Monday, May 9, 2016

"Doh" you want to play?

 This month, to celebrate Better Hearing and Speech Month, I will be posting ideas of things you can do to develop your child's speech and language skills at home using toys and materials you likely already have!

Do you have little yellow containers of Play Doh? If not, you can make some homemade play dough that we love! Check it out here!

Are you ready to have some fun with play dough!?

Cover It Up!

You can make some play dough balls and cover up anything! We covered up speech sound pictures because we were working on words that end with G, but you could cover up sight words, pictures that need to be labeled, vocabulary/definition words, letters for letter recognition, colored scribbles to work on color naming, etc... Covering it up with play dough balls makes any activity more fun!

Create it!

We used a page of pictures of words that contained our sounds to get ideas of what to make out of play dough. We then used those words in phrases and sentences. For example, I created "hotdogs" but I used the word "hotdog" while I talked about cooking them on the grill and turning over the "hotdogs" and I made a "hotdog bun" and then we pretended to eat the "hotdog" and talk about how it tasted. Using speech sounds in meaningful and (sort of) real life activities helps the child develop the speech skills better than just drilling the child to say "hotdog" 50 times in a session.

With another client we made "S" words and had "silly socks" in our "soup" and we pretended to be very "sad" when it made us "sick." So much fun!

Earning It

Sometimes, I need a kiddo to work on something that I can't cover up or create out of play dough. In those cases they can earn small balls of play dough when they complete the task correctly. I typically ask "is that enough play dough? Or do you want more?" I have not yet had a child who didn't work to earn the entire container of play dough!

More/Less & Quantity Concepts

Quantity concepts like "more," "most," "less," "least" and the number of objects in a group are important concepts for kiddos 3 years and older. I like to start with big differences like in the photo above. I would ask the kiddo "who has more play dough?" Then you can redistribute the play dough balls and ask again. As your child gets better at telling who has more/less, make the differences between the number of balls closer. So instead of 8 and 1, or 7 and 2, try 3 and 6 or even 4 and 5.

You can also invite another person to join and divide the balls among all of the players. This is where you would work on "most" and "least." 

To work on the number concepts, I like to make a few piles of smaller balls and ask the child to find the pile that has "3 balls." Then I teach them how to make those 3 balls into a snowman. Or the 2 ball pile into a heart. Or the 4 ball pile into a flower. If they grab the wrong pile, I can say "oh I don't want to make another heart. Look this pile has 2 balls, let's find the pile with 3 balls!"


Play dough is a great way to introduce a ton of action words. For younger kiddos you can work on words like: roll, cut, pull, poke, get, grab, give, share, etc... Action words are great foundation words to building more complex language.

Another way to build action words is to show how you can use one action word in different situations (think about the word "open." You can open a door, open a book, open the fridge, open a container, etc... many contexts with the same verb). With the play dough, we used the word "cut" and talked about how lots of different tools cut in different ways. The pizza cutter sliced through while the scissors chopped to cut and we used the red tool (not sure what it's called!) to push to cut it. Lots of language and vocabulary development!

Here are some pictures of my son, Little W, and me playing and using new vocabulary!

We had a great time hanging out! I hope that you grab a container of play dough or make your own and enjoy spending technology-free time with your child!

Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Please know that I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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