As Black Friday approaches, many of you are searching for toys and games worth all the shopping madness. Need some ideas? Follow along with us at District Speech and Language Therapy as we continue our blog series examining fun and engaging games and toys that promote speech and language. Some of the best toys and games encourage pretend play, including #3 in our series.
This week: Kinetic Sand
We discovered Kinetic Sand this year at Two Rivers Charter School in the Special Education Suite (where we also see kiddos). Kinetic Sand is similar to Play-Doh because it can be molded into different things, BUT since it’s magnetic sand, it sticks together! Best of all, it makes for an easy clean up! Our kiddos love the texture of the sand and love being able to put the sand into various plastic molds to make anything and everything (e.g., castles, dinosaurs, and princesses).
I typically use this toy when I am targeting articulation (e.g., a child takes turns with it while practicing speech sound productions), or if I want to give the child a break from an intense language activity; however, this toy is best used to encourage pretend play.
Why is pretend play so important?
Pretend play requires advanced thinking strategies, communication, and social skills.
It helps your child understand the power of language.
It also helps him or her learn that words give them the means to reenact a story or organize play.
Pretend play indirectly develops literacy skills.
Finally, it calls upon important cognitive thinking skills (e.g., problem solving, theory of mind, negotiating, flexibility) that he or she will use in every aspect of life.
Below are a couple of pretend play ideas you can do with Kinetic Sand:
If your version has the fairy tale molds, encourage your child to pretend to be a princess or prince in a castle.
Encourage your child to pretend the sandbox is a dinosaur bone excavation site.
If your version is the “construction zone,” encourage your child to pretend to be Bob the Builder and build whatever he or she desires.
Want to learn more about the benefits of play? Below are a couple of resources that can provide more information:
If you live in the D.C. area and have concerns about your child’s language or articulation and would like to seek additional help beyond what your school based speech language pathologist may be able to provide, visit www.districtspeech.com for more information on our assessment and therapy services for children of all ages.