Most households with kids will have had a shopping set at one stage or another floating around the house somewhere. These are very common toys that are fairly easy to get your hands on, however many parents may not know just how useful these toys can be when working on speech, language and even pragmatic activities. Here are just a few ideas on how you can incorporate these toys into your child’s speech homework:
The most obvious use for a shopping set in speech therapy would be for working on production of different sounds. Since shopping sets often come with so many different pieces, they are super useful for eliciting a range of sounds in conversation. For example if you are working on the ‘t’ sound, there are items such as ‘tomato’, ‘carrot’ and ‘toast’, or if you are working on ‘s’ sounds there are targets such as ‘peas’, ‘sauce’ and ‘rice’. A large shopping set with 50+ pieces most often covers every sound at least once in some item or another. The great part about having so many pieces is that each piece acts as its own reward in the game as the child names each item to acquire the piece.
There is an endless list of language activities that can be played with shopping sets, not just ones that can be played with young children. One great language activity that you can play with primary aged kids is working on procedural story telling or writing. This is where the child works on producing a procedure on how to complete a recipe either verbally in a story or in a written form. The child or you can go shopping and select the items to be used in the story. The child then uses the items they have as props and cues to help produce the procedure on how to cook a certain recipe. You can change the complexity of the activity by selecting easier or harder recipes with more or less items contained in each.
One of the less obvious areas to target using common toys such as shopping sets is pragmatic language. The great thing about playing shop is that there is already a set routine, which your child may already be partially familiar with when visiting a shop. This routine includes pragmatic protocols that people follow when they go shopping such as greeting the sales assistant/customer, casual small talk, repeated use of social language such as ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, as well as a standard farewell at the end of the interaction.
Practicing these at home, during play in a safe environment is an excellent way to acquire these skills, with the best part being that they are fully transferable in the real world when you visit an actual shopping centre.
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This article was written by our Speech Pathologist Ashleigh Fattah who is a Speech Pathology Australia member. If you require speech pathology treatment, make an appointment. We‘ll provide you with simple and effective therapy targeted to your concerns. Contact us today.