At Little Peas, we love supporting all things Speech and Language via play! Today we are going to highlight various skills you can support using toys most people have at home; a barn and farm animals.
Early expressive language: Animal sounds, environmental sounds, and exclamations are great things to start with because they’re so fun to make and tend to be vowel heavy, thus easier for our little ones to produce. Try modeling them while playing with the animals and maybe a tractor (vrrrroooom, beep beep). Don’t be afraid to get a little silly, one of my go to’s is putting animals on my head and pretending to sneeze (achoo) and having them going flying off (oh no, uh oh, woah!).
Pretend play: Have fun with it! Come up with a new narrative each time or build a whole world; maybe Ms. Horse needs a spa day, maybe Mr. Pig lost a piglet, maybe there’s a singing competition amongst the animals, or maybe the whole barn decides to go to an amusement park, which brings us to…
Combining toys: Pair some unlikely toys together; all the animals are going down the slide at the amusement park! “Oh no, now they’re all tired and we need to get some blankets (tissues) to let them take a nap.”
Turn taking and sharing: “Oh, it’s my turn to put Ms. Horse down the slide, you can put Mr. Pig down next, or maybe we could trade?”
Later expressive language: Model descriptors, verbs, and pronouns; see what your kids come up with! “Uh oh, the big, pink pig is falling! Can you help them, they need you! Woah, the silly cow is hiding under the tractor!”
Receptive language: Try some 1-2 step directions, you can even play a round of Simon Says. “Can you help me find the pig and put him in the tractor? Simon says put the pig outside and put the chicken in the nest.”
One toy, so many ways to play! These are just a few ideas but the list goes on! We’d love to hear some of your favorite ways to use farm toys! What’s the silliest story you’ve come up with or one that cracks your kids up every time?
-Katie Jarvis M.S., CCC-SLP