Some of my best therapy materials come from affordable things I can find at a dollar store. Have you used popsicle sticks in your speech therapy sessions? They can be a great material that can cover a lot of goals.
And, let’s face it: So many of us don’t even get a budget for speech therapy materials. Plus, we’ve all got bills, so buying a ton of extra fancy materials for therapy isn’t always an option. Today, I want to share all the ways you can use popsicle sticks in your next speech therapy session.
Popsicle Stick Games for Mixed Groups
Zap It is a great game for mixed groups! You can target any goal, and the kids love the game. This game also gets my artic students to practice more trials. Whatever number is written on their popsicle stick, they have to say their word that many times! Check out the game HERE (it has a rule cheat sheet guide).
Play pick up sticks using a set of popsicle sticks. Just write your students’ targets on both sides of the sticks. I try to make sure to pick articulation targets that can also be used for vocabulary instruction. For example, if a child is working on /l/, I would pick lemonade, lion, and lock because we can work on category groups, noun functions, locations, and parts. Or, other students can create grammatically correct sentences using the words.
Popsicle Stick Pacing Boards for Speech Therapy
You can create pacing boards using popsicle sticks. I like using the jumbo-sized popsicle sticks (Amazon affiliate link) for making these. Students can create dots, stars, or other designs with markers. You can also allow students to pick out their favorite stickers to put on the popsicle stick.
Then, you can use them for lots of different goals! Check out my ideas:
-Use as a pacing board for fluency-enhancing techniques
-Identifying how many sounds are in a word
-Creating longer sentences
-Pacing how many times a student has said a sound or a word
Popsicle Stick Puppets for Speech Therapy
One of the easiest crafts to make with your students is making popsicle stick puppets. You can print a sheet of characters, have the students color them, and then attach them to a popsicle stick. The students can work on story retell, pronouns, basic concepts, or following directions with their puppets.
Using Popsicle Sticks with Literacy
When planning mixed group therapy, I tend to use books to plan lessons. I can plan more efficiently while still targeting everyone’s goals. While reading the story, you can give students “jobs” when listening to the story. I cut 3” by 5” index cards in half, write what the students are working on, and tape them to popsicle sticks.
I tell the students to hold up their sticks whenever they hear their sound or hear a word they don’t understand. Students can remember what they are working on by looking at their “job” on the stick. So, when I call on a student to make a sentence about the story picture, they know what I want them to do.
You can also put story grammar element visual cues on popsicle sticks. Hand a few of the story element sticks to each student in the group. While you are reading the book, you can stop and go through the elements of the story. To keep everyone engaged, they have specific elements to recall.
Grab these free story visual cues by clicking the pink button below.
Make Visual Cues with Popsicle Sticks
You can make visual cues for any skill with popsicle sticks! This is an easy way to visually remind your students about what they are working on in speech therapy. Some of my students have moved beyond drill and are working on self-monitoring. I love using visual cues for articulation carryover and for social pragmatics. During conversational tasks, you can visually remind your students about their social behavior. This can help them to remember the social rules or to look around for the non-verbal body language.
Grab these free speech sound cues HERE.
How Do You Use Popsicle Sticks in Therapy Sessions?
Aren’t these functional ideas great for therapy sessions? My favorite place to stock up on popsicle sticks is at the Dollar Tree. Therapy doesn’t have to always be with fancy toys and programs to be effective. How do you use popsicle sticks in your therapy room? Share in the comments.