How to Use Nesting Cups In Speech Therapy

Nesting cups are open-ended toys that foster language, imagination, critical thinking skills, fine motor skills, problem solving, and more! Children of ALL ages love this simple, yet complex toy. Read below for how to use my favorite nesting cups, Fisher-Price Basic Stack and Roll Cups with a variety of ages.

Early Intervention

  • Practice simple turn-taking and joint attention by rolling the ball back and forth.
  • Target gestures by knocking on the ball to request open, pointing or using a hand motion to request go, and using signs for more and help.
  • Target imitating actions by shaking he ball and tapping it like a drum.
  • Stack all the cups and turn it over, making a bowl. Make the ball spin around the inside of the cup after prompting for go (gesture or verbalization).
  • Take turns either opening the ball or spinning the ball and practice my turn/your turn.


  • Stack cups and use as a telescope to find objects around the room. Use the carrier phrase, I see ___ (i.e. I see door, I see you, I see book, etc.).
  • Practice turn-taking with play partners by taking turns opening or spinning the ball.
  • Manipulate the cups to target basic concepts (size, spatial concepts).
  • Target following directions by using commands to manipulate cups.Use different colored cups for category sorting.


  • Stack cups and use as a telescope to find articulation targets around the room (I use cards on the wall).
  • Construct 5 individual balls and hide stimuli in each ball.
  • Use the different colored cups for a visual when targeting phonological awareness skills. 
  • Use as a reinforcer during session.
  • Use as a reward for the end of the session.


Target Words: Ball, open, knock knock, go, stop, up, down, more, want, done, in, out, help, uh oh, boom, weeee, shake, big, little, small, *colors*
Target Phrases: I want ___, I see ___, go in, on top, go ball, stop ball, roll fast, roll slow, ready set go, 1-2-3, open ball, open *color,* help me, my turn, your turn. options are literally endless with this toy, that\'s what makes it a favorite! How would you use them?
*For a video of how I use this toy, head over to my Instagram page and check out my therapy toy highlight. You can also follow along every Tuesday for a new #toytuesday and grab free toy handouts

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