My resources cupboard is full of mainstream toys that I use in my Speech Therapy sessions. These are much cheaper to buy than specialist resources, and can be easily adapted to be both educational and fun.
These are my top tips to help you invest in popular toys that can be adapted for speech therapy.
1. What skills does the manufacturer claim it develops? Usually the box will have a reference guide that states whether they intend this toy to promote communication development, motor skills, social interaction etc.
2. What areas of development are your students strong in and needing to work on. It’s important that a toy engages the child’s strengths while helping develop other areas. If the toy is too challenging, they won’t want to use it.
3. Ask parents – what do their children like to play with already? This one is a delicate balance between giving them something they will love to play with because it is familiar and widening the scope of their interests. What toys do they just love at the neighbor’s house or at Kindergarten?
4. What do YOU like to play with? This is a really important one. By choosing toys that you enjoy and are excited by, you will increase the enthusiasm you bring to a session.
5. No batteries please! Many of the best selling toys on the market today are computer games or battery powered remote control type toys. Kids love these and of course they are great fun but often the learning potential is much less than some of the more traditionally designed toys that help children to build their imagination. You will be surprised what delights you will find if you filter out all the “modern technology”. Skip by all the remote control toys and learning pads and take a close look at what is left. I can promise you will find some real quality toys hiding in there between the battery chargers and the ipads!
Other language development activities you might like…