First off, I suggest that you begin by going around your house and collecting up stray toys that seem to get lost in the shuffle and just don't have a spot to reside. Put them all in a big box. It doesn't matter what you collect since there are so many different things you can do with the toys. You don't really have to have a "mental checklist" of "must haves" for your box. In my box I have: 3 cars, 2 trains, 2 small balls, 3 plastic animals, 2 puzzle pieces (the puzzle no longer has all the pieces and was going to be tossed), 1 whistle, and 1 noisemaker. I could've collected more, but I have a young child and didn't want to overwhelm him.
- Name the items as you pull them out of the box. Try to make your face look excited to see what is coming out next. That will help get your child to engage in the activity. Let him/her hold the objects.
- You can tell your child about the objects. Describing things will give them a great model for language!
- Simply take an object out of the box and say "out" and hand him/her the object. When they are all out, then put them all back in saying "in" with each one. You can do this same thing with any preposition set (on/off using a table or the tray on their high chair, up/down and move the objects up and down in the air, etc)
- Have your child name the objects.
- Have your child to try to name one aspect of the objects - i.e. color. This will start to get them to begin to learn how to describe.
- Teach them prepositions using the objects.
- Have your child receptively locate items (if naming them is too hard). You can make it easier/harder depending on the number of options you let them choose from.
Listening Comprehension: Depending on your child's level of sophistication with listening comprehension, you can:
- Have your child find a specific item when named (remember, don't let your child see your mouth moving because he/she should be learning to listen. Position yourself directly behind your child and have your mouth close to his/her head).
- Describe an object using two or three descriptors and see if your child can find the object that you are requesting.
- Tell your child a sentence about the object and see if he/she can find the target object.
- You can have your child work on requesting in an appropriate manner. Have your child look at you and then request in an appropriate manner (i.e. "May I have a toy" or "May I have the car" or "May I have the blue car"). You will know what the appropriate level is for your child's language capabilities.
- If you have two children playing, then teach them about sharing by having them share one of the toys from your bin. You could also have them swap toys after they have had a few minutes to play with them. A timer could really help with this activity so that they have equal time with the preferred object(s).
- Have your child practice his/her "smooth" speech by naming, describing, or requesting the items in the box.
- Try to find objects that have your child's target sound or past target sounds that have been mastered in order to change up your speech "homework" practice time!