As speech-language pathologists, we LOVE to use toys to work on speech and language goals. Today, I want to share the best speech therapy toys to use with your early elementary students. Having speech therapy toys that are easy to adapt helps you plan more for many students in less time.
If you are new to using toys to address speech therapy goals, check out this blog post about play-based speech therapy HERE.
After reading this post, you are sure to have a list of toys that will increase engagement in your speech therapy sessions.
Best Speech Therapy Toys for Speech and Language Goals
Pretend play food sets are so versatile for speech and language skills. You can use these to work on categories, describing, grammar, morphology, social communication, and speech sound goals.
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By far, the best sets for early elementary are as follows:
A cookie or baking toy set can work on labeling kitchen utensils, sequencing the steps for making food, and using the food props for various goals. I have a blog post about using a cookie toy set for speech therapy HERE.
A solid play food set is an excellent addition to your speech therapy toys because you will use the food in so many themed units. For example, you can use food for a picnic theme, BBQ theme, pack your lunch for a school theme, or Thanksgiving dinner.
Toy Companion Cheat Sheets for Play-Based Speech Therapy
Check out The Ultimate Toy Companion Cheat Sheets to guide the SLP during play therapy (45 toy cheat sheets.) Have a speech therapy handout for all your favorite toys and games to use in treatment so that you don’t have to worry about remembering targets to use with the toys (that’s the cheat sheets job!)
Speech Therapy Toys That are Easy to Adapt
When you are looking to invest in new toy sets, you may ask yourself if you can use the toy to cover a variety of goals. And you should consider if it has a hands-on component and if it will get you opportunities for functional communication, cause-effect skills, or target cooperative play.
It’s an even better bonus when you can use the toy for speech sound goals!
Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head and surprise party boxes from Learning Resources are easy to adapt for speech and language goals. These cause-effect toys can also entice students to want to communicate more in a session. Check out this blog post for more ideas on cause-effect toys to buy.
The surprise party boxes can be put in a sensory bin, hidden around your speech room, and you can conceal mini trinkets or small pictures in the boxes for any goal.
Toys that Help Language Development
Your k-2 crew with language impairments usually has several areas of need in the language domains. When you have a mixed group walk-in with a grammar, vocabulary, and comprehension goal, you want toys to target those goals together.
Using magnetic scenes is a great toy to cover story retelling, comprehension, labeling, grammar, and describing goals. Plus, your students will enjoy creating scenes, and you can use it as a barrier game. One of my favorite magnetic scenes toys is from Create-A-Scene. I also found these Magnetic Portable Playboard sets that are smaller, so you can easily transport them from site to site.
You can use the Melissa and Doug Reusable Sticker Pad for a more affordable option.
When you have students working on basic concepts, describing vocabulary and categories, and answering wh-question and syntax, you need a toy house! The Li’l Woodeez toy house from Target or the Fisher-Price Little People play house is excellent for targeting language goals. And it’s a nice break from flashcards or worksheets.
What Speech Therapy Toy Do Your Students Go Bananas For in Sessions?
If you have a toy, you find a winner with your early elementary caseload, share it in the comments below!
My biggest wins in therapy are when I can use a toy to demonstrate or elicit a speech or language skill without using flashcards.
That’s why I love hearing what toys work for your students so that other SLPs can get ideas for therapy.
Check out this blog post from Speech Room News if you work with early intervention and need toy ideas.