Are you looking for toys to use with toddlers in speech therapy? This age group can be tricky to keep engaged at times. In addition, toddlers have a much shorter attention span so you cannot do the same activity for 20 or 30 minutes. With the help of fellow clinicians in The Preschool Speech Language Pathologists Facebook Group (please join if you aren’t a member yet!), I’ve put together a list of 10 toys to use with toddlers in speech therapy. Please comment below if you have other ideas of toys to add. If you have other ways of encouraging communication using the items below, I would also love to know!
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10 TOYS TO USE WITH TODDLERS IN SPEECH THERAPY
#1 Critter Clinic
The Critter Clinic has always been a favorite in my room and I know many other SLPs use it as well. Students stay entertained for quite some time by opening the doors to find the animals using the keys. Work on vocabulary such as “open, close, in, out.” The Critter Clinic can even be transformed for other holidays. Check out how I turned my Critter Clinic into a Gingerbread House for the holidays to jazz it up!
#2 Whacky Ball Lb-A-Ball
This fun little toy is perfect for teaching toddlers about cause and effect! Use positional words and phrases such as “put the ball in.”
#3 Wooden Race Track Ramp
Toys like race tracks are great for routine phrases! Use words like “ready, set, go” and “one, two, three.” Model each phrase many times and use a sing-song voice. More ideas like this race track are included in this FREE Parent Handout: Toys To Increase Speech & Language Skills at Home. (I sent this home for Christmas shopping for my families!)
A farm set is a must for every toddler. Work on imitating animal noises, following single- step directions, and positional concepts like in/on/under/ behind.
#5 Balloon Powered Car
This toy is too much fun! Most young children LOVE balloons (you will will still have a few who won’t though!) Use this toy with your balloon-lovers and work on skills such as:
– non-verbal imitation (push the handle for more air)
-use the CORE Vocabulary: want, more, like, go, stop, open, help, etc.
#6 Musical Instruments
Music encourages children to hum and sing along. These are great early language skills. Sing part of a familiar song and have them complete the phrase! “Twinkle, twinkle, little ….” Work on loud/soft and fast/slow concepts.
#7 Pop-Up Pirate
Kids absolutely love this silly and easy game! This is great for working on turn-taking and identifying colors. Plus, it will sure to get some giggles from your students when the pirate pops up!
#8 Floor Piano Mat
Remember- toddlers LOVE music! Grab one of these floor piano mats (I bet someone you know already has one ready to pass down!) and work on so many skills!
-Work on functional vocabulary such as-fast, slow, step, hop, jump, etc.
-Practice finding colors or counting as they “play the piano”
-You could even tape letters or shapes to each key to have them look for!
#9 Fisher Price School Bus
Having some type of toy vehicle in your room is essential when working with younger students in speech therapy. Have them put dolls or Little People in the bus and work on pronouns and characteristics. For example, have them “put the boy in the bus.” Or for a challenge, have them put the “boy with brown hair in the bus.” Practice other phrases and words such as: push, drive, forward, backward, fast, slow, etc.
Last but not least, just try using some simple blocks with this age group! 2-5 year olds think it is so fun to build a tower and then “knock it down!” You can build tall and short towers, you can work on patterns…red, blue, red, blue…what comes next? In addition, you can do this activity with them or in a small group and encourage turn taking. Finally, building together with blocks is a great way to encourage play at a very young age. Find out how to increase levels of play during speech therapy with this age group.
GET HELP PURCHASING THESE TOYS TO USE WITH TODDLERS IN SPEECH THERAPY
Hopefully this list helped to give you some great ideas for how to use different toys to help engage toddlers. With toddlers, speech sessions should always be fun and playful to encourage communication. Remember, you can also grab the FREE parent handout about Toys to Increase Speech & Language Skills at Home. Send this home to families at the beginning of the year or at conferences for ideas.
Need to buy some new toys but don’t want to purchase using your own money? (As we shouldn’t be!) Here are some things to try:
-Check into grants for SLPs. ASHA has a list here of ones that they do.
-Set up a Donor’s Choose! Share the link with friends and family. You will be surprised by how many people want to help your students succeed.
-Create an Amazon wish list to send out to parents at the beginning of the year or for holidays.
Do you have other favorite toys to use with toddlers in speech therapy?
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