25 Feb Toy Tuesday: LEGO
This month’s Toy Tuesday blog is written by Dawn, who is a big fan of using LEGO in her therapy sessions!
LEGO is of course known worldwide, and even in an age of iPads it is the number one toy among children today. Children (and adults!) learn so many important skills through playing with LEGO and DUPLO bricks that it’s no wonder they are a favourite with speech and language therapists, and the C&D team is no exception.
The colourful, interlocking bricks (both regular LEGO and the larger size DUPLO for younger builders) are already used within many schools and among therapists as part of LEGO Therapy, an intervention that is used to help children with their social communication and language development.
Here are just a few other ways we use LEGO and DUPLO as part of our speech and language sessions:
- Colour and shape matching: Colours and shapes are important language concepts. We use them to describe so many things in our world and often categorise many things according to one or the other (or both). You can start by doing basic matching, sorting the bricks into colours or shapes, and then progress to identifying them – “let’s build a red tower” “put a square one on top”
- Choosing: So many of our early speech therapy targets are choosing or requesting; it is a vital skill in communication. Whether verbal (“red/yellow rectangle please”) or non-verbal (looking, pointing, reaching, picture exchange) LEGO and DUPLO are great for offering choices.
- Listening and following instructions: For little ones this could be learning to follow early language instructions such as “give the red Lego to teddy”. For older children and teens it can be to listen to more complex instructions as you read from the LEGO instruction manual: “now you need to turn the model over and put the yellow square piece at the end of the grey rectangle”
- Prepositions: Of course, this can be done is many ways, either through hiding pieces (“look under the bed”, “where is the blue piece?”) or while building (“put a red one on top of the tall tower”). You could even make items out of LEGO, such as a bridge or a table, and use them to practice prepositions (“the man is walking under the bridge”)
- Sequencing: The first steps in sequencing our language is sequencing patterns. Just as children can practise copying bead threading patterns, they can copy LEGO colour or shape patterns!
- Sentence structure: Some children have difficulty in putting words into sentences, we often use LEGO as part of our Colourful Semantics activities, matching a particular colour of LEGO brick for each word type [noun, verb, preposition etc]. Just stick your word or picture on the LEGO bricks, mix them up and see if your child can build them into a sentence!
- Speech Targets: You can put your bricks to use for many speech sound games: To start, just stick your target sound (or sounds) on lots of bricks and each time they add a brick to the tower, they say the sound. Move them onto blending sounds by putting a vowel on every other brick so they say “t-ee, t-oo, t-eye…” as they build. Once they have moved onto whole words, a picture of the word can be placed onto the LEGO brick to see how many words they can say and how high the tower can go!
- Phonological Awareness: We use LEGO and DUPLO for lots of sound awareness goals: Try syllable awareness practice by choosing the number of bricks to match the number of syllables heard in a word. Or say a word, for example “car” – is the ‘c’ sound at the start or end of the word? Stick your ‘c’ picture on the first/last brick in the row. Even simple sound discrimination can be targeted, just put a pile of bricks with a sign for ‘t’ and a pile with a ‘c/k’ sign. Then your child chooses from the pile with the sound they hear (car – the ‘c’ pile, tar – the ‘t’ pile)
- Taking turns: Taking turns to build a tower or a model not only helps young children learn to wait, but also to learn to tolerate and accept what the other person has chosen to add! Older children can follow the idea of LEGO Therapy and work in teams to take turns being builder, supplier and instructor.
If you’d like to know more about Lego Therapy training, click here.
For information about the cost of therapy sessions, click here.