Play-dough Article for Speech for Kids
One of the few craft materials that I use in speech-language therapy is play-dough. I primarily use it for pre-school clients, or school aged clients who are non-verbal or minimally verbal. But there are many ways to use it at home with any child who is practicing speech and language skills.
Play-dough is a perfect toy for many children with sensory and attention issues, since it can be squished and held and rolled. It can be used to improve play skills, fine motor skills, and encourages creativity and compliance.
Some goals you can work on with Play-dough:
Early language (just starting to talk):
- Vocabulary Building – shapes, action words, location words. Put together a container with play-dough toys like a rolling pin, toy knife, and cookie cutters. Take time to watch how your child plays with play-dough. What is he doing with it? What toys interest him? Label the things that your child is interested in. For example, if he likes rolling the dough into small snakes, you could say, “You’re rolling little snakes.” Repeat the words that you want him to learn, such as “roll” or “snake”.
Grammar (word order and word endings)
- Listen to what your child says about the toy while she is playing. If she is speaking in 2-3 word phrases, you can repeat what she has said and then add another word or two. For example, if she says, “Play-dough out” you could say, “Yeah, take play-dough out” or “My red play-dough”.
Pronunciation (Speech sounds)
- There are lots of good words that start with “s” blends that you can model while playing with the Potato head toy. For example, while your child plays, model the words “snake”, “snowman”, “star”, “spot”, and “square”. If your child is able to copy words at the single word level, you can encourage him to copy these words as he plays.
- If you have a list of words from your child’s speech therapist, you can try this game: Hold on to the play-dough container and the toys that go with it. Place the speech cards in front of your child. Explain the game: “We are going to play a game. Every time you say a word, you can have a piece of play-dough or a toy.” This game works best with children who are at a three year old level or higher.
Here is a link to a great website that has more ideas for using play-dough in speech therapy:
http://peachiespeechie.tumblr.com/post/118723328389/using-play- doh-in- speech-therapy
This site has ideas for working on early language skills:
https://expresslyspeaking.wordpress.com/2013/02/23/how-to- use-play- dough-to- encourage-language-skills/