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  • Katie Jarvis M.S., CCC-SLP

Play with Toy figures such as Fisher Price Little People, Dolls, or Animals

Little toy figures are a staple in our therapy rooms because they are so versatile for a variety  of language targets. Here are just a few ideas to get your creative ideas flowing: 

Early expressive language: Exclamations are always favorites for early language because they’re easy to say and who doesn’t love the excitement they bring to play? You can model a doll falling (oh no!). You can also model short utterances narrating

what the doll is doing, action words are

great for this (jump, eat, slide, swing).

Pretend play: I don’t think I need to explain this one much, little figures are so conducive to pretend play.  They could go on an epic quest to slay a dragon or just pretend to do a typical daily activity (going to school, playing at home, etc.). You don’t have to have all the accessories to make this one fun, for example, a tissue doubles as a perfect bed for a fun bedtime routine. 

Social language: You can incorporate turn taking or trading figures very seamlessly but you can also model social language scripts which can be invaluable and applicable to so many different social scenarios. For example, if I know a kid is having a hard time sharing, I can model age appropriate dialogue between two characters having a disagreement and ultimately compromising; or if they’re having trouble initiating play with peers, I can model a variety of ways to do so with characters; or if they’re having trouble talking about feelings, I can model different ways characters share feelings. Modeling functional language for tricky scenarios can really empower kids to do it themselves. 

Receptive language: Following directions also is a great way to work on receptive language when playing with these (“Susie needs to get something to eat, can you take her to the kitchen”, “oh, no Billy forgot his stuffy in the bathtub, can you help him find it and then put him back in the car”). 

There are endless possibilities for building language with little toy figures. Hopefully this will give you a good starting point.

-Katie Jarvis M.S., CCC-SLP



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