Sunday, February 19, 2017

How to develop you student's language skills using toys.

Do you have limited space in your Speech room? Do you still want to engage your students with toys? I love being able to use a kitchen center when I am in the classroom, but I don't have the space in my therapy room. I solved that problem by creating a stove out of a box.  I later use that box to store all my kitchen toys. It is a quick and easy way to develop a kitchen center.

To create this center the first thing I did was gather the toys that I needed. I had a shopping basket full of play food, plates, cups, silverware, pots, a griddle, and a Play-Doh stove. I also add some paper plates, cups, notepads and markers. To make a stove I covered a box with yellow paper and made four burners.  To finish it off I added contact paper, so it would be more durable.

I like to target sentence expansion, vocabulary skills, asking and answering questions and syntax skills when I use my kitchen center.  As I bring out the food we focus on naming the food and cooking equipment. One vocabulary unit I like to focus on is Fruit vocabulary. 

Click here to download the fruit vocabulary cards and progress monitoring sheet.
I have my students label the fruit, sort them by color and match them up to a set of pictures. I like to model how to take and order food in a restaurant. We use notepads to write down the order and then we cook the food. Throughout the play we focus on expanding our sentences.  If a student reponds "I want apples" I might expand it to "I want two red apples".

It is amazing to watch how with repeated use of the same toys my students begin to expand their language.  When I first introduce the kitchen center my students typically use unspecific vocabulary and short, choppy sentences.  The more we use the same toys they begin to learn the vocabulary and expand on their play themes.  By the end they are able to pretend they are waitresses, waitors, bus boys and chefs.  They are labeling the food and the utensils.  I love to watch their language grow the more we use the kitchen center.

Creating a kitchen center can be quick and easy.  When we are done everything goes back in the box until the next time we play with it.  This has turned into one of my students favorite activities.

Click here to follow my tpt Store, Speech Gems.

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  1. I love the way you have enhanced this simple activity. It is always nice when students are learning with play. You get their full attention and they learn because they are so engaged

  2. What a great way built competence that will surly be used over and over again - just in their classroom kitchens!

  3. I love the idea of having a kitchen in a box! My kinder students would love that! Thank you!

  4. What a wonderful way to combine imaginative play and language development!

  5. I loe play centers like this for developing language skills! Thanks for a great post.

  6. What a great idea!! I'm from Brazil and I have a limited space in my therapy room. I liked a lot! Thanks!