One thing that I like to do when I plan lessons for play therapy is to consider the time of year. When we pick play activities that our students could be experiencing in their daily lives, we can give them functional practice on their speech and language goals that can be generalized in the home setting.
With the spring months here, there are a lot of play themes that you can use with your students. Amazon affiliate links are provided in this blog post for your convenience. I earn a small commission when you purchase something with my link with no additional cost to you.
Pretend Play Themes for the Spring Season
During the spring season, your students may go on picnics with their family and friends. Why not work on play skills while going on a picnic!? You can work on sequencing the steps for packing a picnic, describe a basket and blanket by attribute features, and work on categorizing food by fruits, snacks, and entrees. Additionally, you can use a basket from home to put your food in the basket to work on basic concepts. Some other basic concepts you could target are in/out, in front/behind, over, under.
Plus, you can work on so many social communication skills while you are eating your picnic lunch. Specifically, you can work on initiating requests for items to eat, make comments for how you like the food, and work on conversation skills while sharing a picnic meal.
Here are some play sets that you can buy for your picnic play theme:
Learning Resources Super Sandwich Set – this set is plastic, which makes it easier to disinfect after using with students.
Learning Resources has a picnic set that has a lot of foods that our students enjoy which is relatable to them.
Melissa and Doug have a felt sandwich toy set that comes with a variety of pita bread, slice bread, and roll type sandwich toys. They also have a wooden sandwich toy set that could be good for easy sanitizing after use.
You might also want to consider these play food toy sets if you would like to use them for a variety of play themes such as grocery stores or going to the farmer’s market.
If you need more play food ideas for preschool speech therapy, head to this blog post.
Going on a Bug Hunt Play Theme
Using bugs in therapy could really be a year-long theme because a LOT of students love bugs. Going on a bug hunt can be a great pretend play theme for spring. Hands down, the BEST investment for a bug hunt play theme are the insect TOOBS or the Wild Republic Insect Polybag.
You can find a magnifying glass, net, and bug catcher at the Dollar Tree for cheap. But if you don’t want to go driving around looking for all the pieces, there are lots of bug hunt toy sets on Amazon.
Spring Play Theme with a Flower Shop or Garden
You can find fake flowers at the Dollar Tree along with other gardening supplies to create a pretend play theme of a flower shop or planting a garden. Many of our students celebrate a mom, grandma, or aunt on mother’s day in May. This can be a great opportunity to talk about the vocabulary and social communication to buy flowers for someone they love. Ideally, buying flowers can teach the concept of giving, showing love with gifts as well as the verbs and vocabulary for making a flower bouquet.
A flower or vegetable garden theme could be a great way to incorporate the plant life cycle, and the process of planting flowers. As our students work on answering wh-questions, and explaining the process of planting flowers through play, it helps our students to connect with the words on a deeper level. And, the coolest part is that they can transfer those skills to the home environment when they plant a real garden with their family.
Flower Life Cycle Therapy Ideas
If you need more ideas for how to teach a plant or flower life cycle in your speech therapy sessions, head to this BLOG POST. There are activity ideas for younger and older students so that you can adapt one theme for a lot of ages and goals.
Need Tips for Implementing Play Themes
When using toys in therapy, remembering all the ways we can use the toy can be overwhelming. By the end of a long play therapy day, my brain deflates like one of those bounce houses when they let the air out….all the air is just gone and it feels like I have nothing left to mentally give when I get home from work. Overtime, I have found that when I have cheat sheets handy in my sessions, I spend less time thinking of targets and more time meaningfully interacting with my students. If you want to save more brain energy AND feel prepared for play therapy without hours of planning, then grab these toy companion cheat sheets for speech and language therapy.
What Spring Pretend Play Activities Do You Use With Your Students?
Have you tried any spring-themed pretend play activities that your students loved participating in speech therapy? I would like to know what play themes you are using to support your speech and language goals. Let me know in the comments what activities you recommend trying for the spring season.