Showing posts with label Seasonal Fun. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Seasonal Fun. Show all posts

3 Inexpensive, Quick Tips for Teaching Old and New

Thanksgiving is a great time for teaching the concepts old and new! You can have fun doing this using felt, which is inexpensive, quick to prepare and can be used from year to year. Best of all, it lets you reinforce short-lived classroom vocabulary while teaching concepts that can be used over and over again.

3 inexpensive quick tips for fun movement activities in speech/language therapy for Thanksgiving and year round!
Felt boards are one of my favorite kinds of activities for young students since they learn best when manipulating objects and moving around. And it is inexpensive and quick to set up! You don’t even need to buy an expensive felt board to use felt activities. Just go to your local fabric store and buy a large piece of felt in your favorite color.

1. Get Your Felt Board Ready

- If you have a corkboard on your wall, tack it there.

- If you don’t, get a dowel or yardstick at any craft or hardware store. Roll the edge of the felt piece over it and glue the ends together. Make sure that the ends of the dowel stick out far enough past the edges of the felt that you can tie the ends of a cord on each side. Yarn and string will also work.

- Attach it to your wall with a nail, to a magnetic board using a strong magnetic clip that can grip the cord, to the hooks that are above the old fashioned blackboards, over a doorknob…..

It is easy to make and hang your own felt board!
You get the idea- you can make it work! But, since this is Looks Like Language, here is a photo of a really funny wall hanging that my daughter-in-law gave to me. See that the dowel goes through the seam and has a cord tied on? Presto- instant wall hanging!

2. Make your felt sets.

While felt sets for sale are adorable, don’t despair if you can’t afford them! And you don’t have to painstakingly cut out pieces of felt, either.

Just take any unlaminated pictures you want to use and glue them to pieces of felt with regular school glue. Spread it thin, let it dry and you have an instant felt set!

3. Fun activities with movement built in!

Thanksgiving is a perfect time for teaching concepts in speech therapy!
1)  Have the students label the pictures they want to place on the felt board. Use additional pictures, like the old and new houses in the photo, and you have a sorting task for old and new.

2) Put all of the felt pictures on the board. Ask a question and let a student go find the answer.

3)  Give some clues about one of the pictures and see if the student can find which one you are talking about- an instant activity for building inference skills!

4)  Glue the pictures onto square pieces of felt, make duplicates, and you have a movement memory game.

Thanksgiving themed fun with felt in speech/language therapy.
      5)  Turn one set of pictures over so that the photo doesn’t show. Let your students take turns throwing a beanbag at the felt wall so that a picture falls down. If they use their target skill correctly, they get to keep the picture. When all of the pictures have fallen, the student with the most collected is the winner.  

       6)  Bring the same old and new pictures back in the winter to review. Use a soft fabric snowball for the same activity and you have indoor snowball play!

7)   Make your life even easier and check out these great Thanksgiving activities at varying levels!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Quick Tips to Save You Time and Money for Years

Do you know an SLP who doesn’t want quick and easy tips to save time for years to come? Of course not! So be sure to save this post to your tips board!

These fun holiday themed activities let you work on any goals!
TIP 1: Remember that the holiday vocabulary is not the focus of the session.

While it isn’t worth our precious time to teach holiday words that only get used yearly, nothing says that we can’t incorporate holiday themes into our therapy sessions in a fun way! This lets students continue to make progress on their specific IEP goals in a festive way.

TIP 2: Cut out basic holiday shapes and laminate.

All you need is some holiday-themed construction paper to cut into basic shapes. If you know someone with a die-cut machine, it is even easier!

Mixed groups in speech therapy are easy with these fun  activities!
TIP 3: Individualize the shapes.

In the picture above, you can see the colorful pilgrim shapes that I used for years.  They are individualized with the addition of pictures for the students’ goals added on with double-sided sticky tape.  If you don’t have double-sided, a rolled-up piece of sticky tape will do!

You can also use a dry erase marker to quickly write on the words your students need to practice, or let them say the words 5 times correctly and then write it for you!

TIP 4: Quick changes are fast and easy!

If you don’t feel like making enough shapes for all of your groups, just keep a full-page laminated sheet nearby. It is fast and easy to swap out a set of articulation pictures for a set of action pictures, for example!

These easy to do group therapy activities tips will work for any holiday!
TIP 5: There are so many ways to use these!

👀 Make mixed groups easy by turning the picture side down and giving each student a set.  Combine varied sets of holiday theme shapes to elicit descriptive words:

•  the color item.
•  small or large.
•  old versus new, clean versus dirty.
•  the functions of the various shapes.

👀 Place the shapes in a square array to have students request using positional words:

•  the color item on the bottom/middle/top.
•  the color item on the left/center/right.
•  the color item that is above/below the color item.

👀 Write question words on one side and a picture on the other. Students are only allowed to keep the card if they correctly ask and answer a question using both words.

👀Add in picture cards from any sets you own to target specific goals before choosing a card. These Thanksgiving photo cards allow for a variety of goals to be addressed.

Then you can add little surprises like these to the backs of the cards that older students appreciate, like:

• No homework today!
• You earned an extra point!
• Bonus minute for free time!

The sky is the limit with how these can be used! Just remember to erase or take off the tape before storing them for next year!

Great Books Slps Will Love to Read: Porkenstein

Porkenstein by Kathryn Lasky is the great book of the week. It has great illustrations, useful for a variety of ages, and a really fun plotline that lends itself well to address a variety of goals.

Porkenstein, by Kathryn Lansky, is a great book for SLPs!

Summary: Dr. Smart Pig, one of the 3 Little Pigs, is lonely and decides to invent a friend for Halloween. He makes mistakes and lots of funny creatures result in his search for a friend.

Tips for Goals:

Emotions & Body Language
  • Elicit vocabulary for emotions while looking at the illustrations before reading.
  • Ask why he felt this way after reading the page.
Porkenstein, by Kathryn Lansky, is a great book SLPs will love to read!
  • Do you think it is a good idea to invent a friend? Why or why not?
  • What qualities did Dr. Smart Pig want in a friend?
  • Would you want a friend like that?
  • Did he get a friend with those qualities? How do you know?
  • Who were Dr. Smart Pig’s brothers?
  • Why did he want a wolf-proof friend?
  • Why did he think that inventing a friend wasn’t such a good idea after all?
  • Why do you think Porkenstein ate so much?
  • How did the stories about the enormous pig get started?
  • Why was the wolf drooling outside Dr. Smart Pig’s house?
  • Why did Dr. Smart Pig whisper when he saw the wolf?
  • Why were there just boots outside the door? What happened to the wolf?
  • Why did Dr. Smart Pig decide that Porkenstein was a true friend?

Describing Vocabulary:

famous, bigger, biggest, better, mysteriously, wrong, new, less, warm, rounded, corkscrew, starving, giant, enormous, incredible, huge, rumbling, scuffling, creaking, long, furry, loud, drooling, creaky, empty, lucky.
  • Teach this vocabulary in context.
  • What sense do you use?
  • Name # more things that can be described this way.


lonely, laboratory, shall, absolutely, squealed, chemicals, leaped, less, salt, later, tail, ceiling, I’ll, still, last, almost, life, table, like, jelly, swallowed, dribbling, all, including, long, miles, talking, incredible, drool, himself, meal, Halloween, drooling, little, old, lady, long, wolf, licked, fellow, listened, scuffling, rumbling, belch, silence, disbelief, smiled, believe, let’s, closer.

smart, famous, since, sadly, excited, his, friends, is, suddenly, was, absolutely, squealed, mixed, some, chemicals, raced, mysteriously, something, squirted, this, less, salt, hours, see, snout, corkscrew, wasn’t, has, wings, upside, ceiling, closer, still, last, almost, sunset, grunts, biggest, seen, starving, gasped, asked, swallowed, himself, such, jars, house, curtains, dust, bugs, it’s, Porkenstein, monster, stories, spread, soon, miles, enormous, said, just, sunset, pig’s, first, outside, fangs, ears, dress, whispered, brothers, voice, thighs, inside, listened, frozen, suddenly, scuffling, sound, silence, gasped, disbelief, smiled, boots, just, let’s, so, costumes.

year, brother, tomorrow, ever, friends, inventor,  never, ran, laboratory, bigger, better, proof, beaker, raced, mysteriously, squirted, dear, cried, wrong, aquarium, incubator, warm, garden, hours, later, peered, rounded, corkscrew, closer, creature, doctor, try, closer, meter, threw, heard, grunts, another, there, starving, over, dribbling, more, smart, worried, after, jars, every, garbage,  curtains, doormat, rug, chair, neighbors, Porkenstein, monster, stories, spread, enormous, heard, incredible, drool, first, trick-or-treater, cry, furry, under, her, dress, whispered, fear, brothers, creaky, sure, frozen, rumbling, pair, where, better, true, forever, never, hungry, replied.

Do you like this book?

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.


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