Archive

Category Archives for "Dr McMahon’s Top Toys for Learning Recommendations"

Dr McMahon, Speech Pathologist, PhD presents her favourite toys for speech, language & learning. Downloads that link with the toys are packed with game ideas for parents to not only have fun but encourage development of life-long learning skills.

Top Toys for Christmas 8 Sleeps to go

Let's Talk 

​Tea Set Toys

Focus: Tea Set Toys 

Speech Therapist       Dr Sandra McMahon PhD

“Tea for Two, and Two for Tea, One for You and One for Me”
Even from this simple old rhyme you can see that Tea Set play is fantastic for building social skills and symbolic (pretend) play. See our Costume Blog (14 days to Christmas) for more information about how pretend play is vital for early speech, language and learning development. 

So instead of talking about how Tea Sets can help with social skill development I am going to use Tea Sets as an example of how early play can be used to boost rhyme development.  

​Rhyme is essential for speech clarity and a foundation skill that needs to be learnt in the preschool years ready for formal school entry. Rhyme is one of the phonological awareness skill shown to impact on how easy learning to read and spell is for children entering the school system. 

observe


Children need to be able to hear the difference between similar sounding words e.g., “tea” vs “key”. We call these minimal pairs. That is, the words sound the same except for just one sound.  If words sound the same at the ends of words we say they rhyme (“plate” vs “Kate”). If they cannot really focus or “hear” the difference between words like “tea” and “key” they will not be able to easily say them clearly. 

Ages children learn to say sounds follow a developmental pattern:


When children are saying the wrong sounds in words it can reduce how easy it is to understand them (reduced speech clarity). Many 18 month olds will say “tea” when they mean “key” as the “k” sound often is not said well in words until about 3 years of age. The first thing to Observe then is to see if the incorrect sounds a child is saying is “OK for their age” or not. Children at four for example may still be saying “fumb” for “thumb” and this is also OK. Take a look at our SpeechNet Speech Sound Checklist. However, if you have concerns always consult a speech pathologist. We are here to help.

Hearing Rhyme:


There is a reason all those kid’s nursery rhymes, songs and early children’s books rhyme (Humpty Dumpty, Where’s the Green Sheep.). It is not because we want them to be poets later on (although we might!). It is because rhyme allows children to understand word “families”. f we hear and see similarities in words we do not have to learn to spell and read every single early word from scratch. If we can read “Man” we can see and hear the patterns in “pan, tan, can, fan etc.” making them really easy to read and spell! 

​Does your 3+ year old notice  rhyme? Would they say “those words sound the same”? If you start off a rhyme string can they think of more words (fall, ball, t…., c…). Can they tell you “key” and “tea” rhyme but “tea” and “plate” do not? All of these skills should be in place before they go to Prep. All of these skills are often in place before they even know their letters! They are foundation skills  preparing the way for children to  learn their letters  develop reading sills.

Again, if you have concerns your child that is heading into Prep or in Grade 1 cannot achieve these rhyming foundation skills then contact a speech pathologists . A child Speech pathologist can conduct a Phonological Awareness Screen. SpeechNet Speech Pathology provides Pre-prep screens for children going into Prep in our clinic and via Skype.

communicating with others


It is important to ask someone politely to repeat themselves if you did not hear what they said or did not understand what they said. In play you can ensure similar sounding toys are put out at the same time (e.g. tea and key). You can model asking for clarification by pretending you thought they said one word instead of the other. For example, if the child says “I want the key” you can pass them the “tea” cup. You can them model an apology for not hearing and model of how to ask nicely to repeat themselves. 

understanding of lanGuage comes before talking


As noted above if a child cannot hear the difference between similar sounding words (Kate/gate/plate) they will not “understand” the conversation or instructions given to them. 

Remember for some children they can “hear” perfectly well but it is the AUDITORY DISCRIMINATION skill that is difficult for them. They literally hear the words (“tea’ and “key”) as interchangeable. Emphasising the first sounds in these words helps them “tune into” the individual sounds in a word so that discrimination is possible. 

​The same thing applies to rhyme. If children cannot hear rhyme or are not even aware that rhyme is occurring, they will not understand the underlying concept. By saying the rhyme word really loud at the end of each line is important to make it stand out for the child. Point it out as well. “OH, fall and wall” sound the same!

spoken speech & language


I often set up play with toys and scenarios to indirectly model and encourage particular speech sounds and rhyme play.  For example, I might set up tea set play but put out  certain other specific toys to target certain ideas. I might suggest we invite teddy and a doll to the tea part. We can then call teddy “Mate” and the doll (Kate). Then we can share out the plates: “a plate for Kate and a plate for our Mate’.  We might pretend they have to call from the gate (pulling from a farm set to add to the props). They can then call out saying ‘Hi it’s Kate at the gate”.

You could perhaps pretent the tea cups are locked in a cupboard and we need a toy key to open the cupboard: “need the key to get the tea”; “pass me the key” and “give the tea to me”.   By playing with rhyming and minimal pair words the children are exposed to lots of models to listen to. Give lots of social praise if they then try to copy saying the target words or think of other words that rhyme.

Let's Talk Play 

We hear a lot about how Play is important to a child’s development.

How imperative it is for early childhood teachers and parents to foster children’s development through play.  

 How language development through play supports early literacy and further school success!

But! How do you put it into practice?  

How can you actually boost and develop a childs oral development while playing? 

One way is for the parent or early childhood teacher to use -  ask questions as part of the play. 

But! Not any questions.  The type or “Level” of question you use with a child needs to grow as their language grows. Blank Level of questions provides 4 levels of questions with each level getting harder and harder for children to answer. 


what are blank level questions?


Blank level questions begin by answering very direct, concrete questions (e.g., Where is the ball?)  and can be used in play with children from about 10-12 months of age. Blank Levels of questions then become increasingly more difficult until a child’s understanding and communicating abilities can deal with more abstract ideas like inferencing. This level of Blanks questions can typically become part of play at about the 4- 5 year of age level  (e.g., If we put a big block here what do you think might happen? Why would that happen?)
Blank Levels of questions is often a model used in many Speech Therapy Sessions in a play based approach.  

For your convenience, we have compiled lists of Blank level questions for you to use with specific toys and books.  These questions are broken up into levels with general ages for you to work through.  We have included Speech and Language information for you to use with these toys and books to help further develop speech and language.  By combining play and situationally appropriate questions you can help your child’s speech, language and learning development immediately & in the future.

For a comprehensive program that incorporates key skills to speech and language development

With over 70 VIDEO demonstrations of tutorials, examples, explanations, demonstrations of games and activities taken from actual speech therapy sessions.

Receive Resources…. Worksheets, printables, information printouts, scripts, resources…...

All delivered through a play based FOCUS BUT!

Let Dr Sandra McMahon, speech pathologist, PhD teach you how to take advantage of every precious moment including daily routines like bedtime, mealtime, traveling etc. Play with a FOCUS of building a strong speech and language foundation that will see your child develop and boost their speech and language skills NOW and help towards latter school success!    

See our Online Program FOCUS On Toddler Talk! And start boosting your child’s speech and Language TODAY!

wHERE CAN YOU

fIND HELP?


* Our Online eProgram FOCUS on Toddler Talk!

​* Brisbane Individual & Group Therapy at Speechnet

​* Skype / Facetime     Speech Therapy

​* Home / School / Childcare / Educational Centre Visits 

IS YOUR CHILD

a LATE TALKER?




Sandra McMahon Speech Patholgoist

About the author


Dr Sandra McMahon, Speech Pathologist, PhD is a clinical and research paediatric speech pathologists that has worked as the Director of Speech Pathology at a major metropolitan Children’s Hospital, lecturesd at University in the area of early child communication and literacy development & disorders; and a consultant to Kindergartens and Child Care Centres. Dr McMahon is currently the Founder, Director and Senior Speech Pathologist of the multi-disciplinary SpeechNet Speech Pathology & Learning Centre. Dr McMahon is frequently invited to present to parent groups, educational facilities, Speech Pathology Clinical Development events & conferences. She is certified practising member of the Australian Speech Pathology Association.


Featured 

Product 

toddler Talk

SPECIAL OFFER


PRODUCTS TO HELP

lATE tALKERS

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

wHERE CAN YOU

fIND HELP?


* Our Online eProgram FOCUS on Toddler Talk!

​* Brisbane Individual & Group Therapy at Speechnet

​* Skype / Facetime                   Speech Therapy

​* Home / School / Childcare / Educational Centre Visits 

WE ARE HERE TO HELP


IS YOUR CHILD

a LATE TALKER?




Book

Teaching & Talking

Tips Downloads

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

>
Green Toys Tea Set, Blue/Red/Yellow Alex Toys Tea Set Basket CrazySell 75 PCS Cute Fun Toy Magical Tea Set and Rainbow Cake Pretend Play Food Toy Set for Kids Girls .  Home High Tea Trolley

Toy Tips For Christmas 22 Sleeps to go

Toy Advent - Top Toys To Get Toddler's Talking With BONUS Talking Tips!

Let's Talk

Walkie Talkies 

 FOCUS: Walkie Talkies 

Speech Therapist      Dr Sandra McMahon PhD

If you are wanting children to talk then a toy that is ALL about TALKING has to be a winner. Kids love the mystery and feeling like they have a secret way to talk. This is a great indoor and outdoor toy. Play hide and seek around the house or at the park.  They can copy their super heros, pretend to be police, fireman or the mysterious voice heard in shopping centres! They often have interesting buttons too! Nowdays they come in all different versions – old fashion walkie talkies, pretend watch walkie talkies or toy mobile phones. 

oBSERVE


With new toys it is always great to watch what children do without any directions or suggestions! (if safe of course). What do they do? What sounds, exclamations or words to they make? Do they recognise it? Do they just listen or to they make sounds/ say words too.

Communicating with others


Learning social interactional skills can take time. Modelling, what to do and saying things they can copy, is a great way to build game resilience. Walkie Talkies are great to encourage the following skills:

Building Early 

Conversational Skills


My turn to speak / your turn to speak or listen. This is the foundation of conversations. This is how Walkie Talkies work! Many late talkers do not respond when asked a question. They may show you things with pointing or their bodies but do not always start a "conversation".

If you are in one room with your child and maybe Daddy is in another room – then pointing isn’t going to work! You can say “but Daddy can’t see you! Let’s say Hi! etc.). Some children might make lots of noises and words that don’t always make sense – encouraging them to stop and listen encourages then to particulate in both sides of a conversation. 

Turn - taking

skills


As noted the whole concept of Walkie Talkies is that people take turns to listen and talk. They are not fun if you want to do all the talking or nobody is waiting to hear you.

understanding of language comes before talking


If you want to encourage talking skills one of the foundation pre-speech skills is “auditory attention”. Children’s hearing might be fine but it doesn’t mean they are good at “listening”. Our FREE AUDITORY ATTENTION ONLINE SCREENlooks at whether children are building auditory attention skills. "Really listening" is important for learning.

Top Talk Observation focus: focus on attention skills online checklist 


By the nature of walkie talkies, if you are not in the room, children cannot “guess” what you are asking them. Often parents accidently give clues by looking or pointing at things rather than encouraging toddlers to use their “listening skills” (e.g. asking them to give you the book – when it’s bed time and you’re also reaching for the book doesn’t mean they are listening to your request for the book – they could be just “guessing” what you want). 


If you are  in another room and ask “bring me a book” – there are no clues. This can be a fun game. One adult is in a room and says can you bring me a “pencil” and the child can excitedly run it to them then back to see what they will ask for next. Have another adult with younger children or those that may need help to “listen” to the request. This adult can encourage them to listen to the request and follow through with the instruction. Start with really easy requests– just call their name through the walkie talkie and encourage them to make some kind of vocal response (an exclamation! Oh! a laugh, a Hi). Reward them by getting excited ("wow I can hear you! You laughed!!!). The requests or instructions can also get more and more complex (e.g. “Can you bring me something you cuddle at night”, Find a ball and superman”). 


The use of walkie Talkies can also help with Cause & Effect skills. This is another pre-speech foundation skill. This refers to building an understanding that “what I say and do will impact on things or people”. Playing the hide and seek by using the age old game “hot” and “cold” can help the child learn to infer if they are close or not by the “clue” given through the walkie talkie. You could be hiding or you could hide a treat or snack. The child has to listen to see if they are “hot “or “cold” depending on where they go.

spoken Speech & Language


Toys like the walkie talkie are great for encouraging  vocalisations – sometimes it might just be a grunt as they experiment with talking “into” the device. A giggle or a silly noise. All should be encourage as once vocalisations are made you can shape them into words.

For Children not really saying words, imitation is an important real key skill to develop. Some children might imitate physical actions but just not spoken words. Our FREE IMITATION SKILLS ONLINE SCREEN can indicate what imitation skills your child is using. This can inform you how to adapt your walkie talkie game to get the most out of the toy.


*Encourage them imitate your actions Pushing buttons, listen then talk

*Encourage them to copy Exclamations: OOH (when they hear a noise), beeeep when device indicates there is someone talking

*Imitating funny noises – aarrrh (like a pirate), blowing into the device

*Imitating animal noises – you could incorporate this into the finding gain describe above – you could have a box of toy animals and say “get the Mooooo” –What are you looking for ..is it a baa or a mooo?

Building new words 

& sentences


Take a look in the “understanding section” and encourage the child to repeat back the instruction before they do it. Incorporate into the game that they “check” they heard by saying it too. Where did I say I was? “you tell me ‘in kitchen’).

For children using little sentences you can encourage early questions in the above hide and seek games (e.g., Are you in the ____; Is it big? Where is the ball?). Learning to use questions can really reduce that whinging and tantrums. If they can “ask for what they want” the whinging can really go down (even if it’s a simple form e.g. Where Teddy?). 

Our imitation APP also demonstrates how you could change what you say to build imitation in toddlers.


Speech Therapist      Dr Sandra McMahon PhD

Walkie Talkies are great for early narrative or story telling too. You can encourage them to give a blow by blow description of what they can see or are doing e.g., Tell me what you can see in the park/ in your room/ etc.).  

Speech TherapistDr Sandra McMahon PhD

Pretend play can build talking skills. Let’s pretend there is a fire. You sit here with the fire engine. Wait to see where the fire is. You can then call the “fireman” to tell them the fire is in the TV room – they can ask some questions e.g. is it a big fire, is the TV on fire or the lounge?) and come with their toy fire engine to “put out the fire”. If you swap roles you can model good examples of language. Even if their talking is limited reduce to down to “go, go truckie” or even just the “fire engine sound” as their way of telling you the fire engine is coming.

Speech TherapistDr Sandra McMahon PhD

And let’s not forget vocabulary – all the in, on, under, "next to" kinds of words can be incorporated into walkie talkie play. As you can’t use pointing as much the importance of these words are exaggerated! It is "under the couch, next to the tap" etc.

Sandra McMahon Speech Patholgoist

About the author


Dr Sandra McMahon, Speech Pathologist, PhD is a clinical and research paediatric speech pathologist. She has worked as the Director of Speech Pathology at a major metropolitan Children’s Hospital; lectured at University in the area of early child communication and literacy development & disorders; and consults to Kindergartens and Child Care Centres. Dr McMahon is currently the Founder, Director and Senior Speech Pathologist of the multi-disciplinary SpeechNet Speech Pathology & Learning Centre. Dr McMahon is frequently invited to present to parent groups, educational facilities, Speech Pathology Clinical Development events & conferences. She is certified practising member of the Australian Speech Pathology Association.



Featured 

Product 

toddler Talk

SPECIAL OFFER


PRODUCTS TO HELP

lATE tALKERS

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


wHERE CAN YOU

fIND HELP?


* Our Online eProgram FOCUS on Toddler Talk!

​* Brisbane Individual & Group Therapy at Speechnet

​* Skype / Facetime                   Speech Therapy

​* Home / School / Childcare / Educational Centre Visits 

WE ARE HERE TO HELP



SHARE THIS BLOG

With other Parents & Educators.

Tell us in the Comments your ideas for Walkie Talkies.

Minions Walkie TalkiesDurable Walkie Talkie for Kids, Easy to Use & Kids Friendly Walkie Talkie, Best Kids Walkie Talkie for Girls, 2 Mile Range and 3 Channel, For Ages 6+ - PinkRetevis RT-388 UHF446.00625-446.09375MHz Frequency Range 8 Channels 0.5W Twin Toy Walkie Talkie Support LCD Display and Build-in Flashlight and Channle Lock Twin Two-Way Radios for Kids Sky BlueBarbie Walkie TalkiesThe Dark Knight Rises Walkie TalkiesBarbie My Fab Intercom Telephones.2PCS Children Toy Walkie Talkie Child Watches Interphone OutdoorCombat Force Walkie TalkiesHTI - Paw Patrol Walkie Talkie

SPEECHNET RECOMMENDED TOP TOYS FOR LEARNING SERIES

SPEECHNET RECOMMENDED TOP TOYS FOR LEARNING SERIES:

You love playing with toys with your child but sometimes you wonder if you have time (and energy) to really play! You may feel under pressure to get all those house hold chores done, get that shopping done, cook dinner, pick up the other children, “teach those sight words” – plus everything else that needs to be done! Making time to play is really important for SO many reasons and here are some ideas to make it not only fun but the ideas will also help you really see the benefits of the time you can get to play!

No matter what your age (children through to adults)– you learn and retain more information if you enjoy the learning experience.

At SpeechNet Speech Pathology & Learning Centre we are strong believers that children need to and can learn through play and interaction with others – rather than only trying to find specific “learning times” or just using electronic Apps and programmes to “teach”.

In this blog series Dr McMahon, Speech Pathologist, PhD will present TOP TOYS for boosting speech, language and learning skills. She will use her FOCUS© on learning framework:

F: FOCUS                             –Let’s FOCUS on one specific toy

O: OBSERVE                        – what does your child spontaneously do & say with this toy –what does

that tell us?

C: COMMUNICATION    – What social communication activities can you do with the toy to boost social confidence, to help with making & keeping friends & strengthen

conversational skills.

U: UNDERSTANDING      – Understanding comes before talking and underpins all learning

S: SPEECH                            – Speech sounds, boosting first words and spoken words, building sentence length & complex expression of ideas

As a BONUS in the Top Toy DOWNLOADS Dr McMahon will also provide a range of Blank Level of Questions – these are specific questions you can ask with each toy for children presenting at different ages and stages – From Level 1 questions that children in the 18 month – 2 year age range can typically “answer”; though to questions you can ask 6+ year old children.  Asking questions at a child’s level is SUCH a good way to encourage all communication skills!

PLUS ideas to encourage IQ skills are provided in the Top Toy DOWNLOADs. Ways to adapt the toy play so to boost memory, numbers, concepts & problem solving skills are also provided– all these ideas are embedded in play to maximise enjoyment & learning skills that can be used in all developmental areas for year to come.

IN ADDITION there are ideas on how you can teach reading & spelling skills while playing with a toy!!! Dr McMahon will provide in the TOP TOY DOWNLOADS specific games you can incorporate to encourage phonological awareness skills while playing. Phonological awareness skills have been shown to be THE skills needed for ease of reading and spelling development. Phonological awareness skills emerge during the pre-school years and are used throughout schooling as children learn to read and spell unfamiliar words. You don’t have to just do flash cards to t help your child to meet their literacy potential.

See our SpeechNet Store for these TOP TOY PDF DOWNLOADS and look at our SpeechNet Blog for recommendations of specific toys and books that have Dr McMahon’s has developed. The Downloads you be printed or saved. Links to toys and books are provided for purchasing if you don’t already have the items for your convenience.

SO Let’s FOCUS on the Phlat Ball!phlat ball

The Phlat ball has to be one of Dr McMahon’s all-time favourite toys for encouraging speech, language and learning. Her 3 top reasons that the Phlat ball is a Top Toy are:

  1. It is great for all ages – The excitement of it popping is loved by late talkers to adults!
  2. The toy itself can act as the learning cue (e.g., “say pop”; “count how long it takes to pop, understand the mechanism behind suction!), or
  3. The toy can just be a fun reinforcement (e.g., Place sight word cards on top – read the ones you can catch).

What is a Phlat ball? Is it a disc or is it ball? Throw a disc but catch a ball! The Phlat Ball transforms from a flat disc to a ball that can be placed on the ground to wait for it to pop; or play catch back and forth with the disc and no-one will know whose turn it will turn into a ball!!  The random time delay adds to the fun and excitement of the game play.

Key Ideas for Late Talkers: Early first words can easily be encouraged with this toy that adds the element of surprise. See the TOP TOY DOWNLOAD provides specific vocabulary that Dr McMahon uses with this toy for in her Speech Therapy sessions. Early speech sounds like /p/ can be encouraged and imitated with words like “pop”  or “up”.  Young children often find it difficult to wait and attend long enough to listen and take in new words. As the children tend to be keen to stay and watch for the ball to “pop” you can repeat “pop..pop…POP” while you are waiting – Your speech model is then closely linked to what they are seeing and waiting for, so they are more likely to remember and even try to say the word as your words are matching their “FOCUS”. The Phlat Ball DOWNLOAD has specific sections for children under 30 months or late talkers.

Key Ideas for Early Talkers and Older Children: You can count to see how long the ball takes to pop each time. For the older children you can write the numbers down and compare each trail – Does it pop at around the same count number or does it change a lot? You can try to see how many words you can say that rhyme with “pop” or “go” before the ball pops (e.g., hop, top, mop, stop).

See the Phlat Ball DOWNLOAD for heaps more ideas to boost memory, concepts and other literacy skills. There are Blank Level of Questions for the different age groups which are based on key developmental learning stages.

The Phlat Ball is a fun toy that is great to boost speech, language & learning

The Phlat Ball is a fun toy that is great to boost speech, language & learning