“Fall” was the theme for this week’s therapy sessions. I do separate themes to teach about “apples” and “pumpkins,” so this theme primarily focused on leaves. For preschool, we talked mostly about how leaves grow on trees and change colors in the fall. We’ve had fun reading books, crafting, stamping, and coloring our way through the theme this week! Below is a craft that was loved by everyone:
My kids loved tracing their hands to make the tree trunk. I withheld leaves and allowed them to glue them after practicing articulation/phonological targets. This craft was also good for following directions, spatial concepts, and descriptive concepts. It was so easy to prep and make, yet so fun for everyone! You could even use pieces of real leaves!
What are your favorite fall themed activities?
Now that Fall is upon us, I am beginning to ease into Fall themed activities. This week, we learned all about apples and apple picking!
I found lots of “apple” worksheets and activities on both Pinterest and Teachers Pay Teachers, but this week I thought I would highlight something that I made myself. I talked to my students all about apple trees and apple picking. Because we couldn’t visit a real apple orchard, I tried to bring the apple picking experience to them!
I am not very artistic, but this was so easy to make! I used construction paper, Google images for apples, laminated everything, and we were good to go! My kids loved this!! It was perfect for articulation targets (e.g., for every three productions we picked an apple) and you could even write words or attach pictures to the back of the apple for practice after picking. There are lots of ways to use this for language targets as well. Use different colored or sized apples to work in descriptive concepts, practice using sentences while picking, or practice spatial concepts while placing apples under, on, or behind the tree. Perfect for almost everyone on my caseload!
What are your favorite “Apple” activities?
After a few quick days learning my new caseload, we jumped right in with a “Back to School” theme this week! This theme incorporates everything about school, including school supplies, riding the bus, and playing on the playground.
Our first day’s lesson focused on vocabulary. We read “If You Take a Mouse to School” by Laura Numeroff and practiced identifying objects and actions. This adaptive book from Fireflies N’ Mason Jars was another useful tool for teaching vocabulary. This book was especially helpful for those students who needed a more “hands on” approach. The Speech Space has another interactive book option for free here. Lots of resources for teaching new vocabulary!
After learning about different school supplies, we practiced filling our backpacks with school supplies. While learning new vocabulary, we also discussed object functions, used descriptions, AND practiced articulation. Teach Early Autism has the free download to this activity!
Most preschoolers love singing, and I found several activities to go with the “Wheels on the Bus” song. The worksheet pictured below is available for free here. Tailor Made for Talking created a great PECs resource that I use with almost all of my students. This resource is available through her Teachers Pay Teachers site. For students motivated by music, I pulled up the song on YouTube and we practiced requesting “more music” using a variety of communication methods.
After learning about the bus, we also spent time talking about the playground. Jenna Rayburn from Speech Room News made an awesome interactive book called “Let’s Play!” This book is great for playground vocabulary, matching, and has repetitive, short sentences. You can find this book on TpT here. Our toy playground set is a great complement to this book!
It has been a fun week learning all about school! What are your favorite “Back to School” activities?
Welcome back to another school year! The beginning of the year brings many new names, goals, and faces. I like to begin those first few days of speech therapy getting to know (and better know) the students on my caseload. What better way to create motivating lesson plans than by asking students what they like?! This post features entirely FREE printable activities that are ready to use in therapy! I would like to extend a big “thank you” to the fabulous authors of the products listed below.
Activity 1: Welcome to Speech Therapy Foldables
Peachie Speechie created these foldables that encourage both creativity and discussion. I love the space to write speech goals and my schedule, as a reminder for parents. This also facilitates conversation with my students about their speech targets (very often, I realize that they don’t know them!) Oh, and did I mention it is free?
Activity 2: Back to School Speech Therapy Flip Book
This freebie is brought to you by Speech Room News. This little flip book is not just a fun activity, but also facilitates discussion about likes a dislikes. Kids can work on requesting materials, using multi-word utterances, and pronouns to target language goals!
Activity 3: About Me Craft
I can’t wait to use this craft! I plan to incorporate body parts and clothing vocabulary while having students make themselves with these materials. Add yarn for hair, textured fabric/papers, and googly eyes to add a sensory component! Here is the link from A Little Pinch of Perfect. The printable includes several different boy and girl outlines for children to choose from.
I also used the book, “I Like Me” by Nancy Carlson. It’s so fun to hear what preschoolers like about themselves! What activities are you doing to find out about your students?
Camping is a summer activity that many of my preschoolers have never been exposed to or learned about. As such, it has served as a fun theme for speech this week!
I introduced this theme by asking students about their experiences with camping. Most students associated camping with fire, s’mores, and sleeping in tents. I read “Pig Pig Goes to Camp” by David McPhail to talk about other camping activities.
To reinforce some new vocabulary, I found a fun “camping” themed Bingo game.
This game is available as a free printable here. This was useful for describing functions, naming vocabulary, and identifying described objects.
Of course, no camping theme would be complete without s’mores! Using these free marshmallow sticks from The Speech Room News, I had students practice artic words (3x for each marshmallow) and build s’mores as a reward. S’mores were made out of cardboard (graham cracker), laminated chocolate bar pictures, and cotton balls (marshmallow). A pretend campfire was perfect for roasting marshmallows!
Lastly, we worked on many different targets while “catching” fireflies in a jar. This craft was a great reinforcement activity. Sadly, I never got a picture of the finished product. To create it, we stamped our fingers and drew faces to make fireflies. Some of my students used multiple colors to create really pretty jars! Here is a copy of the mason jar template I used. It is pictured below!
We enjoyed this theme! What are your favorite camping activities?
This week’s theme is Ice Cream! This theme has been so much fun…I have yet to meet a preschooler who doesn’t love ice cream! Fortunately, there are many (free) activities that go with this theme. Here are some that I used this week:
This “popsicle” craft was so easy and fun! Use different colored construction paper, make strips and shapes for decoration, and add a popsicle stick to the back!
Ice cream sound cones: These buildable ice cream cones are perfect for targeting artic sounds. The best part? They are FREE from this Reading mama.
What would a theme be without some dot art? This page is also free as part of a pack from totschooling.
This Fisher Price game really was “scoops” of fun! It is intended to be a matching game, but I also used it as reinforcement for most of my speech and language targets.
In addition to these activities, I found tons of cute ice cream crafts on Pinterest. I also found a great matching game and free file folder game. I’d call this one a success! What themes are you targeting this summer?
Summer session has begun! The past week has been spent learning new names, new faces, and new IEP goals! While I don’t have theme therapy plans to share this week, I do want to share three important things I have learned:
- Build rapport. This is important regardless of the population you work with. For adults, it only can take a few minutes. For children, it can take multiple sessions. The time spent building rapport is crucial to have future successful therapy sessions.
- Involve parents. I have started doing home visits for the first time in my career. It has been quite a change to go from having little contact with parents to having parents sit with me in therapy sessions! Building rapport with parents is just as important as building rapport with children. Parents need to feel that their child is working with someone knowledgeable. Most of them also want to know what they can do to help their child. Having parents right next to me has really forced me to “up” my game! I try to explain what I am working on with the child (because it often just looks like play) and encourage ways they can work on the same skills on their own. I also like to try to find out what methods parents are using for communication at home. Sometimes, if a child is nonverbal, there is no real method. It then becomes the SLP’s job to provide resources for the family.
- Ask children. I spent tons of time planning what I thought were fun, engaging activities. I didn’t touch a single one of them. During initial rapport building sessions, it became obvious to me that I needed to abandon my plans. Rather than reinvent the wheel, I asked my students what they like. The answer: games. What could be easier? This was a simple reminder to me that I don’t need to reinvent the wheel for therapy to be fun!
With week number 1 in the books, I am feeling (slightly) more confident and ready to begin week 2! How are your summer sessions shaping up?