When I’m packing my therapy bag I’m always interested in toys and resources that can be used flexibly for a variety of speech, language and communication targets. And playdough absolutely fits that bill! Beyond the usual action words and colour vocabulary, there’s lots of other things that we can do with playdough to support communication, especially when we start adding other toys to it. In this video I share five ways that I use playdough in my speech and language therapy sessions.
Lots of the children that I meet are just starting to put two words together, so practising action words (roll, squish, stretch, splat, chop) is a great way to start practising simple ‘noun+verb’ phrases.
We can also use playdough to practice following instructions. To help children be really successful with this early on, I might act out the instruction with my own playdough set, so that child can see what’s happening as well as listening to the language involved. As children become more confident in their language skills I might ask them to give me some instructions. Explaining how we do something is an essential step in language development and also a great excuse to practise sequencing language (e.g. first, then, last).
Another useful aspect of playdough is asking for help. This is a skill that many of my children need to practise (as they’re more inclined to simply struggle on themselves, rather than ask for help.) The lids on playdough pots are tricky to open, which gmakes them a great resource for this particular target.
Playdough is also a perfect resource for building on a child’s shared imagination. We can build the most spectacular and unusual creations together and the language that this involves provides lots of opportunities to learn together.