Speech Therapy with a snow theme.
It is time to bring out the cold weather activities . January started out with a winter blast here. The first two days back from winter break were cancelled because of freezing rain, snow, and ice. I see the cold bast is continuing across the United states so many other places are getting snow days as well.
I have a few snow activities posted on this site from previous years. You may or may not have noticed them. I thought I would showcase some of the activities I have used recently.
For my early language learners I have brought out the cornstarch and shaving cream snow. It is easy to make, only 2 ingredients. All you have to do is mix one or two cans of shaving cream with two boxes of cornstarch . The shaving cream makes it feel tingly cool, has a soft silky texture and a refreshing smell. To make this wonderful artificial snow add the shaving cream into the cornstarch gradually until the mixture will form a ball when squeezed together in your hands . Although it brushes off hands fairly easily, I recommend putting plastic down on carpet, so it doesn’t get ground in and hard to vacuum up.
You can add a few extras for snowman accessories.
I found this activity works well after reading a short story about a snowman. Choose your favorite one. There are quite a few out there.
I made a snowman story on StoryKit a few years back. The link is here. It explores prepositions using a snowman theme.
I also used a felt board story about making a snowman. The directions are here.
Have fun playing in the snow.
It is always hard this time of the year to find activities for group therapy with my Life Skills groups. There are usually 5 students in each group and the abilities are really varied. I try to include some motor activity because this keeps their attention. Using objects for actions is more meaningful for them then paper tasks. However there are a few students who have motor difficulties which makes it difficult for them to do some tasks and work with the group.
My inspiration often comes from my closet. This is a picture of what I found. I decided to make a badminton type activity. They used the pool noodles to hit balloons through the hulu hoop and then over the jump rope stretched across two chairs. We encouraged two students to hit it back and forth to complete turn taking. I reinforced the prepositions of over, through, below, under, and above. My early language learners practiced phrases such as “Give it to me”, “Hit it”, “I want it”.
One of my students kept saying “there it is”. He was a student who we usually had trouble engaging and he blossomed with this activity. For a student with Downs he had amazing eye hand coordination. I hope he does badminton for Special Olympics.
I liked the pool noodles because they didn’t hurt if students hit each other and the balloons slowed down the process enough that all the students were able to hit them. I recommend having spare balloons. We had one student who couldn’t resist squeezing and popping them.
You may remember in the original posts of this blog, I wrote about using a push-in model of therapy with Kindergarten students using table games to teach concepts that were measured on the The Boehm Test of Basic Concepts. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this test, The Boehm Test of Basic Concepts is a norm-referenced, standardized test of fifty common language concepts for children in Kindergarten through second grades. The concepts are important for following classroom directions and when acquiring math skills. Children with language delays, 2nd language learners, and those with lack of preschool experience benefit from direct instruction on these. The vocabulary section on this blog has some of the games that we developed and adapted. If you are interested in researching back to the original posts just put Concept Groups in the search bar and you can see how a year of school lesson planning went. I still use the same activities so they have held up over the test of time.
One of the Activities, “The Never Ever Dinner Plate” needed some refreshing. My sets are looking a bit worn after 5 years. The directions are in the vocabulary section but you still need to do quite a bit of work finding the clip art and collecting it together. This can be daunting when you don’t have much time and you are not sure of its true value. I decide to make a new set and preview it here so you could see what it actually is. This game/activity was used to teach the negatives (never, not), the concepts of match, full, half, and categories of food. It is also good for talking about a balanced diet if you have a nutrition program or theme. It was used in our Lifeskills program for that purpose.
The original game was played like this: Each child was given a plate mat and 3 pictured food items that match the outlines of the foods on the plate. I make a set of plates for each table so that each child will have a different plate. I made the meals balanced so dairy, vegetables, fruit, proteins, and grains are represented. There are also a set of non food items for each table group. These are items a child would never eat. The cards, including the nonfood items, are mixed and placed face down in rows in the center of the table. Students take turns flipping one card over on their turn to see if it matches a food item on their plate. If it does they can place it on their plate. If it doesn’t they turn the card back over. If it’s a non food item, emphasize that children “never” eat it. It is “not” food. The nonfood item is then flipped back over. They are basically foil cards. While you are playing you can also discuss categories of food and if their plate is ½ full empty etc. The game is over when one of the children is able to fill their plate with the proper food items. I have them swap plates and they are always eager to do it again. There is usually a lot of discussion about what they do like and don’t like to eat.
The full set of 10 plates is available at TPT. Click on the apple for quick access.