Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Summer School Speech Therapy- Let's Go Camping!

Camping is a perfect summer theme for speech therapy.

15 Summer Speech Therapy Activities with a camping theme

The school year has ended but many children will still be attending speech therapy in summer school or in private therapy. How do you keep children engaged when those warm breezes beckon outside?

I love using summer-time themes in speech therapy, and camping is a favorite. There are plenty of easy activities you can do for super speech sessions. Most of all, it's fun! Here are a few ideas for you:

Set up camp

You'll need a campfire. (What's camping without a campfire to sit around?) Make your campfire from orange, red and yellow tissue paper. Stuff the "flames" in a metal bucket or in the middle of paper towel tubes for "logs." An electric tea light in the center would make it even better.

Grab a couple of bag chairs and put them next to the fire. Put a cooler in between them. You can make a "tent" by draping a sheet over a small table or over a rope. If you have a small pop-up tent, use it. Your children will be thrilled!

If you'll be working at a table, try throwing a red, checkered tablecloth over it to set the mood.

Read Books about Camping

You'll have plenty of opportunities for wh questions and story retell with these fun books:

Story Books:
Boris Goes Camping by Carrie Weston
Curious George Goes Camping by Margaret and H.A. Rey ( I still adore Curious George!)
PJ Funnybunny Camps Out by Marilyn Sadler
Amelia Bedelia Goes Camping by Peggy Parish
A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee by Chris Van Dusen a funny, rhyming misadventure!
Henry and Mudge and The Starry Night by Cynthia Rylant

Toasting Marshmallows: Camping Poems by Kristine O'Connel George These are lovely poems. Explore this book with your older students for vocabulary development.

More Speech Camp Activities

Go on a Bear Hunt to Practice Positional Concepts
Check out The Bear Hunt by the Learning Station for some fun music and movement. It's terrific for positional concepts and verbs.

Camping-themed summer speech therapy ideas! Going on a Bear Hunt  by the Learning Station for our camping theme in summer speech therapy

Guess the forest animals: Name to a description
Tell the children you'll give them clues, and they need to they need to guess which forest animal it is. For instance: This animal is black with a white stripe on it's back. It can smell quite stinky. What is it?
Skunks have just the right amount of "ewww" to fascinate my children. This little cut and paste reader features a funny skunk, targets /sk/ blends and has a funny ending. From my Articulation and Language Activities for SK pack.

Camping themed Speech Therapy ideas! Have fun with this adorable S-blend practice cut and paste reader by Speech Sprouts Read the post for 15 ideas and freebies too!

Owl-themed multiple meaning practice freebie
Whoo's my Homophone is feathery free download for you in my store.. Please leave me some love when you grab it (feedback in my store), it's appreciated!

Let's Go Camping! Grab this free Multiple meanings Owl freebie plus lots more ideas for speech and language in summer speech therapy
FREE Multiple meanings vocabulary fun with owls

Stamp some Stars for S-Blends practice. 
Grab dark blue construction paper, a star-shaped cookie cutter and a bit of yellow tempera paint. Dip the cookie cutter in the yellow tempera and stamp it on the paper. Have your articulation students say "star" or "stamp a star" each time.

Go on a scavenger hunt outdoors.
Find something that is:

Have a camping themed scavenger hunt! Practice describing as you find things that are bumpy, fuzzy or tiny. 15 more great summer speech and language activities with a camping theme.
that smells
that grows

Make Microwave S'mores for sequencing, describing, requesting and categories
Have your children predict what they'll need to make s'mores.

You'll need:
graham crackers
chocolate bars
paper plates

Language Goals to target:
Making requests/ formulating complete sentences: Have your children ask you for each ingredient 

Describing: Feel, taste a bit of each ingredient. Is it crunchy or soft? Smooth or rough? Sweet or sour? 
Categories: Name more foods that are crunchy, soft, or sweet. What else can you make with chocolate?

You may want to "roast" the marshmallows over your "campfire" on a stick before putting your s'more together.. What does "roast" mean? what else can you roast? What other food can you cook over the campfire on a stick?

Build your s'mores
Put half a piece of graham cracker on a paper plate. Add a piece of chocolate, then a marshmallow and top with another half graham cracker. Now it's ready to cook. 15 seconds in the microwave should do it. Be careful they're not too hot in the center. Squish and eat! 

When you are finished, talk about how the ingredients changed. Describe the s'mores using "senses" words. How did it feel, taste, smell, look? Did they feel hot? Sticky? Gooey?

Have a good old-fashioned flashlight hunt for any target.
Turn off the lights and give the children flashlights. Have them find or illuminate articulation or language cards.

Find more great camping theme ideas 

on my Pinterest board: Camping Theme Speech Therapy

Happy Summer Friends!  

!5 great summer speech therapy activities with a camping theme. Includes storybooks, crafts, a scavenger hunt freebies and more for speech and language fun! www.

Friday, June 8, 2018

10 Sizzling Summer Freebies for Speech and Language You'll Love!

Ready for summer into your speech therapy room?

10 Sizzling Summer Freebies for Speech and Language

Whether you are wrapping up the school year or planning your summer speech therapy sessions, I've gathered some terrific recommendations for summertime speech therapy activities for you.

How about exploring the blue ocean, camping out, catching a few bugs, heading to the beach, grabbing a cold ice cream cone or going on vacation in speech therapy?

Note: This post first appeared on Speech Spotlight. It swam over here to make it easy to share with my peeps on Speech Sprouts.

No need to search for terrific summer materials, I've got you covered!

Be ready for summer speech therapy with this fun round-up of summer speech and language freebies and product recommendations from a few of my favorite SLP blogger/ authors. So grab a lemonade and enjoy the warm breezes, you're all set.

1. From Speech Sprouts
The Freebie: That's Fishy! Which Does Not Belong?  Get out the fishing pole and work on negatives, categories, and associations with this colorful game. Then have your children match the fish to the same color fishbowl. Pre-K to1st grade.
Recommended: Summer Picture Story Sequencing Sequence and retell these bright, fun 2, 3, and 4-step picture stories with puzzles, sequencing cards, mats and cut and paste pages. Pre-K to 2nd grade.

2. From Susan Berkowitz
The Freebie: Free AAC at The Beach- Summer Communicating Fun. Implement AAC at the beach this summer! Includes vocabulary suggestions, directions of Aided Input, general AAC information, and a topic-based picture communication board.
Recommended: My Summer Journal: Writing about Vacation Activities. Send this writing project home with students over the summer. Students write where they went and what they did using pages that provide visual themed picture cues and wh statement prompts. 

3. From Ashley Rossi
The Freebie: Free Speech Therapy Summer Dice and Dot Grab the bingo daubers and dice- your children will color and roll as they target articulation of /k/ and /g/ in all word positions.
Recommended: Speech Therapy Summer Dice and Dot This full product will have your children dotting vocalic r, r, s, l, blends, ch, sh, z, th and language targets too. Pronouns, verbs, antonyms, categories, describing, compare and contrast and more. Kindergarten to 5th grade.

4. From Sarah Wu- Speech is Beautiful
The Freebie: Gift Bag Dog Tags for Camp Counselors Say thank you to summer staff by attaching these cute dog tags to inexpensive goodie bags. Great suggestions to fill your bags with essentials. 
Recommended: No-Prep Summer Speech Therapy- Receptive and Expressive Language Print and go language means more time for you! Pronouns, spatial concepts, wh questions, describing, compare and contrast, describing, and listening too. Pre-K to 1st grade.

5. From Looks Like Language
The Freebie: Summer Rhyme Time Fun  Sign up for Linda's newsletter to grab this freebie. Find the rhyming pairs of picture cards. 
Recommended: Sentence Builders and WH Questions - Summer Picture Activities Make, say and write noun-verb-object sentences to talk about summer fun! 3 game ideas, WH question activities, sorting mats, writing pages. Pre-K to 1st grade.

6. From Alberta Speechie
The Freebie: Summer Speech and Language Activities Newsletter Send home a newsletter that has a new speech and language activity every day and get parents involved for great carryover. 
Recommended: Ice Cream Animal Categories Build some sweet ice cream cones as you categorize animals by where they live or distinctive features. Pre-K to Kindergarten.

7. From TLC Talkshop
The Freebie: S'More Open-Ended Fun  Build S;Mores with a twist! Spicy, Smelly, Sweet or Strawberry, children race to complete their recipe. 1st grade to 5th grade.
Recommended: Language is a Ball: Beach Ball Craft  Create beach balls for Function, Part-Whole, Categories, Descriptions, Homonyms, Prepositions, Pronouns, Plural Nouns, and Verbs! Pre-K to 5th grade.

8. From Ms Gardenia's Speech Room
The Freebie: No-Prep Summer WH Questions Print and go for following directions and those tricky WH questions. Color your answers in the picture, or predict and draw what will happen next. PK to 2nd grade.
Recommended: Regular Plurals: I Have, Who Has for Summer Cards and super easy no-prep worksheets to teach plural endings and answering who and what questions. I have a shell, who has shells? PK to 2nd grade

9. From  Jennifer Bradley SLP
The Freebie: Summer Articulation & Language Homework Calendars Send home these calendars for daily suggestions for quick, fun activities. Keep track with the 'I Did My Work' chart!
Recommended: Articulation Homework Flipbook Bundle  11 Flipbooks (K, G, F, V, R, L, S, Z, TH, SH, CH) that you can send home to help your students with articulation! Each page of the flipbook gives parents detailed directions on how to help their children improve. Kindergarten to 3rd grade.

10. From  AGB Speech Therapy
The Freebie: Preposition Playground- "Behind" Have fun as you head to the playground and practice answering "where" questions with the concept of "behind". 
Recommended: Camping is Fun! Level 1 Read this simple story with repetitive text. Build vocabulary and associations as you talk about the items you need on a camping trip.

10 Sizzling Summer Freebies for Speech and Language

Happy, happy summer!

Saturday, May 12, 2018

You Need to Make This Adorable Easy Ladybug Craft

This cute ladybug craft is made with one black construction paper circle, and one red circle cut in half for the wings. The wings are punched with a hole punch for the spots. It's adorable with wiggle eyes and pasted on a green paper background. Read the post for ladybug storybook and song ideas too!
Easy to make ladybug craft for your bug week theme!

Make this easy and oh so cute ladybug craft for your bug theme!

Do you use themes in speech therapy? I love them, especially for my preschoolers. This week we were talking about bugs. It's a perfect spring or summer theme and fits right in with most preschool and kindergarten science lessons this time of year.

This paper hole punch ladybug craft was a hit with my preschoolers and my older children wanted to try it too. Just adorable and each one turned out a bit different.

We targeted articulation of final /g/ and initial /l/ and categorized those creepy, crawly insects. 

Which ones hop? Crawl? Have wings? We didn't forget question comprehension either. How many legs do insects have? Are ladybugs insects? Where do you find ladybugs?

Some crafts take too much time away from articulation practice, but not this one. We got plenty of repetitions as we practiced our /l/ words while we punched each hole: "light, light, light, lamb, lamb, lamb." Of course, you can do that with any phoneme.

Construction paper, glue. a marker and a hole punch are all that's needed to make an adorable ladybug craft in preschool speech therapy. Read the post for ladybug storybook and song ideas too!
Add two wiggle eyes to these supplies to make your ladybug. 

Here's what you need for this easy ladybug craft

The supplies were what I already had in my speech room, so that was perfect. Yes, I do keep wiggle eyes!  I think I love them as much as much as the kids. They're so much fun! 


  • green construction paper
  • red construction paper
  • black construction paper
  • two wiggle eyes per child. I used 12 mm ones. 
  • glue
  • a marker
  • a hole punch

This ladybug craft is easy enough for preschoolers with a bit of help. Here's how:

A hole punch makes the spots in the red ladybug wings in this construction paper ladybug craft. Read the post for ladybug storybook and song ideas too!
Punch holes in the ladybug wings for the spots.

  1. Cut out two circles of the same size for each ladybug. One red, one black. For my preschoolers, I used die-cut circles. Older children can trace and cut their own.
  2. Cut the red circle in half to make the wings.
  3. Glue the black circle on first.
  4. Punch holes in both wings. (Some of my preschoolers need me to hold the wings for them, or give the nose of the hole punch a  helping squeeze.

  5. Glue the red ladybug wings on a black circle in this adorable construction paper ladybug craft. Read the post for ladybug storybook and song ideas too!
    Glue the red ladybug wings flared out like a "V".

  6. Glue the wings on leaving a little black showing at the top. (The eyes will go there) Make one end of each wing meet in the middle ( an upside down "v").
  7. Glue on the wiggle eyes.
  8. Use a black marker to make six legs.

Glue wiggle eyes on this construction paper ladybug to make this adorable spring preschool craft. Read the post for ladybug storybook and song ideas too!
Add wiggle eyes to your ladybug.

Draw legs with a marker to finish this adorable construction paper ladybug craft. Read the post for ladybug storybook and song ideas too!
Use a marker to give your ladybug 6 legs.

Read some great ladybug storybooks to go along with your craft!

You know me, I'm all about storybooks and themed learning. So I needed a ladybug storybook to read and captivate my kiddos before we made our ladybugs.

 There are lots of books for children out there that are great for science lessons, giving ladybug facts. Those are fine, but for speech and language opportunities, I prefer a storybook with:
  • characters and a plot that children can relate to.
  • repetitive text to help them participate and retell the story.
  • sound-loaded text for articulation practice.

Of course, I have a couple of great suggestions for you!

The Very Lazy Ladybug by Isobel Finn and illustrated by Jack Tickle

Don't you love those names? Finn and Tickle...with names like that you know it's going to be fantastically fun! The authors are from England and you'll find there are two versions of the story... one which calls the little red bug a ladybird, and one where it's a ladybug.

The very lazy ladybug in this tale liked to sleep all day and all night on a flower.  

One day she decided it would be nice to sleep somewhere else. Since she had never bothered to learn to fly, she decided to hop into the pouch of a kangaroo who was passing by. When that didn't go well, she tries to hitch a ride with a series of other animals.. all ending badly!

Here's why this story is great for speech therapy:

  • repetitive text. "I can't sleep here, cries the lazy ladybug!" 
  • a recurring series of events
  • sound-loaded: initial /l/, initial /k/ , final /g/ and /sl/ for articulation practice
  • chock-full of verbs to talk about and practice past-tense when retelling: hopped, jumped, padded, ambled, trundled,  sneezed, swung, swish, roar, scratch, snooze
  • animal characters to name: kangaroo, tiger, crocodile, monkey, bear, tortoise, elephant
  • begs for answering where questions.  Where did the ladybug hop? head, tail, pouch...

The Very Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle.

This classic story is about a ladybug who is very grouchy and does not like to share. He meets several animals and shouts "Wanna fight?" He doesn't really want to fight though and repeats "You're not big enough!" before he flies off. 

Here's why this book is great in speech therapy:
  • repetitive text 
  • a recurring series of events
  • sound-loaded: initial /l/, final /g//, initial /b/,  initial and final /f/
  • animal characters to name
  • social skills discussions: sharing

We finished up by learning bodyparts with the Ladybug Ladybug Song.

I like to use YouTube videos that coordinate with a target in my sessions, and am lucky enough to have a smartboard to super-size the viewing! Frank Leto's Ladybug, Ladybug song is perfect for your ladybug unit. The ladybug lands on the little boy in various places so you can practice bodyparts as you sing.

It's fun going buggy! I have a plastic ladybug that I "land" on my preschoolers as we sing. Boy, do they giggle and squirm when the ladybug lands on them. It's so cute. 

You can find a link to this video plus more videos for learning body parts on Frank Leto's website. Click here:  Ladybug Lady Song by Frank Leto. Be warned, however, the song gets stuck in your head. Yep, it's one of those. 

Gluing wiggle eyes above hole-punched red ladybug wings makes this easy preschool ladybug craft adorable for speech therapy
Easy Ladybug craft for preschool

Do you like to save speech therapy ideas for later?

Pin this post so you can easily find it again. I love Pinterest, it helps keep me organized!  You can also find more ladybug activities on my Spring Speech Therapy Activities board. I pin lots more themed ideas and storybooks on my boards. You can follow me on Pinterest here: Speech Sprouts on Pinterest. 

Until next time my friends,

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

How to Improve Narrative Skills in Young Children

Young children with language delays often have limited ability to tell a narrative. 

Using storybooks in speech therapy to improve story-telling skills

Understanding and being able to tell a story are essential skills for academic success. Yet many of our students have difficulty with sentence structure and providing pertinent details. Their narratives are often disorganized and incomplete, without the correct introduction, sequence and conclusion. So how can you improve oral narrative skills?

Boost narrative skills with these easy-to-implement strategies

1. Read simple picture books to your students. 

The more familiar the tale, the better. In fact, be sure you read the same story for several sessions to improve your student's ability to comprehend and re-tell the tale.

When reading, use an excited, dramatic voice with lots of inflection to capture the children's attention. Emphasize main points. Point to the pictures and comment. Let the children point out things they notice too. Talk about how the characters feel.

Predict what will happen next. Use the word "because" as you tell the story to illustrate cause and effect. (The house blew down because it wasn't very strong). After you are finished, have your students retell the story as you turn the pages.

2. Act out familiar tales. 

Have the children direct! Have them tell you what characters you need, where the story takes place, what the problem is, and what to do first, next and so on. Encourage them to use a dramatic voice themselves as they act it out. Then have the children switch roles and act it out again.

3. Practice sequencing the pages as children re-tell the story.

Run a copy of each picture or take apart an old tattered copy and give a page to each child. Have the children put each page in order as they tell the story. You can do this in so many fun and memorable ways:

  • Make a storyboard from a piece of posterboard and glue the pictures.
  • Give one page to each child in the group and have them hold it in front of them as they arrange themselves in order, then have each tell about their page.
  • Use your whiteboard and tape each picture on the board in the correct order. 
  • Put up a clothesline, and have the children clip the page to the line with a clothespin.

4. Use storytelling puppets, magnet board pictures or flannel board pieces.  

These are terrific for engaging my students. I use them all the time and the children love them. The visuals add extra support for young story-tellers.

Puppets instantly ignite a child's imagination and they will be begging to participate. Talk to the puppet as if it's real. If you both have a puppet, have your puppet give the prompts in a conversational voice,  rather than you as the instructor. For instance, your puppet may say "Oooh, I am wondering where we are!" to elicit the location of the story setting.

Five Little Ducks Speech and Language Activities with book and storytelling pieces.

Magnet board story-telling pieces are great manipulatives.You can find many to print  I have a magnetic board at school. The side of a file cabinet can work great too if you don't have a magnet board. These are from my Five Little Ducks Unit.

Flannel board pieces. I have inherited flannel board pieces that I still love. I purchased a flannel board with a magnetic backing so it can stick to my magnetic whiteboard for an easy, large vertical surface.

Go Away Big Green Monster Story-telling pieces
Click for More Activities for Go Away Big Green Monster

A cookie sheet makes a great surface for smaller magnetic pieces. The pieces to make the monster's face is a free printable from Kizclub. They have many free printable patterns for other stories as well.

What if storybooks are too complex for your young learners to re-tell?

5.  Start with sequencing pictures

Sometimes, we need to start with pictures that illustrate a simple sequence. This encourages children to notice how the details change in each step and help children express what's happening. It also encourages the development of sequence vocabulary of first, then, next, last.

Some children may be only ready for two-part, first-then sequencing and retelling. Others may be able to sequence and retell several steps in the story.

Modify the sequencing task for learners at various levels. 

I need a variety of picture stories to keep interest high. My students also need various levels of support so I created my 4-Season Sequencing Activities Bundle. I included activities for 2, 3, and 4-step story sequences.

1. With my beginning story-tellers, I like to start with picture story puzzles. 

I tell the story first and demonstrate the sequence for my beginners. Then I mix up the puzzle and have them put it together and describe each picture. The puzzles provide extra visual support and are self-checking for the sequence. I start with 3-step, then 4-step puzzles. These 4-step picture puzzles are from my Spring Picture Story Sequencing Activities Pack.

Sequencing picture puzzles for spring speech therapy

2. Next, we sequence and re-tell with picture cards.

I begin with 2-step stories, then progress to 3 and 4-step stories. I designed sequencing mats to provide a visual structure for the cards.
This is from my Summer Picture Story Sequencing Activities Pack.

Sequencing picture cards and mat for summer speech therapy

3. We combine story re-tell with written narratives for older students.

  Of course, we know that written language skills are essential for academic success. Students with language and articulation delays,  or even a history of delays that are now resolved, are at a higher risk than their peers for difficulty in reading and writing. It's so important not to simply target oral language, but to support written language in our intervention as well. 

Many older children still benefit from picture support when writing narratives. 
I included cut and paste writing activities from 1-4 steps. These activities progress from writing a single sentence to writing a multiple sentence narrative. 

A fall writing activity with sequencing pictures for speech therapyA winter writing activity with sequencing pictures for speech therapy

What are your favorite strategies for boosting narrative skills?

Literacy-based therapy is a passion of mine for so many reasons. I am currently doing a bit of research for a presentation I'll be giving this summer. I'm getting lots of ideas, strategies, and tips that I hope to share as I learn more. (This is also why I have been out of pocket for a while, I hope you forgive me.)

How to Improve Narrative Skills in Young Children

What are your best tips?  I love hearing from SLPs what works for them. Tell us in a comment!

Until next time my friends,


Monday, January 22, 2018

Best-Ever Books for Basic Concepts: UP! TALL! and HIGH!

Teach basic concepts with this adorable book perfect for preschool speech therapy. Position concepts and size concepts.Includes tips for speech therapy activities to extend the lesson.

This adorable book is perfect for teaching basic concepts in speech therapy.

I am always on the lookout for new books for my preschoolers that address basic concepts. This colorful book with the wacky birds caught my eye as I perused the library shelves because of the title... Up! Tall! and High! With a name like that, it sounded really promising and it didn't disappoint!

Up! Tall! and High! by Ethan Long is really three short and simple stories each focusing on a single concept. 

The whimsical little birds are the stars of each story and the illustrations are bright and appealing. The text is simple and repetitive, just what I look for in books for teaching early language skills.

The first story starts with a very proud (but not terribly tall) bird stating "I am tall!" 

His friend claims "I am tall!" Then a very small bird tries to one-up his buddies by standing on stilts! The book features large flaps that open to make the birds tall, very high, up and then down, adding to the fun.

Teach basic concepts with this adorable book perfect for preschool speech therapy. Position concepts and size concepts.Includes tips for speech therapy activities to extend the lesson.

The second story is titled "I Can Go High."

The birds are at it again, trying to outdo each other, except for the penguin who can't go high because he doesn't... fly. The birds brainstorm a solution: helium balloons and up, up, up he goes, very high!

Teach basic concepts with this adorable book perfect for preschool speech therapy. Position concepts and size concepts.Includes tips for speech therapy activities to extend the lesson.

The third story is all about "Up" and a bit of "Down" too.

The small bird is up in her nest, but her friend wants to be "up" too. Unfortunately, the second bird is too heavy, and you guessed it...they both come crashing down!

Teach basic concepts with this adorable book perfect for preschool speech therapy. Position concepts and size concepts.Includes tips for speech therapy activities to extend the lesson.

Here are the basic concepts and a few tips for using this sweet book in speech therapy.

Talk about each page and the illustrations as you explore this book with your children. No need to rush through... enjoy each page together. Talk about:

Size concepts: tall and short
Ask the children if they are tall. Who is the tallest in their family? The shortest? How about the tallest and shortest in the therapy room? Line up and see who it is. Are there stuffed animals in the room? Which ones are the tallest? Shortest? Get out a ruler or a yardstick and see.

Size concepts: small, medium, large
The birds are different sizes. Point out who is large, medium and small. Grab some play dough and make some nests, small medium and large. Add some eggs and sort them by size. Are large birds always tall? Could they just be wide?

Position concepts: High and Low, Up and Down
Check out your bookshelf if you have one in the room. Find the high shelf, and then the low one. put small toys on the shelves. Are they high or low? Put some up high on a door sill or filing cabinet, and others down low. Let the children be the teacher and tell you which ones are high and which are low.

Grab some chairs. stand on them or sit cross-legged in them. Are you up? Now sit on the floor. Where are you? Down.

Wh questions
How did the small bird make himself tall?
Can you think of some tall animals?
Why couldn't the penguin go high?
How did he finally go high?
What else goes high?
Where did the birds sit when they were up?
Why did the nest crash down?

Teach basic concepts with this adorable book perfect for preschool speech therapy. Position concepts and size concepts.Includes tips for speech therapy activities to extend the lesson.

After reading the book, with a little imagination, you can definitely fill your session with extra hands-on practice. 

Draw tall and short people. Cut out tall and short legs for a simple creature from construction paper. Use play dough and toys. Grab some blocks and build towers that are tall and short. Take a high and low or up and down walk... and find things in those places. Blow up a balloon and hit it up high. Who was highest? Blow some bubbles. Pop a high one, then a low one. Were they small, medium or large?

I would love to hear your ideas if you try this book. 

Now I want to check out another book by Ethan Long: In, Over and On the Farm! Have fun reading, and be sure to leave a comment if you know of other terrific books for basic concepts.

Until next time my friends, 

Friday, January 12, 2018

How to Build Language with 3 Easy Snowman Activities

Easy Snowman Activities for Speech Therapy: Crafts and Game

Snowman crafts and games are perfect activities for winter language-building.

Children love snowmen. Even my preschoolers who have never seen snow are fascinated with the idea of snowmen. Who can blame them? There is something magical about snow that changes the world to a fresh white canvas and can be rolled into gigantic balls by mitten-covered children. Build a snowman and you have a new friend in your yard that is uniquely yours, even if he or she is temporary.

So why not use this naturally engaging theme to elicit all kinds of language and articulation practice too? 

We did just that last week and this week too in speech therapy. These snowman activities were created for three sessions of my large-group intensive preschool program, but are also terrific for in-class or small groups.  Too simple for older children? Nope! My bigger kiddos begged to play the game, and are always up for crafts.

On the first day, we read Sneezy the Snowman by Maureen Wright. 

In this adorable book, Sneezy makes some ill-considered choices and melts several times. You would think he would avoid hot chocolate and campfires. Silly Sneezy!

After the story, we made melted snowmen.

 Easy Snowman Activities for Speech Therapy: Crafts and Game
Didn't these turn out cute?

Kiwi Crate shared a similar project, and it is perfect for Sneezy the Snowman!

You will need construction paper, paint, a brush, scissors, glue and wiggle eyes (or cut-out circles)

1. Cut out the snowman parts.
For my preschoolers, we pre-cut these. Older children will love cutting out a hat, scarf, carrot nose and even arms by themselves. For extra fun, you can use twigs for arms. You can use wiggle eyes, or hole-punched black circles work well too. (My kids absolutely love using my 3-hole puncher!)

Language Targets:
Vocabulary:  Talk about snowman vocabulary as you talk about each piece. What do you put on a snowman?  Maybe a hat, scarf, carrot nose, eyes, sticks, arms, buttons and mittens or gloves.

Categories: Have the children tell which items are clothing. What about the carrot? Can you think of other vegetables that would make funny noses? What can you use for eyes and buttons? Which parts do you find outside in nature?

2. Next, paint a swirly snow puddle on blue construction paper.
Paint this in the middle, rather than going edge to edge.

Talk about how snowmen are cold and frozen until they melt.

More Language Targets:
Vocabulary: paint, brush, swirl, puddle

Things that are white. Snow is white. Can you think of other things that are white? (milk, teeth, polar bears, sheep, paper, glue, moon)

Things that are frozen and can melt. (ice cream, ice cubes, icicles, ice pops).
Why do they melt?

Verbs and object function: melt, paint, dip, brush, spread What do you do with a brush?

Regular Past-Tense Verbs: How did you make the snow? (painted)

Position Concept: Middle. Show me the middle of your paper. Show me the middle of the puddle.

3. Finally,  add your snowman parts, scarf and hat on top of the white paint. A dab of white glue will help ensure they don't fall off!

 Easy Snowman Activities for Speech Therapy: Crafts and Game

On Day 2 We read Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehler

Snowman at Night is another one of my favorite winter stories for speech therapy. The snowmen come alive at night and slide to the park for all kinds of fun snowmen games! 

Snowman Squares

 Easy Snowman Activities for Speech Therapy: Crafts and Game

After reading the story, we made these cute snowmen, mosaic-style!

You will need construction paper, scissors, a marker, and glue.
1. Have your students cut out white squares or use a paper cutter to cut out the squares ahead of time for young children.
2. Create the snowman's face by overlapping the squares.
3. Add a carrot nose and snowflake squares.
4. You can draw circles for the eyes and mouth, or use paper circles.

On Day 3 We read Snow Friends by Christina Butler

In this sweet story, Bear wakes up to a beautiful white world and ventures out to play. The problem is, Bear is all alone, so he decides to build a snowman for a friend. While he is rolling the snowballs, he meets two real friends, Otter and Rabbit who help him, and up up then playing together all day.

After the story, we created these easy snowmen.

Paper Plate Snowmen

 Easy Snowman Activities for Speech Therapy: Crafts and Game


This craft is super simple and easy for your youngest students.  Again, pre-cut a few simple parts for young children, or have your older students cut their own pieces. Offer several colors and let them choose!

1. Cut the top off the paper plates.
2. Cut out hats, and noses. you can take a marker and add a "hat-band" as shown.
3. We used our school die-cut machine to cut out circles for the eyes and mouth, plus shapes for hat decorations.
4. Grab some glue and let the children create!

Language Targets:
You can target the language targets above. In addition talk  this craft lends itself to talking about:

Same and Different: When the projects are finished, have children describe how their snowmen are the same as the others, and how they are different.

Story retell: Have the children retell how their snowman was made, step by step. Older children can write it out.
Sequencing and ordinal concepts: What did you do first, then, last?

Snowman Game

 Easy Snowman Activities for Speech Therapy: Crafts and Game
We had a "blast" with this fun snowman game in speech.

Watch the video to see this fun snowman game in action!

This game was a huge hit! You'll need a box, a plastic cup, craft knife, glue, construction paper, cotton balls or white pom-poms and an empty squeeze bottle.

1. Trace the large end of the cup about 2 inches from the lower bottom of the box.
2. Cut a hole for the cup and insert. 
3. Make a snowman face from construction paper on the bottom of the box, and cut over the cup for the mouth.
4. Add eyes, a nose, and a hat.
5. Cut out a red tongue about a foot long and laminate to make it slippery.
6. Glue one end of the tongue to the cup and drape the rest down on the table. You're ready!

To Play:
After your students answer a question or say their words, give them a "snowball" to place on the tongue. Take aim with the squeeze bottle and blow the snowball into his mouth. Fun!

These snowman activities are just right for targeting articulation too.

You can practice syllables and /sn/ blends with these activities too so they are perfect for mixed groups.  (Sneezy, snowman, snowflake, snip, snow, snowball, sniffle.) When engaged in craft activities, have the children say their word or sentence before they glue each part.

If you would like more activities for a great winter story, take a peek at my Snowman at Night Speech Therapy Book Companion. 

 Easy Snowman Activities for Speech Therapy: Crafts and Game

I hope you enjoy a little snowy fun in speech!  

Until next time, my friends.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Fear of Missing Out? Read The Best of SLP Blog Posts

SLP/ Speech Therapy Blog Posts / Speech Sprouts

Are you missing out on the best of SLP blog posts?

It's terrific that there are so many SLPs out there sharing their expertise, insights, ideas, and resources. But that's just it... there ARE so many! In the last few years, speech and language blogs have exploded. You can't possibly read every single post out there, I know how busy you are! Everyone has their favorite bloggers, but you may be missing out on some truly terrific content by others.

What if you could find the very best SLP blog posts... in one spot!

I asked some of my SLP blogging buddies to share their most popular, truly awesome, most-proud-of posts from the past 2 years, to make it easy for you to find that must-read content. Take a look, have you missed any of these?

I hope you find it's a treasure-trove of SLP goodness! I had sooo much fun reading these posts! Pin and bookmark this blog post, and come then back when you are ready to read more. Any other super-fabulous posts you'd love to nominate? Tell us in the comments. Happy reading!

The Best of SLP Blog Posts Round-Up:

Want to learn more about AAC?

I Made These 3 Mistakes Teaching the Picture Communication System, Have You? by Lisette at Speech Sprouts (Me!)
Pretty simple, certainly low-cost, and easy enough for anyone to implement, right? Actually no. Read about the mistakes I've made (and you can avoid!) teaching communication interchanges using PECS. I was honored to have this post quoted in the ASHA Leader this year!

7 Ways to Get Started with Young Emerging Communicators by Susan Berkowitz
How can you add more AAC and communication opportunities for students with multiple challenges? From incorporating AAC in story time, adapting symbols for children with cortical impairments, choosing switches, or making large, classroom-sized communication boards, you'll find great ideas in this post!

You Call That Reading Instruction? Not for AAC Users! by Susan Berkowitz
Susan talks about why incorporating shared reading and discussion is so important to build background knowledge for literacy skills and shows us how to go beyond the typical "what" questions by providing a robust vocabulary in a child's AAC system.


Need ideas for articulation?

Childhood Apraxia of Speech- What SLPs Need to Know by Lisette of Speech Sprouts
If you haven't read my series on CAS, this is the post to start with. I share the information I learned from the amazing Dr. Edythe Strand. I promise you'll come away with a deeper understanding and strategies too. It's a must-read!

Mirror Neuron: The Science of Sight in Speech by Lindsey of Speechy Things
What are mirror neurons, and what does that have to do with articulation therapy? If you are a bit of a science geek like me, you'll want to read this post to find out! Don't forget to grab Lindsey's freebie handout for parents on the importance of having a child "watch me".

Road Maps for Speech Sounds: Organizing & Books for R by Ashley of Sweet Southern Speech
Take a peek at Ashley's favorite book suggestions for incorporating stories with R practice. Have you read The Horse in Harry's Room? While you're there grab a free download. Thanks, Ashley!

Frontal Lisps by Lindsey of Speechy Things
Seven things you can do with those frontal lispers who will just NOT generalize. Have any of those?


Like to get organized?

Articulation ToolBox DIY by Ashley of Sweet Southern Speech
If you love organization hacks, you'll want to see how Ashley turns a craft storage container into a color-coordinated masterpiece! Make your own labels or purchase labels to match your favorite colors. Easy Peasy!

Organizing Your Data for Progress Reports by Mary of Old School Speech
I have to admit it- progress reports are one of my least favorite chores! See how Mary uses Google Drive and Google Sheets to keep data and give you those averages at lightning speed when it's progress report time.

Scheduling Efficient Make-up Therapy Sessions by Viola of the 8th Word Wonder
Handling large-group make-up sessions is a challenge. Viola shares some great ideas for group activities that will get everyone engaged.

10 Reasons to Use Speech Folders by Jennifer of Speech Therapy Fun
Jennifer shares how using speech therapy folders keeps her organized and saves her sanity! If you want to give it a try, be sure to download Jennifer's freebie while you're there.


Plan to get your students moving?

Using Balls in Therapy by Collette of Alberta Speechie
Collette shares how to use communication temptations, target requesting, turn-taking, following directions, expanding sentences and more using every child's favorite toy. Bounce one in your next session!

Five Ways to Use the Hallway in Speech Therapy by Jennifer of Speech Therapy Fun
Have some speech-on-the-go fun with these five hallway games that will turn travel time into therapy time!


Preparing to up your assessment game?

Language Assessment: Don't Forget the Language Sample by Collette of Alberta Speechie
Learn how you can find out a plethora of information about a child's language skills using a simple language sample. Be sure you download Collette's handy form to help you analyze your next language sample- the link to this great freebie is at the end of her second point.


Thinking about professional issues?

The Post That Broke My Heart on Several Levels by Mary of Old School Speech
Many school-based SLPs are discouraged with their work environment. We see many posts on social media talking about job burnout and dissatisfaction. Read Mary's advice from the trenches on how to make things go better when you are feeling "stuck".

10 Things You Should Never Say to a School-Based SLP by Lisette of Speech Sprouts
Have you heard some of these? Whether you agree with each point or not, this post sparked plenty of healthy discussions. Get ready to advocate and educate.

Busy SLP? 5 Tips to Make Your Life Easier and Less Stressful by Kristen of Talkin' With Twang
Unfortunately, a huge challenge for SLPs is that we're super-busy and time-stressed. How do you take care of yourself when trying to keep up? Read these important reminders and tips, then resolve to put a few in place!

Skipping ASHA by Kim of Activity Tailor
I know I have major fear of missing out when ASHA is coming up. Kim talks about her decision to skip ASHA for the first time in seven years, and why it's really ok. What do you think?

The Importance of Work-Team Relationships by Laura of All Y'All Need.
Do you work as a licensed assistant or supervise one? Read Laura's 5 tips for relationship-building and making a great team!


Gathering resources for parents and teachers?

Developing and Improving Language Skills on the Playground by Darla of Ms. Gardenia's Speech Room
A terrific post with wonderful, easy-to-understand language development suggestions for parents of young children that can be implemented on the playground or when cuddling with a storybook. Refer your parents to this one and check out Darla's book suggestions... I know I will!

Comprehension Difficulties in the Classroom and How You Can Help by The SLT Scrapbook
This blog is written by a dynamic UK husband and wife duo. They packed this post full of practical suggestions for increasing comprehension in the classroom. You'll want to share this one with your classroom teachers.

Making Therapy Fun! by Speechbloguk
Another UK duo is behind this blog. Read and share how parents can practice and keep their children motivated.


Ready to boost those language skills?

Building Your Students Vocabulary by Mia of Putting Words in Your Mouth
Did you know that high-performing students know about 2x the number of words as low performing students? See where SLPs can focus to have the greatest impact. And don't forget to download Mia's Tier II freebie to get you started.

I Spy Sensory Bin To Build Language by Felice of The Dabbling Speechie
You'll love this colorful jumbo straw sensory bin and tips for eliciting plenty of language while playing "I Spy". Felice has you covered with a free download for you to use with your next bin!

Why You Should be Using Barrier Games by Allison Fors
Allison loves barrier games for learning language skills, walks you through how to use them and has great suggestions for using toys in barrier games too. She has a free barrier game download for you too!


Brushing up on therapy skills and approaches?

I Played Card Games Wrong and How I Fixed It by Laura of All Y'All Need
If you're playing card games the traditional way, you may find that some of your students get frustrated. Laura shares simple strategies to fix that and shares great tips on how to make the most of language learning while playing games.

Resonant Voice Excercise is Better Than Vocal Rest? by Kristie of A Tempo Voice Center
Have you heard about the "scream study?" Learn why the traditional prescription of vocal rest may not be the most effective approach in your repertoire.


Listening on your list?

Listening Comprehension and Following Directions With Magnet Sets by Kim of Activity Tailor
Instead of barrier games, how about barrier stories? Kim buys her magnet sets in pairs. Read how she tells a simple story as the scene is constructed, targeting listening and language!

7 Games To Encourage Listening in a Group by Helen of Speechbloguk
You'll love Helen's ideas for group listening games, and your students will too! Have you played Potato Salad or I Went Shopping?


Working with children with autism?

8 Things You Need to Know When Working With a Student Who Has Autism (#1) Mia of Putting Words in Your Mouth
Do you wonder where to start with some students? Learn why joint attention is KING and watch the video Joint Attention Test. Find out how to speak less and play more to establish the basis of communication!

3 Reasons I Use Visual Session Schedules in Speech & More! by Mandi of Panda Speech
Mandi shares why a visual schedule during therapy sessions can benefit any student and shows how she uses them. Grab a free session schedule and first-then board while you're there!


Pondering social skill development or play skills for students on the spectrum?

Six Ways to get MORE From Social Skills Interventions by Donna of Badger State Speechie
Is it that your student needs direct instruction to be taught the skill, or just needs more practice?  Donna shares how to approach different needs and teach the vocabulary to go with it.

Can I Talk at You? by Heidi of Smartmouth SLP
Do you have students with high functioning autism that are very verbal, but don't know how to have a give and take conversation? Heidi breaks down the skills we can be looking for and working on.

Autism: Teaching Playskills With a Shoebox by Linda of Looks Like Language
I bet you've seen work jobs used in structured teaching. But how about using a shoebox to visually sequence play skills? I love this social skills idea and Linda shows you step by step how to set it up and use it.

Practical Tips for Treating Echolalia by Linda of Looks Like Language
If you're ready to work on changing echolalia into more functional language skills, you MUST read this post! Linda shows you how to use visuals, scripts and repetitive books and gives plenty of tips along the way.


Love story-book based therapy?

10 Terrific Storybooks for Speech Therapy and How to Use Them by Lisette at Speech Sprouts
Read my round-up of terrific storybook suggestions by the SLPs at Speech Spotlight. Will you find a new favorite? I did!

How to Use One Book to Make Speech Fun and Functional by Hallie of Speech Time Fun
Grab a terrific book and use it across your caseload! Hallie shares plenty of ideas and strategies for addressing goals with books in therapy.


Considering Volunteering Your SLP Skills Abroad?

SLP on a Mission... A Look at My Trip To Honduras by Kristen of Talkin' With Twang. Kristen did just that... and shares her experiences with us. Read about her work with the students of a Christian school and a special little girl named Elsi who happens to have a cleft palate.


How About Using Videos in Speech Therapy?

Do You Know the Biscotti Kid? by Heidi of Smartmouth SLP

Did you know Sesame Street has a library of social-emotional videos on YouTube that you can use? Read how Heidi incorporates the video The Biscotti Kid to teach whole-body listening. Awesome!

I hope you enjoyed this list, and maybe even found some new favorite SLP blogs to follow.

SLP/ Speech Therapy Blog Posts / Speech Sprouts
Pin & share with your slpeeps!

Please share this list with your SLP peeps if you enjoyed it! What topics would you most like to read and learn about and in the coming year? Leave your suggestions, because I'll bet there is an SLP blogger with just the expertise you are looking for who would love to share.

Until next time my friends,