Boys and Dolls

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Let’s discuss boys and baby dolls. Culturally, we are taught that only girls play with dolls, but boys can play with dolls too! Role play helps to problem solve while working through scenarios. You can also observe the child’s capabilities of the skill during play.

  • If your son is a picky eater, play with baby dolls to work on exposure to new foods.
  • If your son doesn’t use utensils, play with dolls to work on motor coordination.
  • If you’re expecting another baby, play with dolls to prepare your son for their role as a big brother.
  • If your son is rough with other children or animals, play with dolls to work on empathy. 

Playing with dolls gives your child more opportunities to practice new skills. 

Have fun playing! 

Hand Puppets

hand puppets

Encourage language by singing songs that are repetitive. Old MacDonald is my go-to song!! These hand puppets will also help with motor and social skills.

Here are some ways to target each skill:

  • Language : Have your kiddo identify and label each animal. Have them imitate animal sounds. Leave phrases out while singing and have your kiddo fill them in.
  • Motor : Model for your kiddo how to use their fingers to move the puppet’s hands. Move one hand at a time. Move them both together.
  • Social : Have each animal interact with each other and say something about themself. For example, the horse can say, “I’m brown. I eat apples.”

Have fun playing!!

Role Play

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One way to help with social skills is to role play.

Children with autism want to socialize, they just don’t know how! So they engage in socially awkward behaviors such as pushing, invading personal space, stimming, etc. Instead of apologizing to the other parent, TEACH your child what they need to say to get the child to play with them.

You can work on these skills at home by role playing with dolls or action figures. Act out scenarios where one approaches the other and says something like “Do you want to play with me?”

Practice. Practice. Practice.

Food Play

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Who has a picky eater?! Then it’s time to play with food!!

Use exposure therapy to get little ones familiar with new items. The more they see the item, the more likely they are to try it.

This isn’t going to happen over night. This is a process and it will take time. Try to include some type of food during play everyday.

I love this set from Melissa and Doug. It’s great for hand-eye coordination, language, cognitive, motor, adaptive, and social skills. So much learning with 1 toy!!