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.

10 ideas for using a pet hospital toy set in speech therapy

10 ideas for using a pet hospital toy set in speech therapy

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 Pet Hospital for My Speech Room?

There are a few different pet hospital 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.

  1. Critter Clinic Toy Vet Set
  2. Pet Vet Toy by B. Toys by Battat
  3. Learning Resources Pretend & Play Animal Hospital (This set is good for traveling SLPs that need lightweight materials to transport.)

Toy-Themed Therapy Resources

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 fourteen different toys. 

Using a Pet Hospital Toy Set in Speech Therapy with Younger-Aged Children

A pet hospital 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. Work on sequencing steps for cleaning a cut, wrapping a broken bone, grooming the pet, or doing a check-up.
  2. Work on CORE vocabulary with AAC to work on open, close, go, stop, need, want, my turn, and your turn.
  3. Work on following directions with basic concepts and prepositions.
  4. Put mini trinkets in the doors of the vet hospital that have students sounds, vocabulary, etc. The animals can open the doors to find what is in their space. Students can work on building grammar sentences, working on sounds, describing vocabulary, and answering wh- questions.
  5. Put items behind the doors to work on inferencing.
  6. Compare/contrast the different doctor tools and/or animals.
  7. Your animal is sick! Think of all the things and items they enjoy that you can do with them when the animal is healthy again.
  8. Work on story retell and have the child tell a story to their sick animal.
  9. Your new puppy or kitten just got his/her shots and is ready to come home. Make a list of all the things you need to buy for home. Talk about the noun’s functions.
  10. Make an animal obstacle course for the animal to enjoy after they are feeling better. Work on following directions, sequencing, and verb actions. 

How Do You Use a Pet Hospital Toy Set in Speech Therapy?

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

Using bubbles in speech therapy

Using bubbles in speech therapy

When it comes to childhood memories, I remember spending many afternoons playing with bubbles. There is just something magical about bubbles that kids enjoy. Bubbles are one of those toys that are great to bring out on a spring or summer day. There are so many great ways SLPs can use bubbles in speech therapy.

Bubbles are also near to my heart because they are affordable for SLPs on a budget! This post is filled with all the ways you can utilize bubbles in your speech room. 

Where Can You Buy Bubbles for Your Speech Room?

 

Buy them on Amazon. If you want containers that are no spill, then here are mini ones (Amazon affiliate link) that hold two ounces of bubbles. Or, you can get a bigger container from Fubbles (Amazon affiliate link) that allows you to have multiple wands in the container. Walmart and Target are always my local go-tos for finding bubbles.

If you are the adventurous DIY SLP, then here is a recipe for how to make GIANT bubbles. Here is another recipe for homemade bubbles. Did you know that you can also make DIY wands with pipe cleaners (Amazon affiliate link)?

It is super esy, and it’s an affordable way to have extra wands on hand for your mixed groups. 

Using Bubbles in Speech Therapy With Preschool Children

Bubbles can be used to target so many skills! Listed below are some of my favorite ways to utilize bubbles.

 

  1. Turn-taking and waiting: Students can practice basic social skill requests and comments while playing with the bubbles.
  2. Play following directions Simon Says: Work on using basic concepts or multi-step directions with bubbles, such as, “Clap your hands and then blow a bubble.”
  3. Use as a reinforcer:  The student has to practice target stimulus items and then gets a chance to blow bubbles.
  4. Describe bubbles by attributes.
  5. Make your own wands as a cooperative lesson for ? in the group, being flexible and engaging with peers.

More Ideas for Using Bubbles With Preschoolers

  1. Tape different cards on the wall: Students can say their word or use a carrier phrase with which picture they want to blow the bubbles near. Have students try to blow the bubbles above or below the cards.
  2. Make your own bubbles with your students: Work on sequencing the steps for making the bubbles. Ask your students wh- questions about the process and have them share their opinions about homemade bubbles versus store-bought bubbles.
  3. Answer and teach simple “Who” questions: Who has the wand? Who is popping the bubbles?
  1. Play Red Light, Green Light with bubbles to teach CORE vocabulary for “stop” and “go.”
  2. Build sentence structures:  The bubble is floating in the sky. The bubbles are under the table.
  3. Bubbles are a great tool for joint attention and teaching cause and effect. Withhold the bubbles or the wand until the student gives you joint attention.

Have A Cheat Sheet With Skills You Can Target With Bubbles

Bubbles can be used as a play-based therapy tool to target all sorts of verbs, language skills, and articulation/phonology. It can be tough to remember all the targets to hit in a mixed group. 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. 

Using Bubbles in Speech Therapy with Older Children

Bubbles can be used with your upper elementary and middle school/high school students as a STEM project or science experiment. You can have your students make DIY bubble wands. They can make predictions about which “wand” will make the best bubbles. Check out this post from Natalie Snyders for more details. 

How Do You Use Bubbles in Speech Therapy?

 

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

Farm Themed Speech Therapy Toys & Materials

Farm Themed Speech Therapy Toys & Materials

Planning therapy around themes can make it a lot easier to come up with ways to cover all the goals in your mixed groups. And if you have a large caseload, finding ways to use one set of materials for a wide range of goals will make servicing your caseload much more manageable.

Farm-Themed Speech Therapy Materials to Cover Goals in Mixed Groups

How many goals could you cover with this farmhouse toy (Amazon affiliate link)? If you had a mixed group with a student working on reducing the phonological process of fronting, a student working on verb + ing and another student working on following directions, you could cover all those goals with this farmhouse!

For fronting, you could have the student say, “Go _____” with the animals or, “I can see _______” during play. To target “verb +ing,” the students can talk about what the animals are doing. For example, the pig can roll in the mud, the cow can eat grass, and the horse can jump over the fence. Use the animals and farm items to work on basic concepts and following directions. And just like that, your therapy session is planned and that easy to adapt!

Do you need a cheat sheet that would help you remember all the target verbs, questions, vocabulary and activities to do with a farm house? Grab my Toy Companion Speech & Language Cheat Sheets and always feel prepared doing play-based therapy. 

Build Your Personal Material Stash

When I find toys that can be adapted for a lot of ages and skills, it usually becomes part of my personal therapy stash. If I ever move sites or school districts, I want to be able to take the materials that I use all the time with me.

Another toy I use often is my Mr. Potato Head. Check out this post here to see how you can use this toy in therapy. If you need more toy ideas, this post covers some of my most used toys to work on functional language that you can read here.

This post contains Amazon affiliate links for your convenience.

Using a Farmhouse in Speech Therapy

Use a farmhouse to work on all sorts of goals! Here are some goals/skills you can target with this one toy:

—Turn taking and waiting.

—Initiating requests and comments. You can also work on joint attention by withholding objects until you get some eye contact and joint referencing.

—Teach prepositions such as in, out, next to, behind, in front.

—Work on verbs such as eat, sleep, run, jump, laugh, feed, play, roll, sit, gallop, drink.

—Answer wh-questions about the animals and farm equipment.

—Describe the farm animals by attributes.

—Create a story working on sequencing, story elements, and grammar structures.

Finding a farmhouse toy that is affordable can be tricky for SLPs on a budget. You can always try Facebook Marketplace and thrift stores for a deal. If you can’t wait, Amazon or Target have farmhouses.

Favorite Farm-Themed Books for Speech Therapy

I love bringing literacy into my sessions. The books have such colorful pictures, so I often use those to help stimulate language. Of course, you can work on story retell and oral narration with farm books, but you can also target grammar concepts, vocabulary, perspective taking (social skills), and articulation/phonology with words from the story.

Here are some of my favorite farm-themed books:

Mrs. Wishy Washy’s Farm by Joy Cowley

Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown

No Sleep for the Sheep by Karen Beaumont

Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle

If you don’t have time to head to the library or your Amazon purchase hasn’t arrived yet, you can still use books in therapy. Search for book read-alouds on YouTube like Down on the Farm by Merrily Kutner.

Farm-Themed Toys for Speech Therapy

Use the Create-A-Scene for the farm (Amazon affiliate link) to work on simple story telling, practice verb +ing, following directions, describing nouns by attributes and answering wh-questions.

You can use the farm animals from Learning Resources to work on lots of skills in therapy. Here are some ways you can use these farm animal figurines: target more/less, plural noun markers, describing the animals, sorting the animals by features (i.e. two legs, tail, four legs, color), CORE vocabulary go/stop and as a reinforcement toy for completing other skills.

I love this puzzle to work on farm-themed speech therapy goals from Melissa & Doug. You can work on word opposites open/close as well as lots of CORE vocabulary such as more, look, what, want, turn, and like/don’t like.

Melissa & Doug also have these affordable farm-themed reusable stickers that come with farm picture scenes. This can be a great way to work on grammar concepts, following directions, and story retell. You can also create mini stories and then work on answering wh-questions for those stories!

Farm-Themed YouTube Videos for Easy Therapy Planning

When I just don’t have a ton of time to plan extensive therapy, I turn to YouTube to help me with planning simple, yet effective lessons. I will use farm-themed YouTube videos to target goals for language.

Here are some farm-related YouTube videos you can use:

4 Reasons Why Cows are Awesome by Scishowkids

Chickens! What, Where, How by AnimalWonders Montana

Fun Farm Animal Facts for Children by Kids Learning Videos

Farm Animal Sounds by Kids Learning Videos is an interactive video to work on what animals sound like. The kids love it!

Some farm sensory bin fillers you can use are popcorn kernels or black/brown beans.

Farm-Themed Speech Therapy Materials for Push-In Language Support

 

Wanting to bring farm-themed speech therapy activities into your whole class lessons? Check out my Farm Push-In Activities. They are perfect for busy SLPs wanting to use language activities in small groups and push-in lessons for their K-2 students.

You will have materials completely planned for at least two weeks. I include cheat sheet guides, 3-5 station activities, a Google Slide presentation, as well as a newsletter you can send home to parents. When I started push-in support I wanted to find a quick way I could let parents know what we were working on, in hopes that they would help reinforce the same language at home. I read a research article that found students with language impairments need up to 36 engagements with a word before it is mastered! It gave me permission to do themed therapy for more than one week!

Farm-Themed Speech Therapy Materials You Love

What farm-themed speech therapy materials do you love to use in your sessions? I would love to know what is working for your students. Over the years, I have really grown in learning how to adapt materials just from listening to what other SLPs do in therapy. Please share by leaving a comment or emailing me at feliceclark@thedabblingspeechie.com.

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