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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

10 Ways to Use Play Food in Speech Therapy

10 Ways to Use Play Food in Speech Therapy

What’s more fun to young kids than playing with toy food items? They love using play food to engage in activities like playing house. Harness that interest for your speech therapy sessions! This is why toy food sets can be so engaging for our speech students! These play food items allow students to interact with you 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 foods below, so keep reading to get all of my suggestions!

Play food is SUCH a big hit with young children. Why not give them space to play with toy food items while also working on essential speech and language skills? Play food sets make for a fantastic addition to your speech therapy materials. Kids love playing with toy food, and you can work on targets like sequencing, CORE vocabulary, AAC, grammar concepts, and more. Click through to read this post to learn 10 ways that play food can be used in speech therapy! #speechtherapy #SLPs #speechskills

Where Can I Buy Play Food for My Speech Room?

There are a few different play food options available online. One of them is even from Melissa and Doug, so you don’t have to worry about the quality of those items! 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 & Doug Food Groups

Pantry in a Bucket by Play Circle Battat (This is a good deal!)

New Sprouts Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner by Learning Resources

 

Play food is SUCH a big hit with young children. Why not give them space to play with toy food items while also working on essential speech and language skills? Play food sets make for a fantastic addition to your speech therapy materials. Kids love playing with toy food, and you can work on targets like sequencing, CORE vocabulary, AAC, grammar concepts, and more. Click through to read this post to learn 10 ways that play food can be used in speech therapy! #speechtherapy #SLPs #speechskills

Build Vocabulary While Using Play Food in Speech Therapy

You can use play food to compare and contrast items by attribute features. While you are playing with the food, you can discuss the different category groups for food items, function, size, shape, color, where you buy/store it, what meals you use the food for, parts and textures. I love using my visual sentence frames to help my students explain similarities and differences between foods. 

For your students not ready to work expressively with comparing and contrasting, have your students “sort” food into different groups. For example, you can sort chewy vs. crunchy foods, hot vs. cold, sweet vs. sour foods.

Being able to see and touch the play food while doing this language activity makes it engaging for your students too!

Play food is SUCH a big hit with young children. Why not give them space to play with toy food items while also working on essential speech and language skills? Play food sets make for a fantastic addition to your speech therapy materials. Kids love playing with toy food, and you can work on targets like sequencing, CORE vocabulary, AAC, grammar concepts, and more. Click through to read this post to learn 10 ways that play food can be used in speech therapy! #speechtherapy #SLPs #speechskills

How to Use Play Food in Speech Therapy

A toy food 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. Have one student prepare a meal for another student. One student can practice his/her articulation, vocabulary, grammar while telling the student what to do to prepare the meal.
  2. Sequence the steps for setting a table, cleaning the kitchen, shopping at the grocery store, or making a meal. Sequence how to make a hamburger, sandwich, cake, etc.
  3. Following directions and basic concepts with the food and utensils.
  4. Sort food by sub-categories: desserts, fruit, vegetables, breakfast, dinner, meat, etc. Then, describe the food by attributes (size, shape, colors, parts, texture, etc.)
  5. Work on “who” and “where” questions. Give different food items to students and ask, “Who has a brownie?”
  6. Asking and answering wh-questions while playing with the food.
  7. Play pretend restaurant to work on social skills, articulation carryover, and language.
  8. Plan a dinner party or birthday party.
  9. Practice manners while eating.
  10. Work on inferencing by giving the kids clues about the food item and they have to guess the food.

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 Pre-K to 2nd grade and have stimulus targets mapped out for fourteen different toys.

Share How You Use Play Food Toy Set

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

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.

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