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  • Writer's pictureStacy Crouse

Combining Toys and Technology in Speech Therapy

Coke or Pepsi? Most of us (soda drinkers) are one or the other– not both. Luckily, speech therapy activity types (digital resources vs. physical toys and manipulatives) don’t have to be a similarly polarizing topic. There are many ways to use no-print therapy materials while simultaneously using toys, books, or games with your students.

Just because you want the benefits of incorporating digital activities into your speech therapy sessions, doesn't mean you can't have the best of both worlds. You don't have to awkwardly shuffle between your iPad and cherished Cariboo game.

Speech Therapy Activities that Incorporate Toys and Technology

You can seamlessly integrate technology into activities without it feeling disjointed and chaotic. Spice up your sessions, break up with your printer ink subscription, and check out these ideas!

Digital Articulation Cards

Like many SLPs, I have sadly fallen victim to buying an expensive set of articulation cards, only to have half of them missing or ripped a month later. Worse yet, how many of us have spent an entire weekend printing, cutting, and laminating (or is it laminating and then cutting?) a set of speech cards and subsequently not been able to feel our hand for like a week?

This doesn’t have to be your life! Try digital articulation cards– the PDF is not only no-prep but also motivating for students to complete. Say hello to an easy 100 trials! Students check off 10 productions before taking their turn in the game.

Digital articulation cards on an iPad used with a game in speech therapy

And since your hands aren’t fumbling through cards (or blistered from a weekend of cutting), they are free to give cues, take data, actually play the game with your student, and... scratch your head as to why you didn‘t buy digital articulation cards years ago.

In addition to digital PDFs, Boom Cards can even be played alongside your favorite therapy games. This free set of initial /r/ articulation cards (Boom Learning link) brings a fun, new element to the board game and helps keep the focus on articulation practice.

Articulation Boom Cards drill with a game in speech therapy

Digital Book Companions

And now, for my next trick... bring on the books! Don't you really feel like you have your SLP life together when you plan a therapy session around a language-rich book and you have a book companion that hits multiple goals?

But I could do without the forever-jammed printer and crazy-high cost of ink. Enter, no-print book companions (get it here on Boom) on your iPad, computer, or interactive whiteboard. You won't sweat those mixed groups (or that run to the printer 5 minutes before the session starts) because it's all right there on your device!

Digital Book Companion for speech therapy

Digital Toy Companions

As SLPs, we are no strangers to targeting speech and language goals while playing with regular ol' toys. But if you want to level up your play by adding a little more structure, you can add an interactive digital resource to the mix!

In this following directions Boom Cards deck (get it here on Boom), the student is getting double the practice by following each direction twice– with the digital activity and the physical toys. This is a great way to add repetition and reinforce the concepts.

Digital toy companions to use in speech therapy

iPad Apps with Toys

What do your students love? Whatever it is, there's probably an app for that! In this example, farm toys are paired with the Old MacDonald Had a Farm app for a dynamic language activity.

A speech therapy activity using an iPad and toys

Some other great apps to accompany toys and manipulatives in speech therapy include ABCYa, PBS Kids Games, and My PlayHome (and allllll the variations like the hospital and the school)!

Digital Scavenger Hunts

Scavenger hunts are my best-kept secret therapy material... except I've never been secretive about this speech therapy activity go-to 😆 Just hide objects around the room or building and use your digital checklist to find (and talk about) them. It's the perfect way to target multiple goals, add movement, and utilize a bit of technology along the way!

speech therapy scavenger hunt activity with toys and ipad

As you can see, you don't have to ditch your trusty therapy favorites in order to successfully implement digital materials in sessions. No-print resources can work harmoniously with toys, books, and games to save you time and sanity, as well as heighten excitement for your students. So go ahead, have your c̶a̶k̶e̶ Coke and e̶a̶t̶ ̶i̶t̶ Pepsi too.

Originally posted on 2/23/2020. Updated on 6/3/23.

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