Trash or Treasure?

Well this is going to be a more personal blog post. (These are my views only).  Being a speech pathologist means  you love toys and using them in lots of different ways to motivate your clients.  But it also means PLASTIC.  And of course most of us are worried about climate change.  So where does that leave a toy-loving, economy friendly and value packed clinic?

This is a dilemma I have been wrestling with for a while now.  Certainly you can buy more eco-friendly (wood, recycled etc) toys which is a good choice and often more durable.  However as my own family grows up and the toys in our home accumulate dust I realise how MUCH we have that can be re-used.  I don’t need to run out and buy more DinkyDoodads or other plastic nicknacks when I have so much of it already.  I probably shouldn’t have bought so much plastic in the first place but at least I can recycle it now and have lots of children get value out of it.

So what is junk exactly and is it really junk?

The Lego Masters TV show has inspired our home to get out the Lego again.  I am sure we are not alone in having big tubfuls of it!  Whilst my husband and son build it, I sort through it and glean all of my own treasures…. Most of it is Lego but also so many other little bits have strayed into the boxes that I know I can use.  Marbles, rocks, Kinder Surprise, figures, cars, wheels… It’s all in those tubs and I am alphabetising it for use in articulation, literacy and other areas of our clinical work.  Have you noticed Lego figures have capes, hats, helmets, wigs?  Also they have shovels, keys, flags, shields, bones and whatever else your set may have included.  Lego men themselves are incredibly motivating for articulation work.

Stay tuned for the next post on recycling.

My other helper….








Mini Match-Ups !

Matching games are great for so many reasons.  Young children love to match pictures to real objects and it is a great way to learn new words.  If you have some mini versions of grocery items you can make up some  interactive games.  Check out our board games you can download for free!

Shopping games are fun with a cash register or trolley/bag.

Basic bingo games for real matching can be fun.

Why not use a packing list to put all the items in a suitcase or backpack for a toy campervan, car or similar?

You can order sandwiches and drinks from a cafe menu.  Set up the cafe and feed some of the toys.

Download your games here!



Here are 2 examples below –

























Uber Eats in our Waiting Room

Our waiting room always has a Role-Play theme.  Not only does it make waiting fun, but it can kickstart some ideas for playtime at home.

Today we have another food theme – takeaway or delivery food.

You can order from the Menu – sushi, salad, hamburger, chips or pizza.

Do you want takeaway or delivery?

Use the play phone to order your food and pay with some play money / card.

The food can be put in a brown bag for delivery.

The delivery guy can dress up as a chef or with a delivery bag.

These are all good role play ideas for developing imaginative play at home.  Depending on your child’s age, there are many vocabulary items you can practice – phone, menu, more cheese etc!

Download some signs to put up at your house! (or clinic room)



What about the toys?  You can either recycle your pizza boxes, containers etc.

Or KMart has the sushi set and hamburger/chips set as pictured.  The salad is a felt play set from IKEA.

8 Toddler Games without Toys

Before first words appear, toddlers need to be sending messages to you.

Messages can be ;

  • facial expressions
  • pointing at things
  • tapping you on the hand to get your attention
  • calling out
  • nodding or shaking head
  • and much more!

This infographic is for parents who are helping toddlers to send more messages (without words).

Getting your toddler to focus on you (not a toy) makes it easier for him to interact with you and communicate.

Stick this on the fridge as a reminder throughout the day!

Download here


Books to Support Pretend Play

In one of our earlier posts, we listed 15 ideas for Pretend Play and Language.  This has been one of our most popular posts with parents.  For each pretend play topic (eg Picnic)  we have recommended a picture book as a backup for language development. Reading has so many positive benefits for language and literacy and family connections!  But of course it also extends vocabulary and gives more ideas for your imaginative playtime.

Here is a revised list of 40 books that promote imaginative play.

Click on the title link of the book to purchase at Book Depository.

Post-Office Play


Postman Bear         Peppa’s Post

Birthday Party


Spot’s Birthday Party ,  Happy Birthday Maisy,    Happy Birthday!



Picnic,      Having a Picnic,    We’re Going on a Picnic

Doctor / Vet Play


Olivia Becomes a Vet,     Doctor Maisy,      Mog and the V.E.T.



Maisy Takes a Bath,    In the Bath,      BathTime Peekaboo,      Bathtime

Doing Washing


Washing Line,   Mrs McNosh Hangs up the Wash,    Peppa’s Washing Day



Maisy Goes ShoppingLlama Llama Shopping DramaGoing Shopping



Spot Bakes a CakeEddie’s Kitchen

Ice Cream Shop


Wemberly’s Ice-Cream StarCurious George goes to an Ice-Cream Shop



Mog in the Garden,   Doing the GardenMad about Minibeasts Maisy grows a Garden



Noisy Farm,     Hide & Seek Farm,     Maisy on the Farm   Oh Dear!

Ocean / Beach


Hooray For Fish!   Commotion in the OceanGrandpa & Thomas Noni Pony goes to the Beach



Digger Man,  Dig Dig Digging,  Machines at Work,


happy reading!

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