Preschoolers and toddlers don't want to play in your speech therapy session? We have all been there! It took me a while to realize that it was because I wasn't using toys that met them at their of play! I also needed to remember - some kids aren’t ready for toys and the SLP is the best toy!
Here are top toys for different levels of play across ages. These can be applicable for Early Intervention, Preschool Speech Therapy, and in School Aged Speech Therapy. (You can see that may open-ended toys are suitable across levels - which is why SLPs LOVE them!)
Parallel and Solitary Play: Blocks, Puzzles, Beads, Crayons, Markers, Paint, Clay, Playdough, Sand, Water, Lego, Magnetic Drawing Board, Aquadoodle, Stickers
Co-operative Play: Housekeeping toys, Doctor set, Dolls, Dress up clothes, Vehicles, Blocks, Lego
Sensorimotor Play: Chunky Beads, Clay, Playdough, Sand, Water, Cups, Boxes, Shape Sorter, Chunky Puzzles, Sensory Bins, Hammer and Ball Toy, Push/Pull toys, Poke a Dot Books, Textured Balls, Tag Books/Blankets, Pop up Toy
Constructive Play: Blocks, Puzzles, Art Materials, Lego, Bristle Blocks, K’nex, Magformers, Lincoln Logs, Tinker Toys, Boxes, Sticks, Gears, Zoobs, Play foam, Stacking Blocks
Dramatic Play: Doctor Set, Vet Set, Melissa and Doug Wooden Toys, Pretend food, Dress up clothes, Telephone, Cash Register, Dishes, Doll, Doll clothes, Tea Set, Stuffed Animal
3 Quick Tips Provide long blocks of time to play (30-50 minutes)
Offer a variety of play materials Allow the child to see the toys when they enter the room
Remember - there is no 'right' way to play! This is just meant as a guideline to help you along the way.
Need a handout summarizing these for future reference? Make sure to grab this freebie from the Email Subscriber Exclusive library! (You'll get the password when you sign up for the email list! Sign up at the bottom of this page!)
Adapted from: Johnson, J. E., Christie, J. F., & Yawkey, T. D. (1987). Play and early childhood development. (F. Wardle, Photographer). Scott, Foresman & Co.