideas Using a Cookie Toy Set

    6. Act out different verbs and vocabulary with gestures such as devour, smell, hot, chew, mix, etc.

    7. Talk about which pizzas have more/less/few/none.

    8. Discuss the social rules for going to a pizzeria.

    9. Use toppings for phonological awareness cues or tapping out multi-syllabic words.

    10. Have your students feed different items pizza. You can work on building sentences, answering “who” and “what” questions and turn taking.

    Incorporate a pizza toy set into your speech therapy sessions to increase engagement and opportunities for meaningful practice on speech and language goals.

    More Toys to Use in Play Therapy

    Incorporate a pizza toy set into your speech therapy sessions to increase engagement and opportunities for meaningful practice on speech and language goals.

    If you are loving all these toy ideas for play therapy, you can read more blog posts on some of my favorite toys to use in therapy.

    When I pull out a toy knowing the purpose of how I will use it to cover goals, I feel confident with my therapy choice. It’s okay to put the worksheets away if you are FUNctionally using toys to target speech and language goals.

    Your students will probably be more engaged with your lesson for the day!

    Check out my favorite toys and 10 ways to use them in therapy:

    Ice Cream Toy Set

    Toy Trains in Speech

    Using Play Food in Therapy

    Farmhouse Toy Set

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

     

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

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