The children that I am seeing for speech and language therapy right now are too young for this game….however….I did want to tell you that I LOVE Hedbanz.  It is great for working on answering and asking WH questions.  The cartoon pictures on the headband are separated in three categories: animal, food or man-made object.  So not only does it address WH questions.  It also is great for working on categories.

When I work with older children…specifically the girl, Lauren, that I have dedicated one of my pages to….we work on the ability to indicate the category the object belongs in….so if Lauren and I were working together…and I gave her the word: BANANA….I would want her to be able to tell me the category and at least two attributes (characteristics)….so it would look something like this:

A banana is a fruit….it is yellow and you peel the skin.

Hedbanz really helps children with answering and answering WH questions…and also helps children to categorize objects….and also teaches them to use describing words (attributes) about the objects.

Have fun this is a great toy!

You can find at: www.amazon.com  www.target.com   www.walmart.com









Over the past 19 or so years I have had this game in my speech therapy bag….I have used the game so often that I frequently have to buy a new one.  I do not have Guess Who in my speech bag right now….but definetly need to buy the latest version.  The game indicates that it should be played with children 6 and up….however…with the little ones…(and I mean the three and four-year olds that I see)….it is a great game to work on answering and asking WH questions.


Each player starts the game with a board that includes cartoon images of 24 people and their first names. The game starts with each player selecting a card of their choice from a separate pile of cards containing the same 24 images. The object of the game is to be the first to determine which card one’s opponent has selected. Players alternate asking various yes or no question to eliminate candidates, such as:

“Does this person wear glasses?”  “Does this person have brown hair?”  “Is this person a boy?”……(Well-crafted questions allow players to eliminate one or more possible cards).

You can definitely find this game on Amazon: www.amazon.com  and also at www.hasbro.com.  The game says that it is for children 6 and up….however…I have played this game with the three and four-year old children that I see for therapy.  I do not have this game in my speech therapy bag anymore…basically because I played it so often….the game now needs to be replaced….in the meantime…there now is a new version of the game.

Anyway…what I was going to say is that even though it is targeted for children 6 and up….I LOVED this game for the three and four-year olds that were learning how to ask WH questions…who, what, where, when, why and how.

This is a perfect game to teach your little one how to ask WH questions…and how to answer WH questions.











I do not have this exact book that I have shown above….but I have a few of the Priddy books…..I wanted to write a post about how you can teach your toddler to point to pictures in a book.

Yesterday I was lucky enough to meet two absolutely adorable little twin boys….I have never seen 16 month old little boys with eye-lashes so long and beautiful…they were both so sweet…anyway…..sitting with their mom and dad…I told them to look on my site for information regarding language development and how to enhance both expressive and receptive language.  We also talked about how to teach children to point to pictures in a book…which is a different skill than pointing to an object that you desire and want….read more below for information about pointing as a non-verbal means of communication.

When I was blogging last night….I realized that I had not yet posted about how you can teach your little one to point to pictures.  As I said just above…asking your child to find/point/locate a picture in a book is a different skill than pointing to obtain a need.  When you ask your child to point to a picture in a book…that is a receptive language skill…this refers to your child’s understanding of language.  When you say to her…show me the apple in the book…she may…if she can…point to the picture…as I said…this is a receptive language skill.


Pointing as an expressive means of communication (the child’s ability to let her parent know what she wants by pointing to the object):

Pointing may seem like it is a skill that has little importance…however…in the very little ones….children that do not yet have verbal language…I am hoping that they have some means of communication….even if it is non verbal.

So I often ask parents:  is your child able to point to a desired item that is out of her reach…to non-verbally ask you that she wants the item…….is your child able to bring you an item…such as a book or a ball….to non-verbally say…hey mom….read this to me….or hey mom let’s play with the ball.   And finally, does your little one…pull on your leg…and they try and pull you to a desired object…to let you know that she needs your help and that she wants something.

The little ones that I see that DO NOT have the ability to communicate non-verbally…often are struggling in other areas too….because they have not yet made the connection that non-verbally..by pointing, showing or pulling…they can get what they want.

However, the goal of this post….is to help you help your little one…understand how to point to a picture in a book..now keep in mind…this is a receptive task…meaning you will be asking her to find a certain picture and point to it….this is not an expressive task.  She is not pointing to make a request (above I described pointing to make a request…which is considered to be an expressive task…because she is letting you know what she wants)…..the goal of this post is to address your little one’s ability to locate a picture that you have named.

So….I like to start off with the Priddy books….one because they are real pictures..not cartoon drawings….so most likely your child will be more familiar with these pictures.  They are less abstract and more concrete…because they are actual pictures.  Second…this is not a story that you are reading to your child…so it is a good starting point for working on pointing skills….because you will be looking at the book with your little one…and just labeling the pictures…you will not be reading words-as in a typical children’s book.

So when you open the book and see pictures of such things as: baby, apple, car, boat, shoe, sock, dog, cat…(etc…you get the idea)….you are going to say the word: APPLE….as you use YOUR finger and point to the apple.  And then continue throught the book labeling the pictures..and pointing to them as you say the name of the picture.

Go through the book frequently…..do not place any language demands on your child…you do the talking and the pointing.  After you feel she has become familiar with the book….take the book out and now ask her where the pictures are…keeping your language simple…changing your inflection in your speech to keep your child interested and motivated…use facial expression to show excitment…and say: Where’s apple?….you may have to say: Show me the apple?….or Point to the apple.  If your little one does not understand the language…remember to use the strategy RSA(ready, set, action)…this just means that you will help her by…taking her finger…and as you say: Point to the apple….help her to point to the apple.  Eventually….through practice…she will understand the direction and she will point to the named picture.

I hope this was helpful…and I know for sure that you can find the Priddy Books at: www.amazon.com






Kids love to use a tunnel like this during play…for children that present with an autism spectrum disorder….this is a favorite activity of mine…WHY….because it is good to use for pairing yourself with a favorite activity such as this…so that the child with an autism spectrum disorder is motivated to be social with you because of this motivating activity….good for encouraging eye contactreciprocal play…and social play.  This activity is also good for a language impaired child….and using the self talk and parallel talk strategies (found on the teach me to talk page).

For more information about autism spectrum disorders and a favorite link of mine, go to: www.rdiconnect.com

I know for sure you can find toy tunnels at target: www.target.com





Mr. Potato Head has been in my speech therapy bag since I started working back in 1993.  It is a great toy to work on body parts….asking your little one to locate various body parts…..or you name the body parts during play.   I am sure to use the strategies of self talk and parallel talk (filed under the TEACH ME TO TALK PAGE above) in order to enhance language development.  Remember when playing with your little one…you can encourage language development by using self talk and parallel talk.

Be sure to……have fun with your little one by making mistakes and being the “silly mama” (this is also a strategy I use during therapy…..and you will find this strategy under the TEACH ME TO TALK PAGE).  When you are the silly mama….you make mistakes during play to see if your child will either verbally or non-verbally tell you that you made a mistake.  What does that mean…..try putting Mr. Potato Head’s shoes on his head….does your child verbally correct you by saying NO…..or does she non-verbally tell you by putting the shoes under Mr. Potato Head.

I also like this toy when working on spatial concepts such as: on, above, under, on the side, next two, between.  You can also address color concepts when working/playing with Mr. Potato Head.   Mr. Potato Head is helpful when working on concepts such as: you need your eyes to see, your nose to smell, and your ears to hear.

Be sure to look under categories….for speech at home….here you will see some examples of what a typical speech and language therapy session looks like.







Find Play Smart! on Apple’s APP STORE & I-Book Store

Play Smart! empowers parents with the tools needed to stimulate learning and development.  Parents are provided with activities and strategies that are easy to read, understand and use.  The activities will enhance your child’s cognition, play skills, social skills, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, expressive language and receptive language skills.  Most importantly, Play Smart! provides parents with activities that can be done within the home environment or out in the community without having to buy anything!  Imagine being able to improve your child’s overall development without having to purchase expensive materials.  Parents often think that they need to buy expensive educational materials in order to help facilitate learning and development, when  we have the tools within our homes.  As working mothers, the authors of Play Smart!  know that making time to work with your child on their development may be difficult to fit in to a busy schedule.  Play Smart! provides you with activities that can be done in an unstructured way during day to day interactions with your child.  You will be amazed how you learn to incorporate the strategies and activities into your daily routines with your child.  Once you are exposed to the tools you need to stimulate learning and development, you will become a natural at utilizing the Play Smart! activities.

Play Smart! was written collectively by speech and language pathologists, special educators, occupational therapists, teachers of the speech and hearing handicapped, and elementary educators.  After many years of working with young children and parents, the authors, in a collaborative effort, came up with the idea Play Smart!   The authors know that it is not a matter of what toy you buy, what book you read, or how many craft activities you have for your child. What really matters is how you utilize what you have.

What’s inside Play Smart! ?

Our book provides 150 activities for infants, toddlers, preschoolers and school-aged children.  Each activity tells you how and why the play activity is important for your child.  You will be amazed at how simple it is to stimulate and enrich your child’s overall development with everyday routine activities. Simple activities such as “peek-a-boo” and blowing bubbles can be done in a more enriching way.  Bathtime and cooking in the kitchen are perfect opportunities to enhance growth and development in your child.  Play Smart! will teach you how to play and why you are playing.  Play Smart! teaches parents to play with a purpose.  The knowledge and experience the authors have attained over the past years has allowed them to develop this much needed helpful and creative book. Their hope is that they provide you with all of the tools that will allow you to PLAY and learn with your child without the need to purchase any materials, books, or toys while enhancing their overall development. Play Smart! teaches parents how to play with a purpose.

Added Features:

The authors provide you with contact information so that you can email the Play Smart team with questions.  If you have questions regarding the empowering activities included in Play Smart! you can email the Play Smart team.  If you have questions regarding your typically developing child, email the Play Smart team.  If you have questions regarding your special needs child, email the Play Smart team.  The Play Smart team can also answer specific questions related to speech and language development, fine motor development, cognition, play skills and adaptive skills.  The Play Smart team can answer your specific questions related to therapy, goals, and the most effective types of intervention.  The Play Smart team wants to empower you.





The parachute is another favorite speech therapy toy of mine.  I have added to the list of my favoritesfor speech and language delayed children….and also for children that present with an autism spectrum disorder.


A few years back…while doing research on the autism spectrum disorders….and doing reasearch on RDI…(for more specific information and very helpful information…..please go to their website: www.rdiconnect.com )……..well in doing my research I found that I really needed to change the toys I used with children on the spectrum…..I needed to really encourage social interaction….and I needed to stop talking!   Why…..because sometimes…..too much talking….is too much for children on the spectrum…..let’s make the goal for her to desire to play with me…..to like my toy so much…that she chooses to engage in the activity with me.

Well…in doing some of my own research about autism spectrum disorders and RDI….and with the help of families I was working with….I was able to better understand the philosophy and the model that RDI purposes.  For me….as the speech and language pathologist, working on the team…..as the related service provider…I had to learn how to develop a more meaningful and connected relationship with children on the spectrum…..sometimes without any language at all….and that was hard for me.  But I found….and still find….that simple activities like airplane rides on your legs…bouncy on a big yoga ball……singing “row-row-row-your-boat”…..on the floor….holding hands with the little one….and moving back and forth together…….these non-verbal activities….achieved so much non-verbal social language.  The eye contact that was established back and forth between me and the child….the smile from the little one…the giggle or laugh…..and then when I stopped…..eventually we would hear a real and meaningful word…..to tell me that she wanted to ”jump” again on the trampoline…..or she would say….”bounce”….because she wanted to bounce again on the big yoga ball.  Amazing to hear functional and spontaneous language…that was social and meaningful.

So to add to my list of favorite toys…..I add the parachute…..kids of all ages seem to like this activity.  For children that are NOT on the autism spectrum….be sure to use the strategies of self talk and parallel talk…..and expansion in order to elicit language.  Find those strategies on the teach me to talk page.

If you are working with a child on the autism spectrum….this activity can be used without any language demands at all…..as you start to pair yourself with an activity that the child truly desires……she should then desire to engage in the activity with you!  If you read on my autism spectrum disorders page…you will see that it has been my experience that children on the spectrum…..struggle with spontaneous and functional language….language that is not scripted…language that is used with meaning on a spontaneous level.  The other weakness is noted with regard to the child’s desire to be social and engage in an activity with someone else.  So with an activity such as the parachute…a Yoga ball…a trampoline….playing row-row-row-your-boat…..or giving your little one an airplane ride on your legs…..all of these activities can be used in a non-verbal way….to elicit social interaction with your little one….and used to help them to desire to be social with you!





This Elmo felt board book has been in my bag for at least 10 years…..I could not even tell you where I purchased this book from….but I do know that you can find it on www.amazon.com

The felt book opens up…and the first page is of Elmo’s room…the second page isSesame Streetand the third page is of a play ground.  The book then opens up to Elmo’s school.

Elmo and many of his friends are felt pieces that come with the book…Elmo…Zoey…Telly…Elmo’s mommy….Elmo’s daddy…Oscar…Ernie…Bert.. Big Bird..Praire Dawn.and many more.  There are also felt pictures of Elmo’s toys….a picture he painted…Basketball…and other objects.

This book is great to work on following directions such as: put Elmo on the bed……put Elmo on the chair….knock on Elmo’s door….put Elmo on the swing…put Elmo next to the kids eating cookies.

When you open up Elmo’s book and see his classroom…you can work on answering questions such as: Show me who is eating?  Show who me is coloring?  This works on your child’s ability to understand action words.  You  can reinforce this skill by looking at the individual felt pieces…there are various actions indicated….for example: Grover reading, Big Bird Jumping, Elmo running, and Elmo sitting.  If your child does not understand action words just yet….show her the felt piece and then say: Grover reading!  Next, point to the felt piece and the book that Grover is holding…and show her Grover reading. After reviewing the felt pieces…show your little one two felt pieces….and say: Point to reading…see if she is able to receptively identify the picture.

During play you can encourage expressive language skills simply by talking…..be sure to use the strategies of self talk, parallel talk and expansion when using this book during play.  Remember those strategies are listed under the teach me to talk page.





The Diego rescue center is a great speech therapy toy to work on expanding expressive and receptive language development.  Use the strategies of self talk and parallel talk filed under the teach me to talk page to enhance overall language skills.

When working with your little one…rather than asking too many questions…use your language to talk about what you are doing during play….and use your language to talk about and describe what your little one is doing.  This toy is also perfect for working on spatial concepts such as: over, next to, under, below, behind, in front……….remember during play….if your child is able to see what in front of means….because you are putting Diego in front of Dora…..this will better help her to understand language….WHY….because when you tie your actions with your words you are helping your little one to understand the words.

Location words such as: next to, in the middle, in front of…..can be very abstract for little one’s to understand….so be sure during play to tie your words and action together.

Remember the strategies of self talk and parallel talk can be used with almost any play activity.





Crayola Beginnings Baby Drop and See

This toy is for children 9 months and up….and I have to say that the children I see…even up to two and a half and three years of age…they love to play with it!  It comes with three different balls…red, orange and blue…and it is a cause and effect toy… first the child puts the ball into the top opening….next she has to push the sun down to make the ball roll towards the bird…then she has to push the bird down and the ball rolls towards the cat….and finally…..she has to pull down on the cat (this requires a little assistance even for the two and a half-year olds)….and the ball rolls out of the toy….and the child hears: Ta-Da-Ta-Doodle!

I personally like this toy when working on following simple directives….you can tie the action with your language…this is something I continually talk about…tieing your words with your action will help your little one to understand language better.  So when I play the game with a little one…I hand her one of the balls…identify the color of course….ask her to put the ball in…if she can not understand this direction…I say ball in as I help her to put the ball in the opening at the top of the toy.

After the ball is in the toy….I say: Push Sun….now most of the little ones that are having difficulty in the understanding of language….can not understand this direction…so hand over hand…..I help her to push the sun….now the ball rolls towards the bird.  Next….I ask her to push bird…..if she can’t I help her…hand over hand we push down on the bird…and finally….I say….pull down cat (as I said this one is the most difficult…but eventually she will understand the direction).

When playing with this toy I like to also address…first…next…and last.  First you push the sun…next you push the bird…and last pull down the cat.   Most importantly though…..I like to address first and next with the little ones that are having difficulty in understanding of language.  I know I have written about this before in previous posts…..what is so amazing….is that ONCE your little  one actually understands that she has to do something FIRST….and then NEXT…..she will get the desired object or choice…..she will then begin to understand turn taking, transitions, being more adaptable and flexible in a situation, deal with her frustration better….and learn that even if she is unable to verbalize her desire…and even if understanding of language is challenging….she will get what she wants….but FIRST she must complete something else.

Some of the little ones want the reward of playing with a favorite game….a free play activity that places less language demands….so I can use this as the reward.  However, the activity I am choosing (during the therapy session) will place slightly more demands upon the little one…however…once she realizes that FIRST she completes the puzzle…and then NEXT we engage in a free play activity…she will then have an easier time with tranisitions…in dealing with her frustration and being more adaptable in certain situations……you would be amazed at how these simple words carry over into the home environment as well.






One of my friends picked this toy up for me….and I just love it.  You open up the box and there are four different faces you can choose from.  Each face just shows the head and hair.  It comes with 59 magnetic pieces…eyes, nose, mouth, teeth, ears, bow-ties, mustaches…etc.  The kids love it….so much fun….and making the faces look really silly makes the little ones laugh and very motivated to play.  A great toy for working on body parts….naming them (when showing your little one a NOSE…you ask her to tell you what it is)…this being an expressive language task.   Then on a receptive level you can ask your little one to find one of the body parts: Can you find a nose (there are lots of pieces so when I work on this skill…I present the little one with two or three pieces and ask her to find a body part).  You can also talk about the function of the body part: We need our eyes to see.  We need our ears to hear…our nose to smell.

You can find this toy at: www.leemagicpen.com





Main Product Image


I am not sure how I forgot to post specifically about this game……this was developed by my friend Melissa and me….many years back.  We sold the idea to Super Duper…and they loved it.  Descripto Dinos is a great vocabulary enriching game….so hope you have a chance to search for it on www.superduperinc.com







Being home sick today gave me the opportunity to purchase some new supplies for work-Yeah!  The game above, Ned’s Head, is incredibly fun…and boys, especially in the three to four range love this game.  Ned’s Head is great for children between three and five….and even up to six, seven, eight and nine….I think my ten year old would get a kick out of it also….but the four year olds really seem to enjoy!

I had the chance to play Ned’s Head with one of the little boys that I see.  He just had a birthday and recieved it as a present.  So the toy above is one of a few therapy toys that I just purchased today for work.  I ordered through www.amazon.com.  Through Amazon and the one click shopping…it makes ordering so simple…I like simple especially on a day when I am not feeling well.

This toy is great for vocabulary development, defining words, receptive language, expressive lanuage, turn taking, matching, understanding what the words “the same” means, and in auditory processing of language.  Ned’s Head comes with pieces that you put inside of the head…and your little one can retrieve the objects through Ned’s eyes, nose, mouth or ears.  Your little one then has to try and match the object to the one of the cards she was given before the game started.  She is looking to match the object to one of her cards…finding the SAME.  When I play this game….before the child takes the object out of the HEAD…..I like to see if she is able to figure out what object she has…just by the tactile information (feeling the object)…..if so….next I ask her to use her best describing words to describe the object that she has…..and see if the other players can guess what she has (this works on her expressive language and her ability to define words)……for the other team-mates….the players that are listening to her describing words…they have to guess what object she has.  This task works on their ability to process verbal information and improves receptive language.


To really enrich this game….use objects that you have in your home…you can use items such as: spoon, comb, toothbrush, little animal figures, ball, sock, small shoe, shirt, small bar of soap…anything small that you can fit in Ned’s head.  When adding more familiar objects…things you may find in your home….you can really challenge your little one’s ability to work on vocabulary knowledge….defining of words…..receptive language, auditory processing….and expressive language.

Just like with the HINT GAME…as posted under this post…and also found on the WORD FINDING PAGE….be sure to have your little define words like this:

SOCK (this being the object in NED’s HEAD that she is about to retrieve)

She should say:

“It is clothing (this is the object’s category), it goes on your feet and you wear it under your shoes.” 

When working on voculary development and in the ability to define words…it is important that your little one starts off with the category the object is in….and then following with two or three describing words (attributes).




Yes of course…..last week when I was home sick…and I ordered new toys for work….I shopped on Amazon…….as I always do.  I love the one click shopping at www.amazon.com – I do not have to enter any of my payment information or my address….as it is already stored in their site…so it makes ordering so much easier.  Thank you Amazon!

So when I was shopping for new speech toys…..toys that I put in the great big bag I got at Marshalls!…..I love Marshalls….I have not been in a few weeks…..I think this weekend Marshalls is calling me!…….Anyway……the pink piggy bank as seen above……teaches many different skills…and all of the little ones (between 18 months-3 years of age)….seem to have been enjoying my new addition to my Marshalls bag.

Skills  targeted:


Counting (understanding of quantity concepts….this means that when I say to a little one…HOW MANY…I am not so much concerned initially if she is able to tell be the exact number….just that she understands that the word quantity means a number….so if there are five coins and when I ask “HOW MANY?”….and she says three….I am not concerned….what I am sure to do…is count them with her……so that she sees and understands better how many there are.  When you tie your words with the action it helps your little one to understand….so as you are counting to your little one….you should have objects in front of her….and count them….such as the coins from the pig…..this will help her to understand quantity.


Animal identification-there are animals on the coins…work on identifying the animals and the sounds they make

Turn taking

Spatial Concepts/Location words-put the coins in the pig or put the coins inside the pig

Following of directives-with mommy or sibling participating…..ask the little one to give a coin to mommy……..or give a coin to Daniel (sibling)…..then make the task more challenging….give the blue coin to Daniel…..give the red and yellow coin to mommy.

It’s a simple little toy that has a lot to offer…..be sure to go to www.amazon.com to find it….and remember the one click shopping!







This post is written with great thanks to my friend and colleague, Kristen Corbett…….I love working with her…she is incredibly smart and good at what she does…and is so sweet.  Working with other providers is a great opportunity to learn new and effective strategies…..and also being able to collaborate with one another is more than beneficial for the entire team….the therapists…..teachers…parents…and the little ones.  Kristen and I are lucky enough to work together this year…..and that makes me very happy and lucky!

One day Kristen and I were working with a little one…and she brought Hyper Dash with her….I actually had never seen it before.  Well I just love it….I had to go out and get it…..and of course I went to www.amazon.com.  I love the one click shopping…it makes life so easy.

Well…Hyper Dash came in the mail yesterday….and all of my children love it…..it really is fun for the entire family…..and I am excited to also tell you from a speech and language perspective why I like it.

There are four different game options: HYPER DASH….TEAM DASHMICRO DASH AND TEAM MICRO DASH.  The first two game options are played basically the same…however…when you are using the TEAM DASH option…you obviously are on a team.

**(side note…did you know that obviously has a B in it….do you know how many people delete the B when saying the word….and say: ovious……it actually is harder to say obvious then ovious…try it.  When you say OBVIOUS….your lips have to go from a bilabial sound-using your two lips-to a labio-dental sound-your bottom lip and top teeth…..so this oral motor movement definitely makes the word more challenging….however….it can be done…so keep practicing…it is: OBVIOUS).


Back to the game: when you play TEAM MICRO DASH this is just like MICRO DASH…. the only difference is that you are on are on a team.

Now with the little ones…..(two…three and four….maybe even five)…..you will have to start with HYPER DASH….and when playing MICRO DASH….if you decide to play with your four and five-year old…..she may need help.

So let’s start off with HYPER DASH……when Kristen played this with the little one we see…I liked that she had her put the game targets (red, blue, green, yellow and orange…they also have the numbers one to five on them)…..in the room we were working in….so to work on colors, numbers and location/spatial concepts….she asked her to do the following (for example):

Put the yellow one ON the chair

Put the blue one UNDER the table

Put the green one IN the box

Put the red one NEXT TO Mommy

Put the orange one ON TOP of the table

Spatial concepts/location words can be challenging for little ones to understand….remember I have talked about tieing your actions and words together to help your little one understand language better.  This is a great game to tie action and words together.  If she is struggling to understand these concepts…..help her…..together put the targets where you requested.

Now to play HYPER DASH….once the targets are set up….the voice will tell your little one which target she has to find…and then she just places the HYPER DASH UNIT on the target….being sure to follow the direction.  My little ones played this last night and loved it…..Gregory was able to easily play this level (he is seven)…..it was a good starting point for him….and then we moved on to MICRO DASH.


MICRO DASH…..all of my kids loved this….my 14 year old….10 year old…..9 year old and 7-year-old.  When playing this version of the game….I would NOT set up the targets the way I suggested for HYPER DASH…..because you need to have the targets close to you.  Once you are ready to play….the unit will give you directions…..starting off easy at first…the unit will tell you the targets that you need to find…starting off with simple one step directions…and then adding more…so something like this:

Find: RED.

Then: RED, BLUE.




You get the idea….the game becomes progressively harder….following the same pattern each time…and then adding another command to follow.

THIS GAME IS WONDERFUL FOR: auditory memory (remembering the verbal direction that was given to you) and auditory processing (understanding the direction that was given to you).  I like that the voice gives the direction and then says: GO….because your little one needs to know that she has to listen to the entire direction… and wait for the word GO before she strikes the targets.

I used the following words when playing the game: Wait (tapping on their hands to wait for the direction) and saying the word: LISTEN (and tapping on their ears)…..I like to teach the little ones…and my children that they have to listen so they understand.  I have spoken about this before….children often do not know that they have to listen to actually understand what they are hearing.  We all know that we have children and maybe even husbands that listen…they hear you….but they are NOT being sure to listen so that they understand and process what you are saying.  HYPER DASH is a great game to address those skills.

I hope you found this review helpful…thank you to Kristen for sharing with me and the little one we see!

Have fun!






Spatial concepts/location words

Following directions

Auditory Memory

Auditory Processing



Sound Shape Sorter
Sound Shape Sorter
A great lesson in cause and effect as well as sorting! Each shape – circle, square or triangle – makes a sound as it slides down the clear tube. Children’s efforts are reinforced by both sight and sound. Colors vary. From 18 months. I love this toy…..all of the little ones love it…..I need to add to my bag again…..I had forgotten about it…but was working with my friend Anne the other day….and while we were at the evaluation she took this toy out of her bag….and the little boy just loved it….you can find at www.beyondplay.com




Educational toys for Toddlers



This is a post that I often like to re-post, especially in reference to the Melissa and Doug products.  Be sure to go to www.melissaanddoug.com to see more of their great educational toys for toddlers.  I love Melissa and Doug products….I have many of their puzzles and games…..and especially their pizza puzzle…it is a great educational toy for kids.  All of the little ones seem to love cutting the pizza pie…putting the pepperoni and mushrooms on the pizza…..and pretending to serve the pizza to me and family members.  Fair to say that I have not seen a toy made by Melissa and Doug that is NOT an educational toy.  Okay…so read below about a speech therapy session using one of Melissa and Doug’s great products.

I thought I would start posting what a typical  speech therapy session for me looks like….so that you can help your little one at home.  So for today’s post I have focused on improving a child’s understanding of language and use of language.  By this I mean….the session below is an example of what I would be doing with a little one that is having difficulty in her understanding of words and also in her use of words to make her needs known.  I hope that you find this post helpful….and I will continue to add posts that describe a typical therapy session.

Melissa and Doug’s products are definitely a favorite of mine….above is a puzzle that I frequently use during my sessions.



With the puzzle board in front of the child….and all of the pieces removed and not in the child’s sight…..I would hold up two puzzle pieces.  So maybe the pig would be in my right hand and the cow in my left hand.  Showing the little one both pieces…I would say:

“Do you want pig?”(bringing the pig closer to her as I say the word pig)

“Do you want cow?” (bringing the cow closer to her as I say the word cow).

Now a few things may happen….she may not have words just yet to say cow or pig…so she may just look at the cow…indicating that she wants the cow….or she may point to the cow…if she is able to understand….that by pointing (a non-verbal way to communicate) she is able to obtain a what she wants.  So whether she points to the cow…or just looks at the cow….I would then say:

“Cow…want cow.”….and hand her the cow as I am saying the words ”Cow…want cow.”.

I would continue this play activity….showing her two choices…and asking her the same question…..now the goal is for your little one to eventually understand the words: Do you want cow. Do you want pig?…and the goal really is for her to eventually understand the phrase: Do you want?….the more you tie the visual (puzzle piece of the cow) with your words: Do you want cow?…..the more you are helping her to understand the language that is tied with the visual.

Parents will often tell me….she knows what a cow is….or she knows what a ball is…..or she knows what a cup is…..BUT…does she understand the language that is attached to the word BALL….when the entire sentence is: Do you want the BALL?….children that present with processing concerns, receptive language concerns or understanding concerns…often have a difficult time in understanding these simple directions.

So what often happens to children when they don’t understand the language?  In my experience…when they do not understand langauge…and you are asking her questions…or placing a verbal demand upon her…or giving her a consequence or expectation such as: You can not have the cookie until you eat your dinner.  First eat your dinner…sit in your chair…and then you can have the cookie.   OH BOY….that was way too much language for a little one that does not understand language.  My experience has been this….at this point your little one…MAY have a melt-down…a tantrum….fall to the floor and start crying and screaming…WHY…..it is NOT because she is a “bad girl”…and I never like to use language that says “she is a bad girl”…her behavior may not be acceptable…but she is not bad.  In this case though…her behavior is not acceptable…because she is NOT understanding language….poor thing.

So what do we do???? It is my job to help you help your little one to understand language.  I often use the words: “First and Next“…..and when I say the word FIRST….I put up my index finger…indicating that she has to do something first..whether it is clean up her toy…eat her breakfast…..and after I point my one finger up….I put to what I want her to do…..and say: “clean up”….as I am pointing to the toys I want her to clean up…..and then I say: “Next“……as I point two fingers….and then say…”Next get cookie”….as I point to the desired choice..what she wants….pointing to the cookie.  Eventually your little one will understand FIRST and NEXT…she will begin to understand language…consequences…expectations…..and become less FRUSTRATED….become more compliant….flexible…and adapt to the demands of language.


Okay…..so let’s go back to our therapy session.  If your little one has the language to point to the cow…and also say cow….GREAT!!!  Let’s use the expansion strategy (found on the teach me to talk page)….to expand her sentence….so when she says COW….this is what I would say:


I want……(now point to the COW…and prompt her to fill in the blank (this is a carrier phrase…find more about this under the word finding page).  She should be able to fill in the blank…and say cow.

Now the goal is for her to eventually say the entire sentence: “I want cow”.  The more you repeat the above activity…using the carrier phrase…the easier it will be for her to make a request using the longer sentence.

Expand this to your daily routine with your child….if she is requesting: “juice”…..and you know this because she pulls you to the refrigerator…and points to the refrigerator……and you know FOR SURE…that she wants juice….take out the juice and an UNDESIRED CHOICE…such as milk….she does not like milk…and would never request it…..now let’s go back to the above strategy and use it in this scenario:


Hold the milk in one hand the juice in the other….ask her…

“Do you want juice?” (bring the juice closer to her)  Do you want milk?” (bring the milk closer to her)

Now in my experience…child with understanding concerns…often will say the word they last heard….because they KNOW they have to answer a question….they know they have to say something….but what was just said to them may sound like this: dkjdlksjdf  kdjalskjdflksj klkroue milk.  So she has NO idea what you said…but heard milk…so is going to say milk.  Your next step would be to give her the milk in a cup…..she will not want it…..go back again and ask:

Hold the milk in one hand the juice in the other….ask her…

“Do you want juice?” (bring the juice closer to her)  Do you want milk?” (bring the milk closer to her)

Eventually…your little one will understand the language that is attached to the visual….and she will answer the question…whether it is with a word…pointing…or looking at the desired choice.

Remember…if she points to the juice or looks at the juice….give her the juice and say: “Juice…want juice.”


Back to the therapy session:

Finish the play activity with the puzzle….now it is clean up time..let’s work on understanding again:

Show her two puzzle pieces…any two that you have now taken out of the completed puzzle….put the two pieces on the table…the cow and pig….work on the following directions…with her mom next to you to help.

So the set up is this:

Mom next to child…two puzzle pieces on table…Ziploc bag to put the pieces bag in…tell child: “Give pig to mom“…if she does not understand…..tie a visual with your language….point to the pig…then point to mom…and say: “Give pig to mom“.  If she still does not understand use the READY, SET, ACTION!  strategy….under the teach me to understand page…this means…you will help her to pick up the pig and give to mom (hand over hand)….as you say: “Give pig to mom“.  Then give her a verbal direction and say: “Put pig in bag.”  Continue until clean up is finished.  Change your directions…sometimes asking her to give a puzzle piece to mom…sometimes she is to put the piece in the bag.

I hope this post was helpful….I will continue to add “speech at home” posts…so you can learn how to help your little one….please post any questions.

Have fun with your little one or big one!








Just a quick post tonight….as I have been incredibly busy this past week….plan to write more about this activity and also give you a script on how you can use this toy during therapy.  The Honey Bee Tree game…which of course I purchased using Amazon’s 1-click ordering…is a great activity to work on turn taking, quantity concepts, color identification, sorting, following directions, providing verbal directions and overall play skills.




Games for Toddlers and Preschoolers

purchased via Amazon One Click!

A favorite toy in my therapy bag!

Product Description

From the Manufacturer
Ten colorful blocks for baby to sort, stack and drop. Filling the bucket with blocks, dumping them out, and starting over is great for eye-hand coordination and other early skills. Then baby can move on to stacking and matching, and sorting the five different block shapes through the shape-sorting lid. All 10 blocks fit inside the bucket, with a carry handle for easy take-along. Developmental benefits for baby – helps baby learn through everyday experiences. 1) Helps baby learn to identify and sort shapes and colors. 2) Enhances problem-solving skills with put and take play, stacking and sorting. Motivating imagination- 1) Encourages creative thinking as baby discovers new ways to play with blocks. 2) Bright colors and interesting shapes intrigue baby. Encourages developing motor skills- 1) Placing blocks in bucket strengthens eye-hand coordination. 2) Grasping and sorting blocks develops finger and hand dexterity




Speech therapy toy for toddlers and preschoolers


LeapFrog Shapes And Sharing Picnic Basket

There is so much I love about this toy.  I can work on following simple directives.  For example when you push the butterfly button and your little one will hear a simple directive she needs to follow such as: put the green cup in the purple one.  Great for working on shapes, colors, matching and sorting.  A new fave of mine!

Product Description

From the Manufacturer

Set a space for fun, learning and sharing. The Shapes and Sharing Picnic Basket helps little learners explore shapes, colors/colours, manners and more. Over 30 audio responses encourage pretend play, and the 14-piece set helps children build motor skills as they sort, match, stack, empty and fill. Parents can connect to the online LeapFrog Learning Path for customized learning insights and ideas to expand the learning. Appropriate for children ages 6 to 36 months.

Product Description

LeapFrog Shapes And Sharing Picnic Basket


  1. JeriLynne Smith says:

    Another great game that works with coordination, and speech is ELEFUN…you can make it where the child has to say the color of the butterfly before catching it, my daughter has the game and she LOVES it!!!

  2. Adriana SG says:

    Thanks god !!! I found your blog,.. what an amazing job you have done 🙂 .. My son is 25 months and is not verbal, not pointing either, I will read every post since there is such much for me to learn , so I can help him… keep up the good work 🙂

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