What is play–based speech therapy?

  • Posted On : 22 March 2023

Play-based/play therapy is when speech language pathologist (SLP) plans speech and/or language activities around a play toy or activity.         

The SLP’s will create situations for the child to take part in target skill while enjoying motivating toy and activities.                                                                               

Play therapy helps to increase attention and build better positive interaction.

Children’s love their toys and this helps to communicate with the children with their choice of interest.  

Children’s learn social skills necessary for playing with toys and make progress on speech/or language goals in naturalistic environment.

What is play therapy?

Play therapy is type of therapy where play and art materials are used as the main way for children to express themselves.

Using play means that the child can explore their thoughts and feelings in creative and dynamic ways, without having to use words to articulate themselves.

In play therapy children’s uses drawing and painting, water and clay. sand tray and miniatures, drama, rhymes, story-telling and music.

Play therapy is to allow turn taking though offering the students plenty of activities.

The role of the therapist to use their new skill functionally and independently.

Toys and activities to stimulate touch include: -

  • Touch – feel books
  • Textured materials /papers /cards /
  • Sand, Clay, Dough and Cornflour paste with food colouring.
  • Water Play with or with or without floating toys.
  • Blowing bubbles for the child to burst.
  • Pasta Shapes/ Cereals/ Rice/ Lentils and Sensory trays
  • Sponge/ Cotton wool ball/ Potato shape painting.
  • Textured material floor mats


Functional Play

When playing functionally with toys for the first time, the child starts to play with toys the way they are intended. For example, with some help, they can put coins in to piggy bank, stack cups and rings.

Visual & Partial toys examples which have an in-built structure that is easy for children to imitate or to figure out.