It's the annual Christmas gift debate...do I choose a gift that helps them learn or a gift that is fun? What if we told you that you don't have to choose? You can have both! That's right....YOU CAN HAVE BOTH!
The amazing staff at Little Big and LOUD have put together this holiday gift guide for you so that the gifts you buy this Christmas can encourage both learning and fun. We hope you put this gift guide to good use and share it with others who you know may need it.
Now pull up that Amazon cart and get to shopping! "Alexa, add to cart...."
Speech/Language Pathologist Toy List
Pop-up Pirate is a great game to target turn-taking, waiting, sharing, and listening. Use the toy pieces to your advantage to target colors, vocabulary, and sorting/categories. Use this toy with 2-people or with a group and use each turn to focus on a specific target such as articulation (i.e. say the word 3 times before your turn). This game is especially fun because you never know which sword is going to pop-up the pirate, and the anticipation for the kids is amazing!
Farm Animals (or any animals, bugs, etc.) Using farm animals, or any animals for that matter, is a great way to target early developing sounds and vocabulary. Label the animals using their names and their sounds, pausing to provide ample opportunity for your child to imitate. Target receptive language by asking your child to find the animal (i.e. "where's the cow?") or to find the animal that makes a certain sound (i.e. "who says moo?"). You can make these tasks easier by decreasing the number of choices, modeling, guiding hand over hand, simplifying the request. You can make these tasks harder by including more animals, using more complex language, or moving items out of sight. Target basic concepts using animals by pairing words with movements/actions. Target pretend play by making the animals eat, drink, run, walk, fly, or whatever your child wants them to do.
Kitchen/Play Food is a great tool to target so many things including food vocabulary; color words; sorting/categories (i.e., color, vegetable, fruit, yummy/yucky, etc.); taste words (i.e., sour, sweet, etc.); and imitation of actions, sounds, and words. If your play food can "cut", you can target even more vocabulary like fork, knife, cut, chop, careful, sharp, pull, etc. With a play kitchen, you can target basic concepts like location words (i.e., in, on, out), action words (i.e., shake, cooking, open/close), and common routines like washing hands. Pretend to eat the food and model pretend eating sounds, exclamatory words (i.e., "yummy", "yuck"), etc. Kids love to actually eat the pretend food so if you're sharing make sure to sanitize!
Paw Patrol Tower School age children these days all seem to know who the Paw Patrol friends are! I use my Paw Patrol tower to target so many things from language to articulation. Target receptive language by asking wh- questions ("who is this?", "where is ____?", what is _____ doing?"). Target expressive language by expanding on your child's utterances, using sentence strips or carrier phrases to increase vocabulary and to increase length of utterances, model more complex vocabulary during pretend play, and so much more. Target articulation during pretend play by using the characters as teachers or students (i.e., "can Rubble say ___?"). This can make practicing our sounds a little bit more fun.
Playskool Busy Ball Popper is such a fun game for early intervention! You can use this for requesting, labeling, and utterance expansions. There's a button on the back so you can turn it on and off easily. Turn it off and ask your child to say a "magic word" to make the balls come out. Vocabulary: out, push, ball, colors, in, pop up, small, move, around, down.
Zingo comes in several different versions so there's so many things you can target! Target academic vocabulary, common objects, letters, numbers, turn taking and patterns. Great for kids 3 and up!
Poppin' Pipes are super addicting!! They are great for bringing out your child's creativity. These tubes connect so you can make so many thing. Make a circle and pretend it's a steering wheel! Take turns driving and going over bumps, slam on your brake/gas, take sharp turns, crash, beep and boom! Use it as a microphone, telescope, ear phone...the possibilities are endless!
Hisss is a great game that builds snakes by matching colors. You can work on the meanings of words like short, long, slither, skinny/thin, colorful/colors!
Occupational Therapist Toy List
Avalanche and Connect Four Board Games are great games to develop social interaction skills including turn taking and sharing. Developing emotional regulation skills like waiting your turn and listening in order to follow directions are also addressed with these games. These games also develop fine motor skills as they use tongs to practice grasping skills in Avalanche and hand eye coordination in Connect Four.
Pop Beads or Stringing Beads are a great early intervention tool! They develop finger strength, coordination, and the ability to use two hands together. They come in a variety of sizes so use the larger beads for younger kids and smaller beads for older kids to make jewelry and work on visual motor skills including sequencing and fine motor skills.
Lite Brite uses a vertical surface which helps improve wrist positioning and pencil grasp for functional writing skills, as well as arm and shoulder strengthening. Development of fine motor skills using the small lites, visual motor skills, motor planning skills, and executive functioning skills when copying a pattern.
Rush Hour is a great game to develop visual integrations, executive functioning, emotional regulation, problem solving, fine motor skills, and visual spatial awareness.
Sensory Toys such as kinetic sand, Twister, and a mini trampoline are all great for sensory play, imitation skills, body awareness, vestibular input, balance and motor planning.
We hope this helps make your shopping a little easier this year!
We wish you a Merry Christmas,
Ms. Ashley, Ms. Liz, and Ms. Lauren