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Sunday, November 25, 2018

Talking About Toys

Last year I wrote a couple of blog posts about ways to use various toys to build language - just about this gift-giving time of year.  You can read those posts here and here.

So, this year, I’m going to do a little of the same, but with a slightly different format. (This post contains affiliate links).  This week and next I will be pointing out some cool toys and books and ways to use them to build your child’s language, whether he is an aac user or not.

Melissa and Doug toys came out after my kids were grown, so I'm not as familiar with them.  All of us parents can appreciate the manufacturer trying to instill a love for cleaning in our children. But if you’ve read any of my posts about using routines to build language, you can anticipate how I feel about this toy.  

This Let’s Play House Dust! Sweep! Mop! set gives us an opportunity to use core verbs and adjectives, such as; clean, sweep, mop, push, help, brush, wipe, pick up, put.  The added bonus is, of course, a small area of clean.

This tea party set is perfect to pair with the Toca Boca Tea Party app.  I wrote a blog post about using this app in therapy, which can, of course, also be done at home.  There are many opportunities within the app - or just in playing tea party without the electronic plug-in - to make requests, descriptions, and comments.  From “I want…” and “I like…” to “Oh no!” upon spilling and “Help me” during the washing of dishes.

There is a tendency to shy away from toys like telephones that require the user to talk when a child doesn’t speak.  But given an aac system, there is no reason why your child can’t have a conversation. And this is a great way to pretend and build skills at the same time.
Telephone toys are a staple of SLP toy boxes. I still have some pink plastic phones from a kit that’s decades old!  You can work on greetings, recounts of experiences, answering and asking questions.  Have “conversations” with favorite characters or even community helpers. What would you say if you were calling a doctor? A pizza parlor? A grandparent?

Last of all for this week, is this fun-looking food truck.  I know we spend too much time working on language around eating.  For some of our children, food is the universal motivator.  For others, who are picky eaters, here is your opportunity to expand their horizons without a battle of wills to try some for real.
Practice making requests, and frame them as an “order.” Have the child offer you choices, ring up your purchase, ask questions, and make comments.  The stove lights up and the sink is interactive. Talk about them, and have fun!

Next week  I’ll offer some fun winter book choices. Until then, keep on talking.

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