At SL3, we believe that early childhood language therapy should be play based and interactive.  We are strong advocates of using developmentally appropriate, engaging toys in order to increase children’s language skills.

Here are a few of our favorite toys and a few ideas of how we are using them:


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Potato Head

  • Teach body part vocabulary.
  • Ask children to follow two step directions (e.g. put on the ear and the nose).
  • Withhold the parts and ask children to request (e.g.want nose).
  • Increase vocabulary for size and color by asking children to describe each piece. 
  • Increase language for personal possession by making multiple potato head characters and asking questions (e.g. Whose nose is this?; It’s daddy’s)



Melissa and Doug Jumbo Cardboard Blocks

  • Improve expressive and receptive prepositional concepts by building a structure and then having children move their bodies in relation to the blocks (e.g. go under the bridge, step over it, walk around, go behind).
  • Teach vocabulary for size, color, and shape by having children request block.

Melissa and Doug’s Wooden Cutting Food

  • Teach vocabulary for basic food items.
  • Target verbs related to food (e.g. cut, eat, put on plate).
  • Practice asking questions (e.g. the child can ask peers if they want some of each food).
  • Improve counting skills by having the child count all the parts of the food. 





Really Color allows you to turn your pictures into coloring book pages.

We are using this to expand receptive and expressive language for everything in our classroom by taking pictures of our chidren completing daily activities. It is also a good way to keep parents informed of what's happening, and to help the children answer "what did you do today?"


Little People Doll House

  • Teach vocabulary for rooms of the house, furniture, and family members.
  • Follow one and two step directions (e.g. put mommy in the bed, and daddy in the kitchen).            
  • Practice answering wh-questions (e.g. Who is in the kitchen?  What is mommy doing? Where is daddy?)


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Melissa and Doug Bear Family Dress up Puzzle

  • Teach vocabulary for clothing.
  • Teach emotion word vocabulary.
  • Increase language for personal possession (e.g. Whose shirt is this?; It’s mommy’s!)
  • Follow two step directions (e.g. give me the shirt and the pants).
  • Improve descriptive language for color and feature by holding up two of the same item of clothing, and asking the child to describe which one he wants.
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Melissa and Doug's Farm Blocks Playset

  • Teach vocabulary for farm animals.
  • Ask children to place the farm animals in various locations on the farm to improve prepositional concepts (e.g. put the cow in the barn, behind the fence, on top of the barn).
  • Improve the ability to answer where questions by placing animals around the farm and asking questions about location (e.g. Where is the cow?)


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Little People Rev N Sounds Race Track

  • Teach prepositional vocabulary as you move the cars in and around the structures: up, down, in, out, behind, on top.
  • Practice turn taking by playing with several children.
  • Teach adjectives that describe speed (e.g. slow, fast).
  • Practice requesting by withholding cars and making the child request which car he would like to use. 

Fisher Price Baby Doll

  • Teach life skills vocabulary (e.g. eat, drink, potty, sleep, wake up).
  • Teach vocabulary words for body parts as you label the doll.
  • Practice following one step directions with prepositional concepts (e.g. in, on, out) as you move the doll around the furniture.
  • Practice using early math language such as (e.g. more, all, some) as you feed the doll and give the doll drinks.
farm alphabet.jpg

Little People Learning A to Z Playset

  • Teach animal vocabulary.
  • Practice categorizing by sorting animals by where they live (e.g. water, land, sky).
  • Improve following directions with prepositions (e.g. put the cow on the water, put the penguin under the tree).
  • Practice answering wh-questions while playing (e.g. What is the cow doing? Where is the cow? Who is on the tree?).
  • Practice letter identification and matching. All the animals have letters on them and children can match the animals to the board.
monster puppet.jpg

Make Your Own Monster Puppet by Melissa and Doug

This puppet has body parts that attach with Velcro. There is an entire bag of different choices of eyes, noses, arms, ears, and other features.

  • Teach body parts vocabulary.
  • Withhold parts and ask children to request (e.g. I want nose).
  • Improve descriptive language for color and feature by holding up two of the same item of clothing, and asking the child to describe which one he wants.
  • After the puppet is completed, ask children to pull off parts of the body to practice following directions.


  • Place many different balls inside of a plastic bin.
  • Practice describing by size, texture, and color (e.g. I want the big/bouncy/bumpy).
  • Improve prepositional concepts by throwing or placing the balls into buckets or baskets (e.g. in, out).
  • Target turn taking skills by having children roll the ball back and forth to each other.

Little People Little Movers Bus

  • Target vocabulary for movement (e.g. go, stop, drive).
  • Increase following directions with prepositional concepts (e.g. in, out, more, on, off).
  • Improve sentences using auxillary verbs (e.g. he IS driving, the woman IS sitting).

Smethport Magnetic Town

  • Teach vocabulary for basic community helpers and stores (e.g. police, fire, mailman, pet shop, taxi, bus).
  • Improve ability to answer wh-questions (e.g. Where is the fire? Who is riding on the fire truck? What is the mailman doing?).
  • Practice following two step directions (e.g. put the police car and the taxi on the street).

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