5 Easy, Fun Ways to Jazz Up Bingo this Halloween

Older elementary to middle school students love it when you jazz up bingo by using  creepy little Halloween doodads. You know, the kind you can buy in bags at Target’s Dollar Spot at the Dollar Store. They add that 3 dimensional element of play that kids this age still secretly love (but won’t always admit to.) Just make the toys have a bit of Halloween horror and it is more than acceptable!

Reuse plastic divided containers to jazz up bingo this Halloween!
This activity is fun and easy to do. Just save and wash some divided plastic containers with compartments. The photos show empty ravioli containers, but some cookie boxes have them, too.

Find some fun and slightly creepy Halloween toys that can be tossed, like the spiders and eyeballs in the photo. Then be creative in ways to play! Try out these fun ideas.

Inference Toss

🕷 Students listen to the description on a task card and toss their toy as soon as they have made an inference about what it is.
🕷 If their Halloween item lands on the answer, it stays there.
🕷 If no one lands on the correct answer, the card goes back in the deck to try again and the students remove their incorrectly tossed  Halloween toys.
🕷 Play continues until the first student has 3 in a row.
🕷 If time runs out, the student with the most items on the game boards wins.

Build skills from vocabulary and word associations through riddles and inferences this Halloween!
Use Your Language

🕷 Students toss first and then correctly define, describe, or use the vocabulary word in a sentence in order to keep their Halloween item in the game.

Halloween  ‘Bump’

🕷 Each student needs their own color/type of Halloween tossable toy.
🕷 Students provide a correct response for whatever they are currently working on before tossing.
🕷 All tossed Halloween items stay wherever they land unless someone’s Halloween item lands on top of them.
🕷 Then the first Halloween item in the space gets bumped back to the student. The first person to get the designated number in a row wins.

Fun plastic Halloween toys to toss keep even your older students engaged! Fun game ideas from Looks Like Language.

Rapid Naming Race

Use plastic containers to lay 3D Halloween toss!
Students start their Halloween toy in a 
corner of the board and have to move across the rows (or up and down the columns) 
to get to the other side to win.

Individualize what students are naming dependent upon their goals.

Ideas include:
🕷 Name the item and 2 things that go with it.
🕷 Tell 3 words that describe the pictured item.
🕷 Name 4 things that the Halloween item is used for/can do.
🕷 Name 2 rhyming words for that item.
🕷 Use it in a sentence to answer this question.

Students have 15 seconds to provide the answer correctly and move to that pictured space.
If they don’t respond correctly, it is the next students’ turn.
If someone else lands on your Halloween game marker, they have to go back one space.
The first student to get to the opposite side of where they started is the winner.

Make it easy to differentiate for mixed groups this Halloween!
   Halloween Task Cards Play

    🕷 Each student gets their own Halloween picture compartment board.
     🕷 The desired set of task cards, whether WH question cards, riddles, inferences or quotes gets placed in front of each player.
     🕷 Students take turns reading a card and covering the picture if they are correct.
     🕷 If incorrect, the task card goes back on the bottom of the pile to replay.
     🕷 The first student to fill their game board wins.

Using task cards with a fun game makes it easy to individualize to your students' needs. You can have students responding to completely different kinds of work while they all feel that they are doing the same thing since the activity is shared. The pictured Halloween bingo task card sets make this so easy to do. Just click to check out all of the engaging activities one packet lets you do!

Do you know the best thing about these jazzing up bingo ideas? They can get used for any holiday as long as you have pictures and fun little toys to toss. Or use them at any time with springy little balls!


Playing to Have Fun Learning Halloween Social Routines

What better way to have fun learning social routines for Halloween than with a little trick or treat playPlay is the best way to do therapy, especially with little ones! Kids pay attention better and learn more easily when they are having fun. 

Why Practice the Halloween Routine? 

Have fun in speech learning the language for Halloween!
Halloween has become a big holiday in the US and can be a bit scary for young children or autistic kids. It is worthwhile to use your therapy time practicing Halloween routines to help familiarize them with not only the day itself, but all of the decorations they will see in stores and houses.

👻 Kids who don’t have the language needed will have a harder time participating with their peers.

👻 Learning the routine and playing with (a little bit scary) Halloween figures can reduce fear for kids who get frightened by Halloween.

👻 There are so many repetitive phrases and short sentences that you can use to build language skills: Knock on the door. Open the door. Trick or treat. Thank you. Put it on. Take it off. Share with me!  Put it in. Take it out.

👻 Kids with motor speech problems benefit from the sing-song repetition of “Trick or Treat.”  They can practice the vowel change combination even if they can’t get the whole word.

👻 For articulation errors, there are so many costumes and candies, you are sure to find something that will get them practicing their target sound. Some ideas for the common L, R, S errors that could come up in conversations at Halloween are:
I’ll wear a ____ costume.                                I like that candy.
I see a ____.                                                    I’d really like to get ______.
Trick or Treat!                                                 See what I got!
I’d like to get more ___.                                  So where should we go next?

Practice the social routines of Halloween to familiarize your students.
How to Practice the Halloween Routine?

Books and play, of course! Combined is even better Keeping the language simple, in a repetitive routine, lets kids get lots of practice.

Shoebox play
Shoeboxes are so useful for making therapy materials! Glue on some construction paper, draw a door and some pumpkins, or just decorate it with some Halloween stickers. Then, punch a hole to tie some string into so you can open and close the door easily. Look what a fun Halloween activity you have!

Play using shoebox props imitates the real routine and can easily support symbol use/exchange as well as verbal language, eliciting the repetitive phrases listed above. Start by having a new friend inside the box every day. Getting excited about what new toy was inside can help preschoolers with transition problems do it easily. An added bonus for starting your sessions with play!

Introduce the name of the costume, and do the trick or treat routine before moving on to the ‘work’ you need to accomplish that session. After a book and some activities that reinforce the skills being worked on,  the kids can have a little free play with the toys at the end of the session. Toys where the costumes come on and off are certainly worth keeping your eyes peeled for when you are at garage sales!

Familiarizing young or autistic kids with trick or treating makes it less scary.

Be on the lookout for toy sets that let kids easily dress play figures. You may recognize the Halloween set in the photo from your childhood days. It is a great example of easily putting on and taking off Halloween costumes.

If you can’t find these at a garage sale, don’t worry!  Kids like to pretend, so you can use any toy kids to play. Just cut out pictures of Halloween costumes in the approximate size and put them on the figures with poster putty. It shouldn’t do any damage as long as you take it off before storing.
Of course, don’t use poster putty with kids who still put objects in their mouths!
Playing trick or treat on the iPad is great for teletherapy!

iPad Play
Limiting screen time is recommended for children, so make your iPad time a valuable learning experience! While particularly useful for teletherapy since you can still practice the trick or treat routine, it won’t be 3D!  If you are working with a child in person, be sure to combine hands-on activities along with iPad use, especially if your student has autism.

Using a paper duplicate of the onscreen activity can be a good way to help autistic children start to interact in real life. Since they are already familiar with the activity, the new skill is playing it with a person. 

Just take screenshots or photos of the activity steps that require interaction.  Have students point or communicate the information for the number of responses they are capable of, and build up until they can do the entire activity in an interaction with you before gaining access to the iPad version.
Try it, and let me know how it works out! Just comment on the pin.

What is your favorite Halloween activity for speech sessions?

Why Books are the Best Tool for Speech Therapy

Books are the best speech therapy tool! They provide a great way to work on a variety of goals and the central activity ties mixed groups together. And you know that our kids need more exposure to books!

In preschool, simple repetitive books are great. Children love that they can ‘read’ by repeating the refrain, and truly, it is a way to teach children to begin to read.

Adapted, interactive books keep kids engaged.

Why use repetitive books?

👀 To reinforce the speech or language skill you just worked on in a very functional activity.

👀 To help students with apraxia or motoric speech disorders to build their skills in connected speech with a rhythm.

👀 To get lots of sound repetitions with a repetitive refrain that incorporates their target sounds.

👀 To easily make interactive adapted books.

👀 To have simple language that usually matches the illustration on the page.

What a wonderful gift we are giving to students if we help them learn to love books!

If your students have problems attending to market picture books, it could be from difficulty attending that long or that the language and the pictures don’t sync well enough for students to gain meaning.

Interactive adapted books can be made as short or as long as your students’ attention spans allow! The language used is reflected in the pictures and the interactive nature keeps kids involved during reading.

This free set can help you learn to use interactive, adapted books with your students when you join my Literacy Group.

But what about older kids?

It can be difficult to find good books for older, lower-level students.  Look for books that:
👀 have pictures.
👀 are not too babyish.
👀 use inferring skills.
👀 have multiple characters and plot lines.
👀 have character interactions that let you work on problem-solving and social skills.

A tough set of requirements to fill! The high level/low-interest books tend to have limited vocabulary and very simple plot lines, which work well for reading out loud but aren’t the language rich books that SLPs need.

Why literacy in speech? Therapy tips from young to old.

Some of the books by Chris Van Allsburg fit this bill if your students are impossibly lost with grade-level texts.

“The Stranger”  is a great book for making inferences with beautiful illustrations. The plot of the story is just difficult enough to use for skill-building, while the illustrations keep it from looking babyish.

👀 Students with auditory memory problems need to practice the strategy of looking back at the text to find the important details and answer factual questions. 

👀 Making inferences is a skill practiced over and over again in both the pictures and text of the book in order for students to understand the plot.

👀 There’s even a great YouTube video to use as a follow-up activity. It is well-acted and lets students practice interpreting facial expressions and body language.

👀 Elicit language for comparing and contrasting the video version with the book.

The Widow’s Broom is another great book to read if your students have social language difficulties.

👀 Students who are working on narrative skills can practice retelling the beginning of the book from two different character’s points of view.

👀 For conversation or past tense goals, have them retell the story as if they were telling a friend about what happened.

👀 It is also great for working on theory of mind. Will your students realize that the widow has no idea about the witch’s activities that night since she was sound asleep?

👀 Practice perspective-taking by discussing the varied point of view characters have about the broom. Is it wonderful or evil?

Using books like these with your students can also be a learning experience as a therapist. When middle school students have problems with the inferences and perspective-taking skills needed for these books, it becomes easy to understand why they are so frustrated with the books the curriculum requires.

What books do you like to use in therapy during the fall?

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