Little Leaps Group Therapy transitioning to year-round school: What you should know
March 28, 2017
The Importance of Play Skills
November 24, 2015
“What do you mean you’re going to play? I thought you were supposed to be providing therapy?”
As therapists and educators, this is an all too common question that we get from parents. Play skills are important for several reasons. Through play, children can increase language and cognition, enhance motor skills, and learn the basics for socialization.
How many of you are hands on learners or learn by doing? That approach is used by us early on. Typically developing children usually learn to play naturally and we just join in for enhancement. For children with developmental delays, play skills don’t come as easily and they often require being taught. That often leads to frustration and questions of what toys they need, “how” to play, and what skills to work on. Many times, that is where therapists and teachers come in. However, to help out at home, below is a list of toys and ideas that may come in handy. Especially with the holidays, these ideas may give you the answers you’re looking for.
Chunky Puzzles(or any puzzles for that matter): Good for fine motor and visual tracking skills, matching, learning vocabulary, and task completion
Blocks: Practice color and shape recognition, fine and gross motor skills. Teach concepts of prepositions (on, under, next to, behind, in front, etc.), counting skills, hand-eye coordination, problem solving skills, sizes.
Stacking/Nesting toys: Also works on prepositions, sizes, hand-eye coordination, problem solving, concepts of full/empty, planning skills.
Balls: Turn taking, motor skills, sharing, tactile concepts (when you use balls of varying materials).
Toy Phones: Social skills, farewells/greetings, conversational skills
Baby dolls/animals: labeling clothing and body parts, teaches verbs (sleeping, eating, drinking, running, playing, etc.), answering questions (i.e. “where is your baby? What is it doing?”), learning feelings.
Baby Stroller/Grocery Cart: food vocabulary, verbs, answering questions, social skills
Cars/Trucks/Trains: Counting, part/whole relationships (door of the car, wheel of the car, etc.), verbs and adjectives, intraverbal/fill in the blank sentences such as “1,2,3, GO!” or “Up and DOWN,” who, what, where, questions.
Kitchen sets: Pretend cooking, learning food vocabulary, parts of the kitchen, verbs, social skills (serving, asking what they want to eat), following/giving directions.
Potato Head: Learning body parts, asking for items, learning clothing items, colors
Doll House: Learning part/whole relationships, basic concepts such as sizes, colors, counting, shapes. Manipulating dolls to use verbs, prepositions.
Dress Up clothes: fine motor skills, vocabulary, pretend play
Sand/Water Play Tables and Toys: Sensory, concepts (smooth/rough, full empty, etc.), social/pragmatic skills, verbs.
Any Cause and Effect Toys: Fine motor skills and obviously cause and effect
Other tips to remember:
Ditch the batteries
Get open ended toys
Go back to the basics
Don’t worry about gender
Remember to work on language and cognition. Not necessarily academics or ABC’s and 123’s