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.
St. Patrick’s Preschool Play Ideas for Speech Therapy

St. Patrick’s Preschool Play Ideas for Speech Therapy

I don’t know a student who doesn’t get excited about hiding items in things or going on hunts to discover something sneaky. You’ve come to the right blog post if you need st. patrick’s preschool play therapy ideas that incorporate sneaky leprechauns or hidden gold!

When I spotted some wooden buildings at the Target Dollar Spot, I knew I needed to hoard, I mean, stock up on these fab toys.

You can use them with a community helper and transportation theme, and you can also do some theme smashing with st. patrick’s preschool play!

st. patrick’s Preschool Materials You Need

To have some sneaky leprechauns invade the town, you need the wooden buildings from the Target Dollar Spot. I don’t think the wooden buildings are available anymore at Target, but I found some alternatives that I will link below. For your St. Patrick’s preschool play activity, you will need the following:

Gold coins – You can find these at Dollar Tree

Mini pots – Usually, these are at the Dollar Tree during Halloween and St. Patrick’s season

Wooden buildings: Found at Target Dollar Spot, you can also find them on Mercari or try these Melissa and Doug blocks. 

Leprechaun printables – You can get them in the St. Patrick’s Day Grammar and Vocabulary set

Leprechaun and St. Patrick’s Day props – I always look in the dog toy section at TJ Maxx. Check out where you can find themed props HERE. Here is another version like the one in the pictures in the blog post. 

Binder clips to attach your leprechauns

 It’s time to get your play on! Easy St. Patrick’s preschool play therapy ideas for your speech therapy sessions that will be sure to engage your friends and work on their goals.

Sneaky Leprechauns Hiding Around the Town

It’s time to get your play on! Easy St. Patrick’s preschool play therapy ideas for your speech therapy sessions that will be sure to engage your friends and work on their goals.

Hide some leprechauns under the wooden buildings and tell your students that some sneaky leprechauns are in our town! We must find them.

Grab your favorite toy car or vehicle and look ‘under’ the buildings around the town. While you drive around, target ‘go’, ‘stop’, ‘look’, ‘where’, and ‘around.’

Have your students share three things they might see at each building. So, if you stop at the school, they can name school supplies.

Give your students inference clues about ‘where’ the leprechaun could be hiding and target ‘where’ questions during this entire activity!

How would you use this activity in your mixed groups? Share in the comments.

Go on a Gold Hunt Around the Town

If you have those gold coins and the mini pots, you can have students drive around the town looking for gold coins. With a permanent marker, you can write different numbers on the coins. Whatever number it says, that’s how many times your student has to practice their speech sound.

Or, you can put different amounts of coins under the buildings to work on none, more, less, and a plural noun marker. 

What’s great about this activity is you can also work on ‘where’ questions and category items that would belong at each building!

How would you adapt this activity for your students? Share in the comments.

It’s time to get your play on! Easy St. Patrick’s preschool play therapy ideas for your speech therapy sessions that will be sure to engage your friends and work on their goals.

St. Patrick’s Preschool Circle Time Activity

It’s time to get your play on! Easy St. Patrick’s preschool play therapy ideas for your speech therapy sessions that will be sure to engage your friends and work on their goals.

It can be tough to engage your young students during your co-teaching lessons! They want to wiggle and move, so it can be challenging to keep them excited at the carpet time activity.

But, if you make it feel like a fun game, they will stay excited during circle time. And in the process, you can target waiting, turn-taking, functional communication, and language skills.

With your gold coins, leprechaun printables, or St. Patrick’s themed props like shamrocks, or rainbows, you can tell your students that SOMEONE took the gold coins from the leprechaun’s pot.

To see these therapy ideas in action, head to my Instagram

 

Have all your students close their eyes while you give some students a gold coin. Tell them ahead of time that if they get a gold coin, they have to hide it with their hands. Then, everyone opens their eyes and has to ask different friends in the group if they stole a gold coin.

You target yes/no questions, ‘who’ questions, initiation of questions, waiting, and turn-taking!

If you have a leprechaun prop, you can also play “Who did the leprechaun sneaky upon?” to target the basic concept behind it.

Need More St. Patrick’s Day Therapy Ideas?

I would love it for SLPs on social media if you tagged me @thedabblingspeechie to share how you used these St. Patrick’s preschool play therapy ideas in your sessions with students.

Don’t stress about St. Patrick’s Day for your elementary caseload. There are a LOT more engaging therapy ideas on this blog post to help you with planning. 

It’s time to get your play on! Easy St. Patrick’s preschool play therapy ideas for your speech therapy sessions that will be sure to engage your friends and work on their goals.
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! 

4 Tips To Pick A Theme For Your Caseload

4 Tips To Pick A Theme For Your Caseload

When I first began as an SLP, I started with a large caseload that fluctuated between 72-83 students. There was no time in my day to plan for those individual students. So, my brain immediately went to using theme-based lessons that I could adapt for all of my grade levels. Using theme-based lessons that are easily adapted helped me reduce my planning time (and brain power) by hours! I am heading into my 15th year as an SLP, and using themes continues to be a super helpful strategy! I want to share with you 4 tips for picking a great theme for your caseload!

Tip #1 : Pick A Theme That Is Motivating

Check out these 4 tips to help you pick a great theme for your caseload that can be adapted across all of your grade levels. Save hours of planning time by using themed therapy materials to cover your wide range of goals!

The #1 tip I have for selecting a theme is to make sure it’s something that is high interest and highly motivating for your students. This is a much easier task for my younger students than it is for my older elementary or middle school students. I can usually capture my younger students’ interest for any theme by simply incorporating dinosaurs, legos, or something shiny! My older students are not so easily entertained (as I’m sure many of you understand). Another SLP shared with me a little while ago that she likes to poll her older students about what they are interested in at the beginning of her school year. Her students’ answers help drive her lesson planning and theme selection. This is something that can easily be incorporated into your therapy plans for your first week back.

Why is this my #1 tip? The more we can build our students’ interest in the lessons and themes we are using, the more buy-in we’ll see, which we know leads to more progress

Tip #2: Keep Your Students’ Environment In Mind

When picking a theme, think about what is going to be relevant to your student. What is something your students can relate to or experience in their day-to-day lives? I like to pick themes about the seasons, the environment around my student, on-going classroom topics, etc.

Selecting themes that are personally relevant to my students helps build that connection between therapy and real life (can’t forget about that generalization!). A great theme for this summer would be the Summer Olympics, especially for those of you doing ESY.

Check out these 4 tips to help you pick a great theme for your caseload that can be adapted across all of your grade levels. Save hours of planning time by using themed therapy materials to cover your wide range of goals!

Tip #3: Pick A Theme That Inspires You Too

Check out these 4 tips to help you pick a great theme for your caseload that can be adapted across all of your grade levels. Save hours of planning time by using themed therapy materials to cover your wide range of goals!

The themes you pick should also be inspiring and exciting for you too! Of course, my students’ interests will always trump mine (#therapistlife). However, if you can find themes that are as interesting and motivating to you as they are to your students, then you’re going to kill that session! Your excitement will shine through and therapy will be really fun for you and your student.

For example, I love selecting camping themes because I love going camping and hiking and it’s also a theme that my students love. This makes our camping themed therapy sessions really, genuinely, fun!

Tip #4: Pick A Theme You Can Adapt Across Grades

Picking a theme that you can adapt across multiple grade levels is they key to save yourself planning time. For example, an apple theme is great for younger elementary students, older elementary students, and middle schoolers. This theme can also be adapted for my older student with higher needs or benefit from a very supported classroom. I found that many of my students with this profile had language skills similar to some of my elementary student. I was able to take the same concepts and adapt them with age-appropriate photos and materials that are respectful to those students. Here are some sample activity ideas using an apples theme across different age groups:

Check out these 4 tips to help you pick a great theme for your caseload that can be adapted across all of your grade levels. Save hours of planning time by using themed therapy materials to cover your wide range of goals!
Check out these 4 tips to help you pick a great theme for your caseload that can be adapted across all of your grade levels. Save hours of planning time by using themed therapy materials to cover your wide range of goals!

In A Theme Rut?

If you’re having a hard time picking the right themes for your students, check out my free Themed Therapy Planning Guide. It has over 100 seasonal and non-seasonal therapy theme ideas for you to choose from! This planning guide also comes with an editable lesson plan template you can use to help plan your themed therapy sessions. If you’re still having a tough time finding the right theme for your students, I would also recommend collaborating with other teachers. See what themes are being incorporated in your students’ classrooms that can also be incorporated and worked on in speech therapy! 

Check out these 4 tips to help you pick a great theme for your caseload that can be adapted across all of your grade levels. Save hours of planning time by using themed therapy materials to cover your wide range of goals!

Join The Themed Therapy SLP Membership!

If you’re loving themed therapy planning that can be adapted across grade level to save you hours of planning time, check out the Themed Therapy SLP Membership. With this membership you will receive new themed materials to use with your students every month! To kick-off this challenge, I will be hosting a 5-day theme organizational challenge on Facebook. Join now for a sneak peak into the membership, great organizational tips from other themester SLP’s, and fun giveaways! Click on the photos below to learn more.

This blog post is based on my recent Facebook live called, “What Makes a Great Theme for Your Caseload“. Make sure to check it out! 

10 Ways to Use a Cookie Toy Set in Speech

10 Ways to Use a Cookie Toy Set in Speech

Playing with toy sets is one of the best ways for kids to interact with their environments and learn about the things around them without getting into things they shouldn’t. Even more so, kids love animals, which is why pet hospital toy sets can be such a great tool to incorporate into your speech therapy sessions! While acquiring a pet hospital toy set is an upfront cost, there are so many different speech and language skills that you can target while “playing” with your speech students!

Where Can I Buy a Baking Cookie Toy Set for Speech Therapy?

 

There are a few different cookie 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.

Melissa and Doug Cookie Dough Play Set

Melissa and Doug Baking Play Set – you can use these tools and use playdough to make the cookies.

Use a Play Dough Pretend Play Set for Making Cookies and Milk

Cookie Mixer Set by Tiny Land Inc

 

Engage your speech therapy students with these 10 ideas for using a baking cookies toy set in speech therapy! So many speech skills can be targeted with it.

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 18 different toys.

Engage your speech therapy students with these 10 ideas for using a baking cookies toy set in speech therapy! So many speech skills can be targeted with it.
Engage your speech therapy students with these 10 ideas for using a baking cookies toy set in speech therapy! So many speech skills can be targeted with it.

Using a Cookie Toy Set in Play-Based Speech Therapy

Engage your speech therapy students with these 10 ideas for using a baking cookies toy set in speech therapy! So many speech skills can be targeted with it.
  1. Discuss kitchen safety when cooking. Target negation for not, don’t, never. Work on the cause and effect of what happens if we get cookies out of the oven without protective gloves or not putting your fingers in the mixer when it is turned on.
  1. Practice decorating and serving cookies to partners to work on turn-taking and initiation of communication. Share opinions about if they like/don’t like the cookie, requesting milk to go with their cookies.
  1. Put the cookies “in” and “out: of a jar. Discuss “who” took a cookie out of the jar.
  1. Work on vocabulary and grammar skills while making pretend cookies. Practice sequencing the steps. Ask the students what happened first, middle, last.
  1. Talk about the social rules for baking (hygiene) and when/why you would prepare cookies for someone (party, death, thoughtful gift, etc.)

More Therapy Ideas Using a Cookie Toy Set

  1. Feed a stuffed animal or cut out the cookies while practicing speech or language targets.
  1. Put task cards out and have the students “find the” adjective, category, noun-function, etc. Have them put a cookie on the correct task card.
  1. Work on singular and plural nouns and noun-verb agreement with stuffed animals. Give the animals different items (cookies, oven mitt, rolling pin). Explain what each animal has or ask simple “who” questions.
  1. Have different problems occur during pretend play (burnt cookies, spatula drops, forget an ingredient) and discuss solutions to the problems. 
  1. Sort items into different subcategories such as the spatula, cookie tray are kitchen utensils, flour, butter, sugar are food ingredients, and a mixer, and oven are appliances. Describe these items by attributes (i.e., category, noun-function, location, parts, size, textures, etc.)
Engage your speech therapy students with these 10 ideas for using a baking cookies toy set in speech therapy! So many speech skills can be targeted with it.

More Toys to Use in Play Therapy

Engage your speech therapy students with these 10 ideas for using a baking cookies toy set in speech therapy! So many speech skills can be targeted with it.

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 Baking Cookies Toy Set in Speech Therapy?

 

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

Copyright 2019 The Dabbling Speechie | Disclosures | Terms of UseBrand Ambassador Program