Dollar Store Series – Spinning Tops

Princess, Spiderman and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle spinning tops.

Princess, Spiderman and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle spinning tops.

Spinning tops…..I had no idea that tops were still being manufactured!  I was transported back to my roller skating party goodie bags when I saw these tops at The Dollar Store.

Both my students and I have had a great time playing with tops this past week that it has not seemed like we were even working on our speech goals. The best thing for me as a speech therapist is that there are so many ways that you can use tops in speech language therapy sessions.  I did not have to do much prepping this past week (which was perfect because I had four IEP meetings) because for this top activity all I needed were tops, a dry erase marker and a table/paper (pictures for younger students which I downloaded from Mommy Speech Therapy.

Below are some ways I use tops to address articulation, vocabulary and social skill goals.  For all areas the rules are the same.  The students take turns spinning their top on the table/board.  When the student lands on the picture/word they can  erase their word or take off their picture if they answer the question accurately/use accurate articulation of targeted sound.  At the end of the session whoever has the most points wins.  But lets be honest, if you are playing with tops everyone wins.

Articulation Activities




*For students who cannot read I use pictures that target their misarticulations.






*To save time I go to for my word lists that contain the students targeted sound. (/l/initial , /l/ medial , /l/ final)





Zones of Regulation (social skills/emotions)



*Each emotion is written in the color that coincides with the zone it is.

*Yellow does not show up that much in the picture but the photo to the left is “silly” which is in the yellow zone.

*When a student lands on an emotion I ask them to give an example of when one might feel this way or what does it look like? (What does bored look like?)

*This is an activity that we do in our SPOT (Speech and OT) group. It targets regulation, social skills and fine motor skills.


Language Activity (Autumn/Fall Vocabulary below)
*I have students tell me two things about the vocabulary word they landed on.
*Fall/Autumn vocabulary words from Enchanted Learning.


*I usually start the activity by having the students try to come up with the targeted words (Ex. What are some words that have /l/ in them?   What are words that are related to the season Fall?”)

*WRITE ON YOUR TABLE WITH DRY ERASE MARKERS!  Kids love it!  They love writing on the table as well as erasing the table.  Its a great way to have the students be engaged

*I highly recommend laminating two pieces of construction papers to use and keeping them in your closet.  I use it for so many different reasons, not just with spinning tops.

*Sometimes, depending on your student, it is better to use laminated construction paper as a board instead of the table.  Some students will always spin their top off the table.

*During this activity I also work on language concepts of small vs. big (The students can request to change the size of their tops throughout the game) and the concept of near and closest.

Cost of this activity=$1-2.00 : Big Tops pack of 3 = $1  Little Tops pack of 10 = $1  everything else=free

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