Tuesday Toy Tip: Turning Chores into Playtime

Tuesday Toy Tip: Turning Chores into Playtime

Olipop toyshop - hearing therapy toy tipsToys are often associated with fun and play, but what if I told you that some of the best “toys” for your child might already be right under your roof? In today’s Tuesday Toy Tip, we’re flipping the script and exploring how household chores can double as valuable playtime experiences for your kiddo. So put away the shopping list – it’s time to get creative with chores!

Chores as Playtime:
Who says chores have to be boring or tedious? By reframing household tasks as opportunities for play and learning, you can turn everyday routines into engaging adventures for your child. Here are a few ways to make chores fun and interactive:

1. Setting the Table:
  – Transform setting the table into a game by challenging your child to match utensils with their corresponding places or arrange items in creative patterns.
  – Encourage them to count out the correct number of plates, cups, and napkins, turning it into a mini math lesson.

2. Watering Plants:
  – Let your child take the lead in watering household plants, providing them with their own watering can and letting them explore the process at their own pace.
  – Use this time to teach them about plant care, discussing topics like sunlight, water, and growth.

3. Folding Laundry:
  – Turn folding laundry into a sorting game by asking your child to match socks or categorize clothes by color or type.
  – Challenge them to fold items into different shapes or patterns, sparking their creativity while teaching practical life skills.

Benefits Beyond Play:
Engaging your child in household chores isn’t just about making chores more enjoyable – it’s also an opportunity for them to develop valuable life skills and habits. By involving them in tasks like cleaning, organising, and caring for their environment, you’re teaching them responsibility, independence, and the importance of contributing to the family unit. 

Moreover, chores can also be a bonding experience for you and your child, providing quality time together and fostering a sense of teamwork and cooperation. Instead of viewing chores as a chore, embrace them as opportunities for connection and shared experiences with your little one.

As parents, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of daily life, but let’s not overlook the hidden potential of household chores as valuable playtime experiences for our children. By infusing chores with creativity, imagination, and a spirit of fun, we can turn mundane tasks into meaningful opportunities for learning, growth, and bonding. So the next time you’re tackling household chores, invite your kiddo to join in on the fun – you might just discover that the best toys are the ones you already have at home.

Tuesday Toy Tip: Turning Chores into Playtime

Tuesday Toy Tip: Toy Rotation

Olipop toyshop - hearing therapy toy tips

Toy rotation and having all toys readily available both have their merits, and the best approach depends on various factors like space, the child’s preferences, and developmental needs.

Toy Rotation

Rotating toys can help keep playtime fresh and exciting, encouraging creativity and exploration. It also helps manage clutter and keeps toys organized. However, it requires effort to regularly switch out toys and may not work for every child, especially those who have specific favorites they always want access to.

All Toys Readily Available

Having all toys accessible allows for spontaneity in play and gives children the freedom to choose what they want when they want it. It can foster independence and decision-making skills. However, it can lead to clutter and potentially overwhelm, making it harder for children to focus on one activity at a time.

Ultimately, a combination of both approaches might work best. For example, keeping some toys out for easy access while periodically rotating others can strike a balance between novelty and familiarity. It’s essential to observe how your child responds and adjust accordingly to support their playtime experience effectively.


Tuesday Toy Tip: Turning Chores into Playtime

Tuesday Toy Tip: Harnessing the Power of Dress-Up Play in Speech Therapy

Olipop toyshop - hearing therapy toy tips

Dress-up play isn’t just a fun pastime—it’s a valuable tool that can be seamlessly integrated into speech therapy sessions, offering numerous benefits for individuals working on speech and language skills. Here’s why dress-up play is particularly beneficial in the context of speech therapy:

Encourages Verbal Expression
Dressing up as different characters or personas provides individuals with opportunities to practice verbal expression in a playful and engaging way. Whether they’re pretending to be a pirate, a  doctor, or a fairy tale character, they can explore new vocabulary, practice articulation, and engage in spontaneous conversation.

Facilitates Narrative Skills
Through role-playing, individuals can create and narrate stories based on the characters they embody. This narrative play strengthens storytelling skills, sequencing abilities, and overall  narrative comprehension—all of which are essential components of speech and language development.

Promotes Social Interaction
Dress-up play often involves interaction with peers or caregivers, fostering social engagement and communication skills. As individuals take on different roles and engage in pretend play   scenarios, they practice turn-taking, listening, and responding appropriately—a crucial aspect of effective communication.

Expands Vocabulary
Immersing oneself in different roles and scenarios exposes individuals to a diverse range of vocabulary words and concepts. Whether they’re describing their costume, discussing the traits of  their character, or engaging in dialogue with others, dress-up play provides rich opportunities for vocabulary expansion and language enrichment.

Supports Pronunciation Practice
Dress-up play can be particularly beneficial for individuals working on speech sound production. As they imitate the speech patterns and vocal characteristics of various characters, they  practice articulating sounds and words in a contextually meaningful way, which can help improve speech clarity and pronunciation.

Boosts Confidence and Self-Esteem 
Assuming different roles and successfully engaging in dress-up play can boost individuals’ confidence in their communication abilities. It provides a safe and supportive environment for them  to experiment with speech and language skills, fostering a sense of accomplishment and self-assurance.

Enhances Problem-Solving Skills
Role-playing often involves navigating social situations, making decisions, and solving problems—all of which require cognitive flexibility and critical thinking. Engaging in dress-up play         challenges individuals to use their communication skills to overcome obstacles and achieve their goals, fostering cognitive development alongside speech and language progress.

Incorporating dress-up play into speech therapy sessions can transform traditional exercises into dynamic, interactive experiences that promote speech and language development in a holistic and enjoyable way. By harnessing the power of imagination and creativity, speech therapists can effectively support their clients’ communication goals while fostering a love for learning and self-expression.
Tuesday Toy Tip: Turning Chores into Playtime

Tuesday toy tip: Art Supplies for Expressive Language

Olipop toyshop - hearing therapy toy tipsUsing art supplies like crayons, markers, and paints with children is a fantastic way to boost their expressive language skills alongside their creativity.

Here’s a condensed overview of the benefits:

  • Descriptive Language Enhancement: Describing their artwork helps children expand their vocabulary and refine their ability to communicate with precision.
  • Critical Thinking Through Creative Choices: Explaining why they chose certain colors or subjects encourages reflection and verbal expression of their thought processes.
  • Emotional Expression and Vocabulary Growth: Discussing the emotions or ideas behind their art allows children to explore and articulate complex feelings, fostering both emotional intelligence and language development.
  • Self-Expression and Confidence Building: Articulating thoughts and feelings about their creations boosts children’s confidence in their expressive abilities and contributes to their identity formation.
  • Comprehensive Language Development: The act of creating and discussing art enhances both receptive and expressive language skills, making it a potent tool for overall language growth.

Engaging children in art and conversation about their creations is a holistic approach that nurtures their linguistic, cognitive, and emotional development in a fun and interactive way.

Tuesday Toy Tip: Turning Chores into Playtime

Tuesday toy tip: The importance of toy versatility and adaptability

Olipop toyshop - hearing therapy toy tips

Make sure that toys are versatile and adaptable, or another way to put this is open-ended. Toys that can have multiple uses or ways to play with are so valuable.
Open-ended toys can address a variety of therapeutic goals over time, which maximises their utility and long-term value.
Open-ended toys also allow children to develop cognitive or problem solving skills. When using these toys, children have to figure out how to use it and play with it. Every time children use these toys is different to the time before. Play like this fosters creativity by learning how to play with it and make it work for them.
Tuesday Toy Tip: Turning Chores into Playtime

Tuesday toy tip: Choose toys that promote movement

Olipop toyshop - hearing therapy toy tips

Young children are full of energy and let’s be honest, they love to move. If given the choice, they would rather move and do something then sit still and do something. So if you are trying to do therapy at home, find and use toys that encourage movement and physical activity. Using these type of toys are ideal for at home therapy as they also help to build gross motor skills and improve coordination.
We often use a combination of the below to set up an obstacle course, having little pit stops where we can practice a therapy technique. At the moment that includes Myofunctional therapy exercises and/or LMH sound identification. Some examples of toys or objects we use to encourage movement:
– swing
– balls to kick
– a yoga ball
– hula hoop
– jump ropes
– plastic motorbikes we get in South Africa
– a ball pit
– soft blocks and mats
– a trampoline
– bean bags