Favorite Summer Toy for Early Speech & Language Development: The Water Table {Blog Hop & GIVEAWAY!}

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I am THRILLED to be partnering up with some fantastic therapy bloggers this week to bring you valuable recommendations and information AND provide you a chance to WIN a gift card to Amazon so you can purchase a new summer toy for the child(ren) in YOUR life!

Here’s how it works: Each of the participating bloggers, who are physical therapists, occupational therapists or speech-language pathologists, will be sharing the developmental benefits of their favorite summer toy with us. HOP around and read all these great posts and then enter for your chance to WIN! Let’s get this party started!

FAV summer toy

Children LOVE playing with water and a simple water table (or just a big bucket or small kiddie pool) can provide hours and hours of fun and opportunities for speech, language & vocabulary development. In addition, the water table is a very versatile product. You can use it JUST with water or you can fill it with sand, rice, beans  or other filers (examples below) to turn it into a whole different sensory and learning experience every time!

General tips on using a water table this summer:

  • Make sure to have lots of different containers (buckets, spoons, cups, etc) so your children can pour the water into different containers. Use different shapes, sizes and colors.
  • If your water table has two (or more) compartments, you might consider filling one side with sand and one with water.
  • Bring out little toys from inside! Little animals, cars, boats, trains, etc., all make GREAT additions to the water table! Fantastic Fun and Learning has a great round up of 20 “small world play” ideas you can do in a water table! It is a MUST READ!
  • Don’t limit yourself to just water and/or sand! As I already mentioned, you can also fill the table with other items!  Sand, colored rice, beans, foam building blocks, oatmeal, moon sand, cloud dough…check out Little Bins for Little Hands for 40 different things you can fill a sensory bin with as they can all be used in a WATER TABLE!

How To Target Speech & Language Skills with a Water/Sand Table

water table ev

Speech/Language Areas You Can Target While Playing With the Water/Sand Table

You can target just about anything with a water table! Here are some ideas for you, depending on your child’s needs:

  • Imitation skills: Some little ones need to first work on imitation skills. One thing you can do is imitate your child’s actions, vocalizations and/or words while he plays. Imitate something he does/says and then wait. You can learn more about building imitation skills in my post all about turn taking and imitation.
  • Turn Taking Skills: Practice taking turns with toys to help teach the import skill of turn taking, which is vital to speech, language & social development.
  • Animal sounds: Grab some small toy animals and throw them in the water/sand table! Model different animal sounds and provide your child with opportunities to imitate you and make the animals talk.
  • Articulation (speech sounds): You can use the water table to target sounds your child may be working on in speech therapy. For example, if your child is working on the /p/ /b/ and /m/ sounds, you can gather items that begin with those sounds and place them in the water/sand table for play! Say the words and encourage your child to repeat your words.
  • Body Part Identification (on self or toys)
  • Pronouns (I, me, you, he, she, they, hers, his, etc.)
  • Prepositions: You can use water toys, cars, toy animals (just about anything) to target preposition vocabulary while playing with the water/sand table.
  • Basic concepts: sizes, shapes, colors
  • Adjectives: other describing words
  • Verbs and verb use
  • Requesting: The water table is a great time to work on simple requesting skills. You can hold a desired toy just out of your child’s reach, look at him and WAIT. Model the language he needs if he needs a prompt/cue.
  • General pretend play skills
  • Following Simple Directions
  • Answering Simple Questions (who, what, yes/n0)

Additional Tips using Water/Sand Toys **VIDEO**

***Laura Mize from Teachmetotalk.com shared her Therapy Tip of the Week on Monday after I posted this and guess what? It’s ALL ABOUT WATER PLAY! So I just had to embed it here for you! So many GREAT ideas!

Examples of Water/Sand Tables

Here are a few cool water/sand tables (Amazon affiliate links for your convenience).

Step Two table 1

Step2 WaterWheel Activity Play Table

step 2 table 3

Step2 Splash N Scoop Bay

little tykes water table

Little Tikes Sandy Lagoon Waterpark

Now YOUR Chance to WIN!

Here is your chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card so that YOU can pick up a new summer toy for the child(ren) in your life! Here is how it works:

  1. You’ll head over to each of the participating bloggers’ Summer Toy Post, check out their recommendation and then leave them a quick comment! (links are below). Have you tried it? Will you buy it? Would your kiddos love it? How would you use it?
  2. Once you’ve left a comment on all the blogs, you can enter on the rafflecopter widget on ANY ONE of the participating blogs (not ALL of the blogs!)
  3. Use the Rafflecopter widget to give a “like” to the Facebook pages of the participating bloggers for additional entries!
  4. Sit back and think about what toy YOU want to order if you WIN!! Good LUCK!

The Inspired TreehouseOT CafeGolden Reflections BlogPink OatmealTherapy Fun ZoneYour Therapy SourceMama OTStarfish Therapies  – Playapyplaying with words 365

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. Open worldwide to those 18 years and older. Please read FULL RULES BEFORE ENTERING, available in the Rafflecopter widget below. Giveaway closes June 6 at 12:00am

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  1. Michelle Prichard says

    I LOVE water tables!! Great for water play, especially when we can’t make it to the pool!

  2. Amanda says

    This looks great! I use a water table year-round, and love the idea of an attached water wheel. I love adding Aqua Terra beads to water to discuss size, texture, shape, and making predictions.

  3. Jenna says

    My son got a water table for his first birthday last year. We pulled to out for the first time last weekend and he is obsessed! Ours is great for cause/effect, too, because there is a water pump and a lot of water wheels.

  4. Betty says

    I love your ideas for the water table- encouraging speech in creative ways all while having fun outside! Thanks!

  5. Nicole Millheim says

    I visited it all the blogs. What a giveaway!!! I love water tables. My kids would have hours of fun with one! thank you for the great chance to win

  6. Laura J says

    Oh Carter just loves to play in water! I do love the idea of putting in beans! We made a sensory box landfill for Carter as he loves garbage trucks and I used all kinds of beans! He really enjoys the bean play!

  7. Natalie says

    This is a great toy to both entertain my nephew and keep him cool in the hot weather at the same time.

  8. Anna H says

    I am potentially starting to pick up some home visits after spending a year working solely in the school system….I am a little nervous but reading things like this are getting me excited to expand my thinking and my play skills with the younger kiddos!

  9. lily says

    So glad I found your blog!! We have been waiting to get a water/sand table until this summer when my son (4yo with cerebral palsy) was able to stand better. Our 2yo little girl is also has a minor speech delay so this is very helpful for both of them. Can’t wait to try out all these activies!!

  10. Kristin Gideon says

    I LOVE all these ideas of how to best use our water table!! I’ll definitely refer back to this post. I also love the reminder to use the water table as a sensory bin too, I always forget to do that!


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