Classroom Freebies

Giving the Gift of Language: Using Play to Build Skills

Winter holiday season usually means gift-giving season here in the U.S.  Which means opportunities to get kids up off the couch, to get them away from their technology, and to get them building interaction skills.


While any game that requires turn taking and wait can be used to increase those basic social skills, toys and games offer multiple opportunities to build language skills.

Some toys and games have been specifically designed with language skills in mind.  One that I used to use in therapy all the time was a game from Ravensburger called P is for Popcorn. [I am not an affiliate, and am receiving nothing from that company for mentioning them.]  
That said, they have made some great language building games over the years.  
This particular game requires players to name an item in a specified category that begins with a given initial letter.  Just naming items in categories can be difficultlt for some of our students.  Add in the need to begin with a specific letter and they’re stumped.  Actually, the kids with significant language disorders I used to work with loved this game.





Open-ended play sets are my favorite for developing language skills.  Give me a play set (think Fisher-Price or Playmobil, or even Lego), and I’m set for many intervention sessions with multiple targets.  
Play sets allow me to put characters in specific locations (following directions, understanding prepositions, knowing the rooms of the building involved), provide dialogue between two figures (social language/conversation skills, asking/answering Wh questions), move figures in specified ways (understand actions and adverbs), and more!

Here is an information sheet to help parents think about ways to encourage language while they play with their children, and to help them think about what types of toys they buy this season. Just click on the link above.

Have a great rest of the year and a safe New Year’s Eve.  Keep on talking!