Showing posts with label Language. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Language. Show all posts

Inexpensive Ways to have Non-scary Fun this Halloween


Halloween fun doesn’t have to be expensive or scary! Try using felt when working with your younger students and get great results. The three engaging ideas featured here are easy to do and only require basic supplies, like felt, tape and markers. Give it a try!

Get great results using felt in play with your young language delayed students this HalloweenQ

Felt is such an inexpensive, versatile way to make your own therapy materials!  With every color available, you can make simple felt shapes to match every holiday and season. All it takes is the right color felt, a marker, a simple shape you can draw, and glue to keep it closed.








Find out how to make and use a pumpkin bag for emotions at Looks Like Language!
How to Make A Quick and Easy Bag

👻 Get a piece of felt that is double the size of the shape.
👻 Draw the shape on one side of the felt with the permanent marker, fold the felt in half and cut around it. Ghosts and pumpkins are easy to draw!
👻 Glue the sides together and voila! You have a cute little felt bag.
👻 In a hurry? Staple the sides together and put some tape over the staple backs if you have concerns about pricking little fingers.

Hide It!

Young students love to find hidden things! Try hiding small pumpkins with varied emotions faces inside a big pumpkin bag. Elicit a targeted speech or language production and then let students pick a pumpkin with feelings out of the bag. Find out what makes them feel that way!

A great thing about using felt is that students have something safe to hold onto and play with while waiting their turn!

Language you can model includes:
🎃 spatial concepts (in, out, on)
🎃 emotion vocabulary (happy, sad, scary)
🎃 descriptive words (scary, spooky, funny, silly, safe) 
🎃 colors
🎃 sizes

Young students will have fun just playing the game, but you can make duplicates of the emotion pumpkins to play and see who gets the most matches.

Sensory Issues

When there are no issues of tactile defensiveness, young students love to find whatever is hiding inside the bag. It’s kind of like getting a present!

But for kids with sensory issues, you may find it helpful to put the pieces you want to place inside the bag and the bag itself on the table. Felt is a soft, familiar material and many kids will explore it on their own when they are totally in charge of the pace.

For kids who still have issues, try these ideas after exploration time.
👻 Play a cleanup game where you name or describe one of the felt figures and see if they can find it.
👻 Let the child pick it up and put it inside.
👻 If this is still too much, place them far apart and see if the child will look at the one you named.
👻 Then make a mini version that you leave on the table in front of them. Just let them peek or participate in whatever way they can handle until the activity is familiar.
👻 Hide a few little pieces of a food reinforcer amidst the felt pieces to reinforce exploring.

Build language skills in how you play, not how much you spend!
Listening Activities

Use the bag for a fun listening activity that reinforces your work from that session:
     🎃 Describe one of the picture cards you used that session.
     🎃 See who can find the correct picture first to put in the bag.
     🎃 Therapy and clean up all in one!




Talk About It! Activities

👻 Place pictures of some work that needs review along with a Halloween photo in the bag. This is a great 5-minute warm-up to see what was retained from the previous sessions.
👻 Students take turns choosing a picture from the bag and telling about it.
👻 When the Halloween photo is chosen, discuss the picture, targeting each student’s current goal.
👻 Have copies of the picture already made to glue into the student’s communication book to talk about at home. Homework is taken care of!

Ideas for how to incorporate fun Halloween toys finds in your therapy sessions.
   Describe It! Play with it! Activities

    Place a few small Halloween toys inside the bag for your students to play with until their next turn. This is a great strategy for students who have transition problems or who have difficulty waiting, especially when you need a few minutes to concentrate on one of the other students in the group.

   The photo shows some examples of the types of toys that could be used.  Don’t put them all in at once.  Add a new toy, maybe every other session or so. You will see when your little ones get the language you’ve been modeling or start losing interest.

After they have explored the new toy, bring out some similar or familiar ones for a little describing and comparing/contrasting.  Did you notice there’s a variety of colors and textures there?

You’ll notice there are two felt ghosts there. One opens to be a puppet and the other is flat. One is small and one is big.  One is fuzzy (felt) and one is smooth (fabric.) One is happy and one is sad.

Fly the ghosts around in a fun way so your students want to request it.
Elicit some descriptive language by using sabotage, watching where the student is looking so that you are sure to give the unwanted one:
Oh, you didn’t want the little one? Maybe you wanted the BIG ghost. Tell me, which one do you want?” Just like that, you’ve set up a situation for describing!

Tips for fun, non-scary Halloween therapy sessions!
    Puppet Activities

      It’s easy to make felt into puppets. Just cut out a duplicate of the drawing you made for the bag, but close the top and leave an opening on the bottom that your hand will fit into!

      Puppets are a wonderful therapy tool for children! They let you adopt another voice, play games like giving and taking a toy, or interact in a way that feels less threatening to young children.


Sometimes young students who won’t talk to a speech therapist will speak to the puppet with no problems at all.  Puppets even give us the freedom to be a little silly in a way that might be uncomfortable otherwise (especially with a parent observing!)

Have fun working on facial expressions and vocabulary for emotions with a pumpkin theme!

     If crafting isn’t your thing, or you are looking for more detailed emotion images and problem-solving activities to support learning, click here. 

    This pumpkin-themed set can be used all fall to build social skills for emotions, facial expressions and problem-solving. The varied levels, with pictures, words and short scenarios, make working with mixed-level groups easier.



Enjoy!

9 Great Tips for Adapting Materials You Already Own!


Therapy doesn’t always have to be expensive, if you use materials you already have around the house creatively! It also helps if you have garage sales in your neighborhood or if you know people that have kids. Don’t be afraid to ask them to let you go through their kids’ toys and books before they get rid of them!

9 Tips: Adapt Materials for Therapy that You Already Own!
Adapting items you have takes a little time, but building up a supply of activities around a theme makes working with mixed-level groups much easier! Being able to mix and match the materials for different groups’ needs also keeps you from having to do the exact same activity all day long. 


These examples have a pet theme, so fun to do at any time of the year.
Garage sales are great for getting together a theme.


Tip 1: ORGANIZE AND KEEP COLLECTING!

Buy some inexpensive boxes to keep the toys and books you’ve found for each theme all in one place. Add to the theme as you find more inexpensive items.


Puzzles with separate pieces are worth spending some money on.
Tip 2: GET SOME PUZZLES!

If you have students with low-level skills or minimal language, puzzles that have separate pieces of whole items are worth spending some money on.

Students can:
• Request the pet they want to place. (labeling)
• Find the pet that makes the sound. (auditory skills)
• Find the pet who swims, flies, etc.  (action vocabulary)
• Find the pet who eats carrots, wears a collar, etc.  (word association skills)
• Request a black pet, a flying pet, etc. (describing)


Adapt your books and collect containers for play.
Tip 3: BOOKS! MUST HAVE BOOKS!

Find varied books on that theme with different levels and great pictures. This will let you build literacy skills while choosing the book that is easiest to elicit the specific language each group is working on.

Tip 4: ADAPT

Taping symbols over the book text to adapt it to be a simple repetitive book is simple to do. Just adapt the size of the symbols so that the original text is covered and use a wide roll of clear tape that extends past the paper to hold it firmly in place. The book in the photo is still in good shape after 20+ years. Don’t use school tape, though, as it will yellow and peel.

Tip 5: USE BOOKS TO BUILD SYMBOLIC PLAY!
Playing 'feed the animals' is fun!

The book in the photo has repetitive text for what the pets eat. Use craft glue to put small pieces of the foods in the bottom of empty, clean plastic fruit cups. It dried clear, keeping the pieces from falling out and kids from trying to eat them. 

After each page, students put the toy animal in the matching food cup to ‘feed’ them. It makes reading fun and brings the language to life!


Tip 6: MIX & MATCH
Having many items in the same theme to mix and match is so useful!

       • Therapy stays interesting.
       • There’s lots of opportunities to label and use or expand language skills.
       • Combining items in different ways aids generalization.
        • Building skills with different play combinations helps students to develop symbolic play.

A shoebox makes a great pet house for play!
Tip 7: SAVE YOUR SHOEBOXES

(Honestly, I am not a shoe shopaholic but 
little kids grow into new sizes quickly!)
Admittedly, it can be a pain to cut through shoeboxes, but they offer such inexpensive ways to incorporate hands-on fun with lots of language!

After warming up by labeling the pets with 
the puzzle, you can have some pretend play!
"The animals are inside, but they are hungry. Let’s take them out."
 "Who wants to eat first?"
"I think I hear “meow.” What is it? 
Let's open the door!"

You can emphasize concepts, sentence structure, question words, auditory skills, you name it!
Students who are minimally verbal can respond using the pet symbols you made by taking photos of the puzzle pieces, or the puzzle pieces themselves.


Turn worksheets into interactive fun!
Tip 8: TURN WORKSHEETS INTO PLAY!

Worksheets with pictures are great to turn into hands-on activities.

In the photo, you can see examples of:

     • Sticker activities that are laminated and turned into a pet shop game. One set is an enlarged version so that the students had to specify the big/little pet.

     • Shape matching pages turned into a game.

     • Hidden picture pages put into a page protector to make a matching activity using pet symbols. The pictures of the hidden animal were colored in this set for a student who was just beginning to visually discriminate.

• A trading card plastic page that was adapted with symbols for students to match the associated pet and say the sentence.

Construction paper is a basic school supplied material- use it!
Tip 9: USE ANY SUPPLIES 
YOUR SCHOOL OFFERS!

My school had Ellison cutters and construction paper available. Adding pet photos on the back before laminating made a simple game. Students requested the color cat or dog and then turned it over. 

The visual support helped the minimally verbal students form a sentence while the more verbal students used correct grammar in 
their productions.


Thematic materials are great for building speech/language skills!
As always, TpT can save you so much time with high-quality materials! 

Check out my Adapted Books: PETS Themed Activities and add your own toys for some interactive fun!


Enjoy!
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