Structured and unstructured play can be difficult for students with special needs. If a student is unable to play with toys during structured leisure time independently, structuring the activity and then fading away the supports is a great strategy.
Why is play important?
Play is an important skill to learn for development. The benefits of using play in your early childhood classroom has many benefits:
- Social interaction with pers
- Focusing attention
- Respecting boundaries
- Turn Taking
- Following rules
- Build confidence
- Understand how the world looks
- Develop life skills
- Develop social skills
- Increase language development
- Increase Communication
- Caring for others
- Physical and Fine motor skills
- Build cognitive experience and connection.
Remember, break time is just that… a BREAK.
If your student is on a break, they should not be doing work…. unless they choose it.
If a student enjoys the play visual supports and selects it for a break, then sure they can do it… but if they want to play with Mr. Potato head by lining up the pieces… it is their leisure time to do just that. We do not structure a students break time or make rules about free play.
How to Teach Playing with Specific Toys
Many toys have a set of norms for how to play with them. If students do not develop these play skills by watching others, visual supports are helpful. Here are some ideas for visual supports for play with specific popular toys.
How to Use Play Visual Supports
Support students with play-related IEP goals and increase student independence, language, and social skills.
This resource targets specific language related to each play skill, making it a great resource for special education and speech therapy.
These play visuals will give you specific skills to teach and take data on when focusing on play skills and IEP goals.
Ways to Use
Allow the student to choose a visual to target a specific skill with each activity.
Show the student the 4 steps to complete the structured activity in order.
What’s Included in this resource?
Each play instruction includes 2 levels:
Level 1: Students will move the Velcro pieces to the number to complete the task analysis.
Level 2: Students can cut and paste the worksheet for the steps to review after completing the activity during leisure time.