As many of you know, I love all things mini and recently all things squishy.  My latest therapy fad, which I can adapt to many different targets, is the use of Trash Packs.

Trash packs are mini squashy pieces of rubber with disgusting faces and shapes.  This makes them a hit with the boys.  My young male client’s eyes light up when they walk in and see the trash cans and truck on the table.

I start with the Trashies in their bins.  Depending on the sounds we are working on, each Trashie has a name with the target sounds.  For example, recently I have been working on bilabials – so they were called Bob, Pop, Bobby.  When working on bilabials and alveolar they are called Pat Matt, Betty, and so on.  I have a list of names for each target sound.

Depending on where my clients are working on the hierarchy, I adapt the activity from single words to phrases and sentences. When moving to sentences I like to incorporate a verb with the target sound.  E.g. Pop out Bobby.  Depending on the level, the play can be extended to incorporate more words and different sentence types.  E.g. Does Bobby want to drive? – Put bobby in the seat.  Hang on Bobby.

I have also use Trashies in a more traditional way where the students say a target word and are rewarded with a Trash Pack character.

I also have a trash truck which allows me to target a range of language targets.  Prepositions are a breeze with hiding Trashies under, in and beside the truck.  A game of hide and seek can be quickly reversed from a receptive to an expressive game.  Their faces are ugly and are great for exploring descriptive language.

Using erasers in Therapy

My other mini and slightly squishy therapy favourite is erasers.  I picked up a great cheap pack from Kmart.  In fact, I bought two packs as you never know when a barrier game might pop up!  The erasers are made up from pieces which through play tended to pop apart, so using a little craft glue I stuck them all together.

The amazing variety of erasers enables us to use them for many tasks.  They are great for sorting into semantic categories, you can use them with playdough or sand to set up a play scene, use them as props for a book or with two packs the options with a barrier game are endless.

So dig out your squishy mini toys and have fun!

Bilabial namesBilabial plus alveolarVelarVelar plus alveolar