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Crawl Walk Jump Run Blog

Playtime is Essential

Play is an essential part of your child’s development. Giving children the opportunity to play allows them to develop a strong foundation in their communication skills, motor skills, cognitive skills, and social skills. Read more for tips on how to make the most of your child’s playtime! 

The best part is: play does not have to be fancy or expensive! There are several items that can be found at the dollar store or around the house that your child will love.

Here are some of the toys/activities I love to use and ideas for how to implement language into that play routine:  

  • Bubbles

    • Eye contact/joint attention (wait for shift in eye contact from bubbles to you before blowing, catch bubble on stick and move it around watching if child tracks with their eyes before letting them pop)
    • Speech sound production (/b/ in isolation, /bubu/ reduplicated syllable, bubble, pop, etc.)
    • Requesting (sign, vocalization, or combination: more, all done, bubble, etc.)
    • Phrase completion (ready…set…___[go])
    • gesture/use of point (point to bubbles to direct your child’s attention, facilitating child’s use of point to pop bubble)
  • Blocks

    • Imitation of motor movement (pushing blocks, stacking blocks, pushing/kicking over blocks)
    • Identifying colors
    • Counting
    • Requesting
    • Following directions (put on, take off, give me, etc.)
    • Varied syllable shapes
    • Turn taking (my turn, your turn, whose turn is it?, etc).
    • Prepositions (on, next to, behind, in front of, etc.)

Suggestion: you can use small blocks, large blocks, tape together boxes that you have at home

  • Farm animals

    • Consonants in isolation (p [pig] d [duck] h [horse] etc.)
    • Vowels in isolation (e-i-e-i-o [old mcdonald])
    • Reduplicated syllables (neigh neigh, baa baa, moo moo, etc.)
    • Requesting
    • Gross motor imitation (have animal do something and you and child imitate…hop like bunny, stomp like cow, etc.)
    • Pretend play (have animals eat, make animals talk, etc.)

Suggestion: you can use toy figures, pictures, in book, sing Old McDonald)

  • Puppets

    • Eye contact/Joint attention (shift eye contact between puppet and person controlling puppet, follow movement of puppet with eyes, etc.)  
    • Cause/effect (ex: when child reaches hand up, this signals puppet to pretend eat their hand)
    • Perspective taking (puppet has their own words, feelings, emotions)
    • Pretend play/imagination (uses language to create story of what puppet is doing, dialogue between puppet and someone else, etc.)

Suggestion: You can buy puppet, make sock puppet, use a brown lunch bag and make puppet

  • Books

    • Turn taking (turning the page, saying a keyword, reading the page)
    • Sustaining engagement (child participates for __pages or ___min dependent on their age and level of function)
    • Object identification (identify object on page with point, verbally label object that you point to)
    • Descriptive language (quantitative [all, some, many, counting], qualitative [big, small, shiny, colors, etc.])
    • Story retell (read child the story and then have them tell it back to you)

Suggestion: You can buy books, google free books online, make a book of your own

If you think your child is in need of occupational, physical, or speech therapy call us today to set up a FREE screening at 586-323-2957!

Written by: Caroline Farney, M.S., CF-SLP

More to explore

The decision to seek therapy is not always an easy one. If you're looking for life improvement, we want you know that we've got your back!

We invite you schedule a call If you have further questions regarding OT/PT/SLP services for kids and adults at Crawl Walk Jump Run in Clinton Township