10 Ways of Using the Musical Preschool Toy to Stimulate Language and Social Skills

I recently purchased the Musical Preschool toy set by Fisher Price for my son and immediately thought that this toy, in particular, would be a great tool for language therapy as it offers so many nice pieces that can stimulate language. 

Short description of the toy
The Musical Preschool toy consists of a preschool building, a rug area with musical instruments to push, a slide with a ladder, a door that opens and closes, a table with chairs, an activity area with a dinosaur, an aquarium, a hamster toy, a painting easel, and two student figures and a teacher figure. So many language opportunities!

Language targets

- Nouns: roof, chimney, door, stairs, hamster, dinosaur, fish, bird, piano, guitar, trumpet, boy, girl, teacher, table, chair, sticker, etc.
- Verbs: open, close, slide, jump, press, push, sit, eat, feed, touch, etc.
- Prepositions/concepts: on top, behind, next to, under, fast, slow, etc.
- Pronouns, e.g. He, she, they
- Auditory awareness, e.g., identification of sounds
- Social skills: manners, turn taking, peer conflicts and solutions, etc.

Ideas/activities using the Musical Preschool toy

1. Hide and seek prepositions: The little characters hide around preschool and the teacher figure looks for them. They can hide behind the door, on top of the roof, under the slide, etc.

2. Listening to instructions: The SLP or a parent can play the role of a teacher by manipulating the teacher figure, who gives verbal instructions to her students, for example: feed the fish; turn the guitar on; jump on the rug; and open the door.

3. Listening to description – I spy: The SLP or a parent describes an object from the toy preschool and the child guesses the object. For example, “I spy with my little eye something blue that ticks.” 

4. Pronouns – Who ‘s behind the door: The SLP or a parent hides different character figures behind the door, and the children open the door to discover who is there. The SLP or parent models various pronouns, for example, “She was hiding behind the door” and “They were hiding behind the door.”

5. Pronouns – Whose turn is it? The SLP lines up the character figures in front of the slide and asks the children to decide whose turn is it to go down the slide. The children then say, for example, “It is his turn to go down slide,” “It is her turn to go down the slide, or “It is their turn to go down the slide.”

6. Auditory awareness: This toy set includes different objects that make sounds. These could be used to teach or practice auditory awareness skills. For example, the SLP or parent places the toy set behind a child’s back and presses different instruments on the activity rug area. She then asks the child to identify the instrument that made that sound. To modify the above task, the SLP can ask “yes-no” questions to help the children to identify the sounds, e.g., “Did the guitar make that sound?”

7. Pretend play: The SLP or parent or the child pretends to be a teacher who leads a day at preschool, greeting the children and leading a lesson or any preschool activity.

8. Turn taking: The children can take turns pushing musical instruments, pushing character figures down the slide, or opening the door, etc.

9. Good manners: 
-The child can practice greetings by saying “hello” to the teacher figure and/or other character figures. 
- The child can practice saying “excuse me” by manipulating one of the character figures who wants to go down the slide and needs to say “excuse me” to all the children who are in his or her way. 
- The child can practice saying “I’m sorry” by manipulating one of the character figures who slides down the slide and bumps into another character figure who is at the bottom of the slide, etc. 
- The child can practice saying “thank you” by manipulating character figures who are having a pretend lunch at their tables and say “thank you” to the teacher who passes out lunches or snacks.

10. Resolving peer conflicts: This toy is amazing for setting up the types of peer conflicts that usually take place in school setting. The SLP or a parent can provide models of how to resolve various peer conflicts. Examples of peer conflicts that could occur when playing with this toy set include the following: 

- A character figure takes away a toy from another character figure
- A character figure pushes another character figure away from the slide
- A character figure teases another character figure
- A character figure destroys the chairs
- A character figure kicks another character figure
- A character figure stands in the doorway and does not let another character figure go through
- A character figure screams out loud

Beata Klarowska, M.S. CCC-SLP

Beata Klarowska is an American Speech Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) certified speech and language pathologist, licensed by the state of California.Beata cofounded Virtual Speech Center Inc. in 2011 and, to date, has developed more than 30 apps for speech, language, and cognition.


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