Early Intervention Teletherapy Play Dough
Welcome back to my mini series on early intervention teletherapy! This week, I'm sharing one of my all-time FAVORITE activities: play dough. As with previous posts, the only thing the SLP will need is a decent internet connection and web camera. Keep in mind that this is a coaching session for minimally verbal and young children with reduced attention spans, so there is no need for an SLP to have play dough on hand for modeling actions (sorry!)
Caregivers will need the same set up as the SLP plus the dough and some tools, which can be as simple as cookie cutters and/ or some common, kitchen objects. The list below offers some specific suggestions:
- Seasonal cookie cutters like spring flowers, shamrocks, or an umbrella
- Sturdy plastic cups for making circles and/ or rolling dough
- Plastic knife for cutting
- Mixing bowl to store tools and supplies
In the event that the family does not have some play dough on hand, then you can share this recipe for making their own. I might suggest adding some green food coloring to transform the play dough into grass and decorate it with flowers using plastic gems, pipe cleaners, sea shells, feathers, or outside objects like mini rocks or pine cones.
Now, what can we address with play dough? A better question might be: what CAN'T you target with play dough? Here are some of my personal favorite ideas that you can share with your families:
- Create "fossil" imprints with outdoor items retrieved on a scavenger hunt. Caregivers could use a cell phone to take pictures of the treasures in their yards and then use these visual supports to help their children find those objects. Target concepts such as same and different while matching objects to impressions.
- Work on imitating actions to roll, press, smash play dough using familiar tunes to sing a song.
- Address following directions at the simple or complex levels.
- Use the play dough to cover puzzle pieces in a bin. The child then searches for a piece to complete a puzzle. Pieces shaped like an object can be used to make impressions in the play dough for a conversation piece.
- Direct families to make a pretty flower with their children. Caregivers should sort whatever objects they have on hand into bins or an appetizer tray, so the decorative items are within sight but out of reach to prompt requesting.
- Foster pretend play by making small "hats" for Lego figures/ mini objects/ baby dolls. This also lends for a nice opportunity to work on a simple lexicon: hat, on, off, hat on/off. Another option would be to make "food" like thin spaghetti, pizza, or hot dogs and then model feeding a baby doll these delicious creations.
- Coach families to create a play dough pacing board, such as the one pictured below, for multi-syllable word practice.
As with the previous posts in this series, you will want to discuss the activity of choice ahead of your coaching session. Start the interaction with a check-in on homework from the previous week; review the goals for the day's activity; and then provide feedback once the interaction is complete. If you have some fun play dough activities to share, then please write them in the comments! Stay safe and well.