Today, I have a great post from The Queen’s Speech to share about how she has dabbled with using BEAN BAGS in her therapy room.  Check out her blog for more great therapy ideas and resources.  You can also check out her TPT store which has lots of great materials.

To begin, I want to give a big thank you to The Dabbling Speechie for inviting me to guest post on her awesome blog! I have been reading her posts for a while and to be a guest is an honor.  One of the favorite parts of being a Speech-Language Pathologist is being able to add creativity to everything we do. I went to an inspiring seminar called Turn Around Schools a few years ago that said, good teachers put a little bit of themselves in everything they do. They make a mark.

My mark? Glitter, glue and crafty too! I think putting a little bit of yourself into your therapy is important because it keeps us motivated. Why? We are doing what we enjoy and that will rub off on our students. We end up both having a good time.

I do not always have the time, but thanks to pinterest I recently got inspired to make beanbags. I went a little beanbag crazy, there are so many ideas for cute themed beanbags. Don’t believe me? Check out my pinterest.

I want to start a collection of different categories, and so far I have a good start. I found these adorable flat bunny beanbags and knew I had to make them!

Materials: cheap craft store felt, scissors, cotton balls, embroidery thread, a sewing machine (if you have one), beans of any kind. If you don’t have a sewing machine, sew by hand or with felt, you could use a hot glue gun (but may not hold up as well).

Instructions: find a pattern, either look for a printable pattern or draw one by hand, cut out the felt, sew almost around the entire thing and leave a small opening to put the beans in, pour in beans and sew it up.

Instructions/Ideas for use in therapy:

  • Holiday Themed: When I first starting doing this in graduate school I made one square beanbag with candy corn fabric and used a Halloween trick or treat bucket to toss into. I put blue tape on the floor and started used it as an incentive game.  I still use the same beanbag and bucket today! The fabric store sells odds and ends of cute fabric for cheap. I have also made some Valentine themed that can be used year round.

  • Bunnies: I have the students stand behind the blue tape, I ask them to practice their skill a few times (articulation 10-20 trials per toss and language 2-3 questions/responses). Today I used Bee a Good Listener (free on TpT), which targets following directions.  I also used my Wh Whale Questions, which targets receptive and expressive language. This was perfect for standing up and moving around! The students then throw the bunnies into the rabbit holes (black construction paper circles). If they get the bunny in the hole, they get a second chance to feed the bunnies! They then toss the carrots to “feed” the bunnies.

  • Colors: another pinterest inspiration. I drew the pattern by hand and made a bunch out of felt. I use these fish with my younger crowd. I can target two goals in one! Students take turns practicing their other skills and naming colors!  Then the rainbow of fish can be matched to colored construction paper.

If you notice, I have post it notes with scores on them. For my older students who like to compete, I move the blue tape farther back and I keep score using this:

Scorekeeper XL is available for both iPhone and iPad and is FREE right now.

Normally I put the student’s first name and let them pick the color. The app makes great noises when picking colors, typing and automatically put the highest score on the top with a great “ding!” The kids love it!  Here is a screen shot of when I used it with a larger group today.

I love that when you or the student pushes the “plus” or “minus” button it shows the math!

There are many colors to choose from and it is very simple and fast! You hit the skull and cross bones to delete players and add new ones. I just wish I could save the groups since I use it so much!

I think my students enjoy the beanbags because we get to stand up and move around! It’s tactile, visual and fun! It’s nice having many different options for play because even with new beanbags it seems like a whole new game!

On my list of things to make next are these Very Hungry Caterpillar Bean Bags and this amazing Doorway Bean Bag Toss (scroll down to craft #2).

Hope you find some “pinspiration” and get creating!