Back to the Basics Series-Following the Child’s Lead-Part One

I recently had in increase in three year olds on my caseload.  It is important that when you work with infants and toddlers you follow the child’s lead.  What I mean by this is whatever the child seems interested in interacting with at the time, that is what you should use to elicit language during your therapy session.
I asked my friend and fellow Speech Pathologist Michelle, who works for early intervention services in the home, what BASIC  toys should every SLPs have in their office when working with toddlers?  What BASIC toys do her clients play with the most?  What BASIC toys elicit the most language ?
Michelle ended up telling me ten of her favorite toys that she uses in therapy sessions.  These toys are simple and ones that children have been playing with for generations.  Please click on the words to see each item on and tune in next week to see how to use these toys to elicit language. 
1. Farm with animals, and a vehicle (at least one)
2. Duplo Legos – if possible find a set that also has some people/animals/vehicles in it (vehicles to build are usually the favorite for kids – planes/trains)d
3.Train set, preferable with some kind of tunnel or hill
7.Marble tower (for all ages, SO motivating)
Update: Last week I discussed my five go-to items for speech therapy.  I wanted to give an update on what I thought of those items. Did they work?  Did the kids like them?   After I finished my planned activity and if there was more time left I thought that bubbles would be the student’s favorite go to item.  I was completely wrong.  No one wanted to blow bubbles.  Each student want to use the white board and marker.  The students loved drawing, writing their name, hangman, playing a barrier game, playing dots and boxes, etc.  What other activities can you think of that uses a white board and a marker?  Click here to find a cheap and easy way to make them yourself from The Teachalholic Blog.

3 thoughts on “Back to the Basics Series-Following the Child’s Lead-Part One

  1. These are all great basic toys! I used to work in early intervention and then home health and I think every kid on my caseload has loved a white-board, too! I used to use it to help add a motion and visual to sounds, making a spiral for long vowels ‘aaaaahhhhh’ and quick dots for plosives ‘buh buh buh’ with lots of variations, too, of course! I just started a blog about feeding therapy activities at If you get a chance to check it out, I’d love to know what you think and please share the it, if you know anyone who could use the ideas! Thanks!


    • I just purchased the stacking cups and have used them in a lot of therapy sessions already. That is a great idea of how to use the white board. I am going to try your suggestion next week with my students! Thank you for the suggestion. Congrats on starting a new blog. I will check it out as I, and fellow colleagues, are always looking for more information about feeding therapy. Thank you for commenting!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Back to Basics-How to elicit language from toys | letsbabbleon - A place where babbling is a good thing!

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