Effective speech and language therapy is certainly based on knowing how to advance language skills or correct speech sounds, but it is also important to figure out what motivates the child you are working with. There is no “one size fits all” although many toys and games are pretty much winners with kids. It occurred to me last week as I hauled my huge canvas bag of options to several houses, that at two places, I had spent the whole hour using only Play-doh and a stuffed animal.

My little 5 year-old friend, has a special stuffed dog known as “Cutie.” She is working on her sounds so she will repeat any sentences related to our preparing berry pies, lemonade, and cookies (out of Play-doh of course) for her special Cutie. The hour of therapy passed so fast I couldn’t believe it.

Some other “winners” are the Playmobil pirate ship and cast of characters (I got mine for $10 at at tag sale), blocks, cookie cutters for Play-doh, a cash register, puzzles and play food.

My friends in the picture are the new “Nuzzles” by Gund who can flop over an arm, curl around the neck, or hang on a chair. They provide a wonderful audience for kids to talk to.

“Nuzzles” were provided for review by Gund Toys.