Using a Dollhouse In Play-Based Speech Therapy

This is my dollhouse. It is one of my favorite toys to use in play-based speech therapy with preschoolers and kindergartners. Half of my caseload is made up of preschool and kindergarten children. That being said, I use a LOT of play-based therapy. I've found that by using a dollhouse, I can target almost any goal with these students! It is ESPECIALLY easy to use this activity with mixed groups because it's so natural and fluid to go back and forth between skills!

Practice categories by sorting furniture into the correct room, sort by function (things you sit on, things that use water, etc.), sort by color, or sort by size!

Use dollhouse family members and sort furniture for each person! "This is HIS chair, this is HER bathtub, this is THEIR table."

Tell what each dollhouse family member is doing! "He is showering, the baby is napping, she is swinging, they are cooking, etc." You can even practice future and paste tense using this same approach.

This sounds obvious, but you can practice naming common household objects. Hello, FUNCTIONAL!! You can use a dollhouse with the earliest of communicators.

Expanding MLU

Practice expanding upon a child's labels! When a child says "bed" you say "a BIG bed" or "jump on the bed"!  Anything the child says (and trust me, more than likely your student WILL talk while playing with the dollhouse) just expand upon it by 1-2 words!

Hide objects or dollhouse people within the house. Talk about where they are (under the bed, behind the bookshelf, between the fridge and the table).

Withhold furniture and dollhouse people in a clear plastic tote. Model requesting items from the box, then have your student request! Go back and forth between modeling and expecting your student to request an item.

It's easy to model "my turn" and "your turn" when you're using dollhouse people! Practice sentences like "my turn to swing" and "your turn to swing" (or "my turn to sleep" and "your turn to sleep"). Possibilities are endless!

Following Directions
Give 1-2 step directions using the furniture and dollhouse people! Example: "Put the boy in front of the stove" or "Before she goes to bed, give her a bath!"

Model articulation in natural conversation using the items you're playing with while talking about what the dollhouse family is doing, etc. I've even put artic cards on the floors of each room and used that as an opportunity for additional practice. Ex: if your artic card says "snow", put it on the bedroom floor. Every time a dollhouse person enters the room, you can say "Oh no-- don't step on the SNOW!"

Use the dollhouse people to model expected vs unexpected behaviors. Talk about WHY one dollhouse person shouldn't shove another person, eat their food, or throw a tantrum when things don't go their way.

Possibilities are endless! Do you use a dollhouse in play-based therapy? Do you use any of the examples I gave? Do you do something different? Let me know in the comments!

Find more of my favorite preschool activities by checking out my Preschool Favorites Amazon List (affiliate).

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