Our Favorite Teletherapy Activities

By Alexa Demyan,

Over the past several months, speech therapists everywhere have been learning how to make teletherapy fun, engaging, and beneficial to their clients. The SLPs at Columbus Speech & Hearing Center have created a list of some favorite tele-friendly activities, and they can also be used with parents at home! 

Mad Libs

  • A quick Google search will allow you to find endless Mad Libs to complete at home! Work on reading, writing, sentence grammar (verbs, adjectives, plural nouns, word order…), story elements (characters, setting, problem, solution…) and more while creating silly and fun stories. 

What’s in the Bag?

  • Grab a grocery bag and take turns hiding different toys or objects from around the house inside. Whoever hides the object gives clues for the others to guess what it is! While playing this game you can practice describing (“It’s green, round, and you can eat it”), question asking (“Is it something from the kitchen?”), and perspective taking (Does the guesser have enough information? Do I need to tell them more?). 

Digital Spinners

  • Does your child need to practice some speech articulation sounds? Check out this FREE resource! Go to TeachersPayTeachers.com and search for “Free Speech and Language Digital Spinners”. Our therapists make great use of these and say that their clients love them, too! 

Trivia

  • Head to UsefulTrivia.com to find all sorts of trivia topics! From sports to comic books and many topics in between, this website is perfect for school-aged kids who are working on answering Wh- questions (who, what, when, where, why, how), creating complete sentences, or just for fun! 

Rory’s Story Cubes

  • This educational game has endless possibilities – and you do not need to be a speech therapist to take full advantage! Follow the directions included with the game to work on language skills, imagination expansion, concentration, and more. See who can make the funniest or scariest story! Available at StoryCubes.com, Amazon, and Target. 

This post written for you by Natalie Day, M.S., CCC-SLP of Columbus Speech & Hearing Center

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Phonological Awareness Skills

By Alexa Demyan,

Children playing with….sounds?!?!

When most of us think about children playing, we usually think about things like blocks, puzzles, and other toys. But it’s also important for young children (and their families) to play with sounds – the sounds in their language. Doing so not only helps children learn how to pronounce these speech sounds but also helps them to become readers as well. Learning to read and write starts long before kindergarten and has long-lasting effects. Learning to play with sounds (also called “Phonological Awareness skills”) is one of the key skills of children ages 0-5 that predict later reading success. A more formal definition of Phonological Awareness is the auditory processing of spoken language (not of written language) and understanding that spoken language can be divided and manipulated into smaller components (sentences, phrases, words, syllables, phoneme clusters; individual phonemes). 

Areas included in the skill of phonological awareness are:

·     Rhyme (discrimination (“Do book and cook rhyme?”) and production (“Tell me a word that rhymes with bee”)

·     Segment (clapping out words in sentences, number of syllables, phonemes)

·     Isolation (tell the beginning/middle/end sounds in a word) and recognizing when words share phonemes (‘ball’ and ‘bat’) (also known as “alliteration”)

·     Deletion of syllables (“Say ‘cowboy’. Now say it again but don’t say ‘boy’”) and phonemes (“Say ‘fox’. Now say it again but don’t say ‘f’”)

·     Blending (“win—dow ” is “window” and “b—oy” is “boy”)

There are many ways to incorporate phonological awareness skills into your daily play with your child. Many nursery rhymes include rhyming words that you can point out to your child as you read as well as words beginning with the same sounds. You can clap out long and short words and talk about them (e.g. “cat” vs. “ballerina”). You can take turns naming as many words as you can think of that begin (or end) with the same sound (ball, baby, book, etc.). You can play “I’m thinking of an animal that barks and begins with the “d” sound. You can play “I’m going on a trip and I’m taking a….” using rhyming words, words beginning with the same sound, only 1 syllable words, etc. Books are a fantastic resource for talking about and pointing out all of these skills. Talk back and forth into a play microphone or wooden spoon or in front of a mirror. You can play these games in the car or while in the bathtub or anywhere! Have fun!

Fun Reading Resources and Ideas:

•       Reading Rockets website

•       Get Ready To Read – www.getreadytoread.org

•       Reading is Fundamental website- www.rif.org

•       Reading Resource website- readingresource.net

•       www.starfall.com 

This post written for you by Lora McConnell, M.S., CCC-SLP of Columbus Speech & Hearing Center

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How to Utilize a Timeless Author’s Books to Develop Speech & Language Skills

By Alexa Demyan,

Dr. Seuss is a household name. Did you know his books can be used to develop speech & language skills? The next time you read one of your favorite Dr. Seuss books with your family, try incorporating these tips from our speech-language pathologists!

Developing Vocabulary: Books are great for learning new vocabulary pertaining to a particular topic/theme. Use a Dr. Seuss book to plan a week (or even month) of themed activities to help promote your child’s vocabulary growth. Each activity will help build upon your child’s previous knowledge/experience.

If using, Horton Hears a Who!, you can pretend to be elephants, make elephant hats, talk about how an elephant’s body parts are similar/different than your own, use pom-poms to make clovers, or make edible clovers using Rice Krispies cereal

Developing Early Literacy Skills: Phonological awareness, the understanding of how sounds are put together to form words, is a foundational pre-literacy skill. The ability to identify and produce rhyming words is included in this. Dr. Seuss books, such as One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, are full of rhyming words. As your child becomes familiar with a story, pause and let them fill in the missing words. 

Developing Articulation Skills: Dr. Seuss books are full of motivating “tongue tanglers” that can be used to reinforce clear articulation skills. Pick a book full of your child’s target sound(s) and have fun! Fox in Socks is great for working on the /s/ sound. 


Developing Social Skills:·        

Yertle the Turtle: Targets sympathy and the importance of caring for others.·        

The Big Brag: A lesson surrounding bragging.·        

What Was I Scared Of: Perfect for discussing fears and how to overcome them.·        

Green Eggs and Ham: Conveys the importance of being open-minded/flexible. 

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This post written for you by Samantha Secrist, M.A., CCC-SLP of Columbus Speech & Hearing Center

Smile Mask: How To

By Alexa Demyan,

While individuals in our community are doing their part to slow the spread of Covid-19 by wearing face coverings, it has created a new challenge for those who rely or can benefit from lip reading.

Mastering the new normal of communication with a face covering, while social distancing six feet away is difficult for anyone, especially those of the community we serve. This combination can disrupt the visual and auditory input people who are reliant on lip reading need to communicate effectively.

Smile Masks can help with that since the clear window design assists with communication access!

As a part of our commitment to meet the needs of the community we serve, smile masks can help overcome the communication barriers brought on by standard masks.

Standard face masks make lipreading impossible, but smile masks can provide a great alternative.

Smile masks are good for:

  • Those reliant on lipreading
  • Speech pathologist who need their patients to read their lips as a form of education
  • Those who use American Sign Language as it leans heavily on facial cues and expressions

Make your own Smile Mask by following the instructions below!

Instructions for Smile Mask

Things you’ll need:

  • Two pieces of fabric 8.5” wide X 11” long —the size of a piece of standard printer paper
  • One Pipe cleaner (can also use a paperclip, bobby-pin or something that bends easily to keep the mask secure on your face)
  • One piece of plastic 4.5” wide X 6” long — utility plastic “fabric” or a binder paper sleeve. Something that is thin enough so you can sew through it easier
  • Two pieces of elastic cord measuring 12” long —can use something like yarn or ribbon
  • Pins to help with keeping fabric together while sewing—safety pins work well as an alternative
  1. Cut two pieces of fabric 8.5 inches wide by 11 inches long. These will be the exterior and lining pieces of your mask. Pin fabric right sides together on all four corners.
  2. Trace out a rectangle 2 inches wide by 4 inches long in the middle of your fabric. this will be the rectangle that you cut out for the window of the mask. Next, place four marks a 1/2 inch outside of the smaller rectangle, one in each corner.
  3. Cut out rectangle of both pieces of fabric.
  1. Cut slits starting at the corner of the smaller rectangle to the corner of the outer rectangle. Do this for all four corners.
  1. On one of the pieces of fabric, fold each side of the smaller rectangle to where the slits stop on the outside of the outer rectangle. Press down hard on the fabric so that it holds the crease from your fold. You can also iron these folds down if you want, but this is not necessary to keep the fold. Repeat on the other piece of fabric. NOTE: I’ve pinned each flap down so it’s easier to demonstrate where to fold. You can pin down the flaps if you would like, but this is not necessary.

6. Sew the outer edges of the fabric together using 3/8” seam allowance.

  1. Turn the fabric inside out. Take a pencil or a capped pen and push out all of the corners of the fabric so the edges look crisp and straight. This will make it easier to complete the top stitching for the next step.

  1. Cut a pipe cleaner to the length of the fabric. NOTE: you can also use a paperclip, bobby-pin, etc. for this step if you do not have a pipe cleaner. This will be used for the top of your mask to keep it in place. Place the pipe cleaner/paperclip in-between both pieces of fabric. hold in place as close to the top of the seam as possible with pins. Top stitch the pipe cleaner against the edge of the top length of fabric. The stitching will encase the pipe cleaner. Continue top stitching on the other three sides of your fabric, making sure to stitch as close to the seam as possible. Top stitching helps give the mask some reinforcement and sturdiness so that it doesn’t fall apart.

Learn about what a top stitch is here.

  1. Insert your plastic piece between the two pieces of fabric and align with the window you cut out from step 3. The folds that you made in step 5 should now be on the inside of the mask. Pin the plastic to the edges of the fabric.
  1. Stitch together the plastic and fabric pieces as close to the edge of the cut out rectangle as
    possible. This will help secure the plastic in place to make sure that there aren’t any holes
    in your mask.
  1. Take the long parts of your mask and fold them together to meet in the middle of the plastic
    window. Pin these down and top stitch as close to the outer edge of that fold as possible.
    This should give you three panels total of your mask (top, bottom and middle sections).
  1. Fold top and bottom panels from the middle out to the edge of the top stitch you just completed and pin down.
  1. Working your way around the edges of your mask, fold the two short edges of the mask inward toward the plastic window and pin down. This fold should only go in about 1/2 inch. You can use the pins that held the panels to the mask from step 12 to complete this step.
    NOTE: this will become a pocket for your elastic ear pieces.
  1. Sew down the fold at the edge of the fold closest to the window of your mask. This stitch should be like a top stitch in that you get as close as possible to the edge of the fabric.
  1. Feed your elastic cord through these pockets. You may want to use a paperclip or safety pin to make it easier to feed it through.
  1. Tie two adjustable sliding knots on each piece of the elastic to make your ear pieces adjustable. Learn how to tie this knot here.

Enjoy your new mask!!

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Sensory Bin Fun!

By Alexa Demyan,

Sensory bins are a favorite tool of speech therapists, teachers and parents alike! They provide an immersive, hands-on opportunity for children to practice their speech and language skills. Here’s what you need to know to integrate this easy tool into your life.

What is a sensory bin?

Tub or container filled with materials carefully selected to stimulate senses.


Why use sensory bins?

Because they are FUN and ENGAGING for all. And you can target…

Expressive/Receptive Language:

  • Expand vocabulary (nouns, verbs, adjectives)
  • Find objects (e.g. “Where is the __?”)
  • Following directions (e.g. “Put beans in the bowl and dump it out”)

Social/Play Skills:

  • Take turns and share objects
  • Asking for objects
  • Commenting on what each person is doing
  • Pretend play
  • Conversation (e.g. “I like the _. What do you like?”)

Articulation:

  • Find objects/materials with the targeted sound (e.g. “sand” for /s/, “cars” for /k/)

How can I make one?

Buy a small or large tub (usually $2-10) and fill it with different materials and textures:

  • Soft: cotton balls, kinetic sand, feathers, marshmallows, pompoms
  • Squishy: packing peanuts, cooked pasta, squishy toys, sponges
  • Hard: beans, corn, rice, pasta, aquarium rocks, buttons, shells, beads, wood, Legos, chickpeas
  • Wet: ice cubes, water, jelly beads, shaving cream, gelatin
  • Objects: puzzle pieces, cars, balls, animal figures, shovels, scoopers, tongs, blocks, magnets, bowls


Want to share?  This article is a sharable PDF as well.


Sensory Bin Inspiration!

Here are some of our favorite sensory bins we’ve created.

Winter Sensory Bin

When winter-themed decorations go on clearance at the craft stores, our therapists stock up! Here are ways you can use winter-themed items to target speech and language skills

  • Prepositions and following directions
  • Categories
  • Adjectives and describing
  • Answering questions
  • Story creation/narration
  • Vocabulary

Fall Sensory Bin

This fall-themed sensory bin is perfect, especially if you love pumpkins!

  • Basic Concepts: Describe the size, texture and color of the fall items like pumpkins, apples and leaves. Sort by similar features to practice “same” and “different”.
  • Pretend play: Gather pumpkins and apples from you sensory bin for a fall harvest! Help your child think of the ingredients needed to make fruit pies for your feast.
  • Articulation: Hide small fall-themed objects or pictures under the black bean dirt. Practice speech sounds as your child discovers hidden items and then make sentences with those words. This is also a great way to target seasonal vocabulary!

Farm & Vegetable Sensory Bin

We used this sensory bin in group therapy and our students had a blast. You can use this as a group of friends or family.

  • Speech: animal sounds are an excellent way to get our little ones exploring early consonant-vowel combinations ( like “moo, oink, baa, neigh”) and Old MacDonald provides a perfect opportunity to practice vowels when singing “e-i-e-i-o”.
  • Social Language: we made a “garden salad” for our animals to enjoy. Students labeled vegetables they found hiding in the corn and told the group which were their favorites. Everyone took turns asking follow-up questions to find out how peers liked to cook their vegetables and which of their favorite meals have vegetables. We learned our students love salad!

Summer Sensory Bin

We created two sensory bins we could pair with some favorite summer-themed books to practice

  • Articulation: Hide items that contain your child’s speech sounds in the rice or kinetic sand
  • Vocabulary: Describe the size, shape, color and other attributes of the objects found
  • Imaginative Play: Create an ocean-themed birthday party using kinetic sand and shells to make a birthday cake, decorations and presents

Valentine’s Day Sensory Bin

This bin was inspired by The Autism Helper. It uses dessert matching and rainbow rice to help students practice

  • Following multiple step directions
  • Self-advocacy (i.e. asking for help)
  • Picture description
For templates visit The Autism Helper

Check out our Pinterest page and Instagram page for more sensory bin inspiration and fun activities to target speech therapy goals in the home.

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This post written for you by Sarah Denman, M.A. CCC-SLP and the Speech Department team of Columbus Speech & Hearing Center

Activities to Celebrate Diversity

By Alexa Demyan,

Every day, adults and children alike are learning how to be more inclusive and celebrate the beautiful diversity in our world. Here are a few activities to help you and your family listen, learn, and grow in this pursuit. 

Read

  • Reading books that have racially and culturally diverse characters help children see, learn about, and empathize with people who are different from themselves. 
  • Peekaboo Morning by Rachel Isadora is great for babies and toddlers.
  • Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman is a beautiful story of self-confidence. 
  • Whoever You Are by Mem Fox shows how children all over the world share joy and love despite living, speaking, and looking different from each other. 

Crafts

  • Craft projects will allow children to see and think about physical characteristics that make us all different. By creating these works of art themselves, they can take pride in them and appreciate the beauty in diversity.
  • Use construction paper, foam sheets, or regular paper with crayons and markers to create paper dolls with varying skin tones. Give them hair, clothes, and personalities, and start playing pretend!
  • Cut out hand prints in a rainbow of colors and/or skin tones and create a wreath. Hang it on your front door or in a window to share the love with your neighbors! 

Play

Playing pretend and imagining that they are someone else can allow children to explore the hearts and minds of others, which helps them see things from their perspectives. 

  • Learn about people like Katherine Johnson, Duke Ellington, or Jesse Owens and play pretend! 
  • Play “Guess Who?” Give clues to help your child guess the person you are thinking of. Start with simple clues such as their favorite food or the color of their hair. This can help your child start to think about and appreciate what makes us all different, but also what we have in common!

Check out our Diversity Pinterest page for more activities and ideas!

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This post written for you by Natalie Day, M.S., CCC-SLP of Columbus Speech & Hearing Center

Hidden Messages

By Alexa Demyan,

How fun is this?! Create and send “secret messages” with this activity! This could also be a motivating way to sneak in some speech practice, too. Whether it’s a word list, short messages, a card or pictures of items with your child’s speech sounds, this is sure to be a hit!

1. Grab markers, a paper towel and a sink or tray of water

2. Fold a paper towel in half like a card

3. Draw a picture or half of a message on the front

4. Open the inside and add color to your picture or finish your secret message.

5. Close your paper towel and drop your paper towel in the water to have your complete message or picture appear!

Tag @columbusspeech on Instagram in your posts or stories so we can see how your secret messages turn out!❤️


Check out our Pinterest page and Instagram page for more fun activities to target speech therapy goals in the home.

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This post written for you by Leslie Terrell, M.A. CCC-SLP and the Speech Department team of Columbus Speech & Hearing Center

How to Get the Most Out of Toy Time

By Alexa Demyan,

A trip to the toy store isn’t so simple (or cheap) these days. Parents and kids are flooded with nearly every kind of toy imaginable—from trucks with loud sirens, dolls that talk, balls that flash, and tablets that do everything under the sun. Sometimes these toys can be fun, but they’re not always worth the expense. And noisy toys in particular can be sneaky hazards to young children’s hearing health.

The most important function of toys is to allow children to express themselves, use their imagination and discover new things. Here are some tips on how to make the most out of toy time with your kids.

  • Pick toys without batteries, lights and sounds.

Research shows children communicate less when playing with electronic toys.

  • Find or make toys that your child is interested in and play at their level.

Some children like to taste toys. Some like to put things inside containers and some like to pretend.

  • Be flexible!

Toys can be used in a lot of different ways—not just how they were made to be used. Let them put blocks in the microwave, throw stuffed animals in the air, or put Mr. Potato Head parts in the wrong places.

  • Sometimes the best toys are household or outside objects.

Strainers can be fun bath toys or be used to put dry spaghetti in. Laundry baskets can be used as a car, boat or a place to hide under. Leaves can be blankets for a doll, and pine cones and sticks can be drumsticks.

  • Have fewer toys available.

Research shows that when there are fewer toys available to a child, they become more creative in finding different ways to play. It also increases their attention span. Rotate a new set of toys every month or two to change it up. Also, be aware that things like background TV noise can decrease attention to toys.

Our Speech Therapists’ Five Favorite Picture Books for Kindergarteners

By Clay Parlette,

Ding dong! Is that the bell? The school bell? Classes are starting across the country and that includes your kindergartener who you can’t believe is growing up so fast. Luckily there’s never a bad time to make a trip to the library or bookstore to find new books to enjoy with your child. Here are the five titles loved the most by our speech-language pathologists, with some tips on how to make reading time more educational for each one.

1. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

The iconic story of this snackin’ caterpillar is one that kids of all ages remember and enjoy. Not only does the book introduce children to the basics of a caterpillar’s lifestyle, it also includes many fun examples of food vocabulary that you can practice with your child. See if they can point out “strawberry,” “pickle,” or “plum.” This story is also great for sequencing, with its use of days of the week, and counting, with its use of numbers for each type of food that the caterpillar eats.

2. The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood

Another favorite with great illustrations and good vocabulary examples, The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear is a fun story with lots of potential learning activities. In the story, the mouse does a lot of things to try to hide his strawberry from the bear.  Ask your child to draw a picture about one of the things the mouse did and write a sentence that tells about their picture for a fun sentence generation activity.

3. The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister

This story is great for teaching your child about the concept of sharing and making friends. Higher level vocabulary adjectives like “wise,” “shiny,” and “pretty” are also included in the book. Like the other stories, practice having your child retell the story. You can also practice “cause and effect” with the story. Examples:

  • Cause: “Rainbow fish would not share his scales.”
    • Effect: “No one wanted to play with Rainbow fish.”
  • Cause: “Rainbow changed his mind and shared his scales.”
    • Effect: “Everyone wanted to play with Rainbow Fish again!”

4. The Mitten by Jan Brett

This classic Ukrainian folktale, retold by author and illustrator Jan Brett, is a recurring favorite with children receiving speech therapy at CSHC. Young readers are introduced to several new animals including a fox, a badger and a mole. In addition to the great animal vocabulary, there are many creative activities that can be done with this story. Examples include: cause and effect (cause: The mouse tickled the bear’s nose. effect: The bear sneezed.) and sequencing practice. Use this activity to practice retelling the story!

5. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst

The title says a lot about the plot of this story, using synonyms to teach your child to describe something bad. Like the other titles in this list, learning activities can include cause and effect, sequencing, and vocabulary. Most importantly, though, children are introduced to the concept of a bad day, how someone might act who is having a bad day, and how they can help make someone’s day better.

Five toys you have in your house right now that can help prepare your child for kindergarten

By Clay Parlette,

Toys, toys, toys! Not only can they be used for play, but also for teaching and preparing your child for school. There are all kinds of expensive educational toys available in stores today, but sometimes all it takes are the classics to introduce young kids to the basics of vocabulary, language concepts and following directions.

Did you know that 26.4% of Ohio children ages 0-5 are living in poverty? We’ve made it our mission to help all children be ready for school, because early language development is crucial to a child’s cognitive development and later success in life.

Here’s a handy list of five common toys you probably already have in your home, with a short explanation on how each one can help you teach your child in a fun and engaging way:

1. Blocks!

Blocks are a great tool for building words and constructing buildings and towers! While playing, consider introducing your child to some basic vocabulary and language concepts:

  • Vocabulary ideas: 
    • Block
    • Build
    • Bridge
    • Steps
    • Push
    • Stack
    • Turn
    • Fall
    • Put
    • …and any other words you want to teach or spell!
  • Sample Language Concepts:
    • This block is on the table.
    • This block is under the chair.
    • The ‘A’ block is in the back of the pile.
    • The ‘C’ block is in the front of the pile.
    • I’m holding the block up.
    • This block is in my lap.
    • I took the ‘D’ block out.
    • This block fell down.
    • You have more than me.
    • These blocks are different.
    • That tower is as tall as you!
    • This tower is short.
    • We have the same block!
    • I have less blocks than you.
    • That pile is big.
    • This block is little.
    • There are many blocks.
    • There are few blocks.
    • This block is hard.
    • This block is square.

You can also use these basic vocabulary and language concepts to practice simple directions!

  • Following Directions
    • Put the block in the shoe.
    • Give me the block.
    • Push the block.
    • Build a tall tower.
    • Turn this block.

2. Bubbles!

Who doesn’t love bubbles? Here are ways you can turn play time into a bubbly learning session!

  • Vocabulary ideas:
    • Bubble
    • Blow
    • Pop
    • Catch
    • Reach
    • Chase
    • Break
    • Wave
    • Shake
    • Turn
    • Twist
    • Move
  • Sample Language Concepts:
    • That bubble went far!
    • Look how shiny it is.
    • These bubbles are round.
    • The wand is close to your mouth!
    • Blow out.
    • I put the wand in the bottle.
    • That bubble is going up!
    • The bubbles are gone.
    • This one is bigger than that one.
    • This bubble is the biggest.
    • That bubble is high!
    • This one is floating low.
    • How many are there?
    • This bubble is going down.
    • Here are more bubbles!
    • Look how big this one is!
    • That bubble is little.
    • This bubble is moving slow.
    • They’re moving fast!
    • This one is not big.
    • There are no bubbles.

And, like the blocks, you can practice following directions with the new vocabulary and language concepts.

  • Following Directions:
    • Shake the bubbles.
    • Blow a bubble.
    • Give me the bubble wand, then tell me what you did.

3. Doll

Baby dolls, Barbie dolls, action figures and GI Joe dolls are all great ways to practice words and concepts that relate to the human body.

  • Vocabulary ideas:
    • Eyes
    • Nose
    • Hair
    • Ears
    • Mouth
    • Legs
    • Arms
    • Teeth
    • Hands
    • Foot
    • Toes
    • Fingers
    • Belly
    • Back
    • Chin
    • Cheek
    • Knee
    • Elbow
    • Dress
    • Blanket
    • Pants
    • Shirt
    • Socks
    • Shoes
    • Boots
    • Diaper
    • Bottle
  • Sample Language Concepts:
    • The doll’s hair is messy!
    • What a pretty outfit!
    • Uh oh, the doll’s face is dirty.
    • This baby needs a drink.
    • GI Joe wants to eat.
    • Go to sleep.
    • Let’s have the doll walk over here.
    • Do you want to hold the baby?
    • Let’s hug her.
    • I’m going to brush her hair.
    • Let’s wipe this spot off.
    • We need to change this diaper.
    • Why don’t you sing to the baby?
    • I just gave the doll a kiss!
    • I think it’s time to wash her.
  • Following Directions:
    • Give the baby a kiss.
    • Brush her teeth.
    • Feed the baby.
    • Wipe the baby’s mouth.
    • Pat baby on the back.
    • Sing to the baby.
    • Rock the baby.
    • Change the baby’s diaper.
    • Make the doll walk.
    • Put the doll to sleep.
    • Tickle the doll.
    • Take the baby’s dress off.

4. Play House & Furniture

Maybe it’s that antique house you had as a child or the modern house or play building that kids love today, play houses are wonderful for language development!

  • Vocabulary ideas:
    • House
    • Door
    • Car
    • Bell
    • Window
    • Chair
    • Table
    • Bed
    • TV
    • Steps
    • Stove
    • Sink
    • Mommy
    • Daddy
    • Baby
    • Dog
    • Eat
    • Go
    • Stop
    • Wait
    • Push
    • Hot
    • Up
    • Stuck
    • All Gone
    • Sleep
    • Hide
    • Help
  • Sample Language Concepts:
    • Hide under the bed.
    • Walk up the stairs.
    • Come down the steps.
    • Look inside the house.
    • Put the car in the garage.
    • Take the car out of the garage.
  • Following Directions:
    • Ring the doorbell.
    • Open the door.
    • Close the door.
    • Put Daddy in the car.
    • Put the baby in bed.
    • Make Mommy sit down.

5. Barn & Animals

Old MacDonald has more up his sleeve than just E-I-E-I-O! Use the animals to make learning fun.

  • Vocabulary ideas:
    • Cow
    • Horse
    • Dog
    • Chicken
    • Pig
    • Cat
    • Duck
    • Man
    • Wagon
    • Tractor
    • Barn
    • Door
    • Fence
    • Tail
    • Hat
    • Hi!
    • Bye!
    • Night-night!
    • Water
    • Open
    • Out
    • In
    • Pull
    • Go
    • Walk
    • Eat
    • Drink
  • Sample Language Concepts:
    • Put the cow in the barn.
    • Take the pig out.
    • Put the chicken on the fence.
    • The dog runs around and around.
    • The horse jumps over the fence.
  • Following directions:
    • Open the door.
    • Listen! The cow says “moo!”
    • Close the door.
    • Make the cow walk.
    • Make the dog run.
    • Make the horse jump.
    • Make the pig eat.
    • Make the chicken go to sleep.
    • Make the cow drink.

Don’t have these toys? These are only some of our favorites, but the same kinds of lessons can be taught with all kinds of other toys! Get creative and help your child enjoy play time in an educational way. Let us know your thoughts and successes!