You’ve heard me talk about how awesome themed therapy is for managing your caseload…but let’s be honest real quick. Using holiday and season based themes can get redundant and just a tad boring for us SLP’s. A great way to keep therapy fun for your students and you is to switch up your themes! These 5 year round preschool themes are perfect for changing up your theme routine – they’ll even work perfectly for your early elementary students!
Themes Relevant to Your Students Daily Lives
1. Community Helpers – Our students interact with community helpers on a daily basis. From the mailman, to the firefighter, to the librarian, a community helpers theme will provide a natural context for your students to learn about neighborhood and city members. Check out my community helpers unit for everything you will need to fit this theme into your school year. I love using the community helpers theme with my students, which is why I’ve included it in my Themed Therapy SLP membership!
2. Food – Food is a great year-round theme that will help you cover tons of language skills with your students. If you’re looking for a great way to incorporate play therapy into your lesson plans, food is the perfect theme to use. Your students interact with food related vocabulary every single day, which makes it super meaningful and important to your students.
Beyond vocabulary you can target categories and sub-categories (ex. baking, breakfast, lunch, dinner, fruits/veggies, dessert, snack, etc). Don’t forget to check out my tips on how to use play food in your therapy here! If you have a cookie baking set, but you’re unsure how to use it in a variety of ways, then I got you covered! Check out my cookie baking blog post for ideas you can easily incorporate into your therapy.
Year-Round Theme That is Great for Pragmatic Language
3. Kindness/friendship theme – You can do this theme any time of the year, but it’s really great for February and back to school season. You can discuss character traits of kindness, and it is easy to adapt with books, toys, and activities. You can also make these FREE kindness activity wallet crafts to discuss how to show kindness.
Animals and Dinosaurs are Great for Themed Smashing
4. Animals – You can really hit a lot of goals while describing animals and categorizing them by pets, land, water, or body parts. Plus, they go great with a LOT of play therapy toys, so you can incorporate them easily. When using animals as a theme, you can also theme smash or build off a previous theme! For example, if you did a theme about chores, your next theme could be about taking care of pets. Or, it could be specifically for how to care for dogs.
As the year goes on, you can do more animal themes such as ocean animals, arctic animals, zoo animals, birds, or pets. LOTS of these animal themes are part of the Themed Therapy SLP membership (get on the waitlist for when it re-opens.) If you’re in need of some language activities for dog a unit, grab my lesson plan guide for that theme in my store. You can also check out these Boom cards for how to wash a dog to target those sequencing skills with your students.
5. Dinosaurs – Kids LOVE playing with dinosaurs. They are the coolest creatures to talk about any time of the year! If your students have a special interest in dinosaurs, you can also theme smash by having the dinosaurs crash the party with other themes. For example, if you are doing a winter theme, have the dinosaurs build a snowman or go skiing down the slopes. Plus, dinosaurs are great for syllable counting, verb actions, describing, and a prop for teaching basic concepts. Check out my dinosaur push-in guide, which is perfect for your whole class groups or the stations you’re running with the teacher.
Need Support With Planning Themed Therapy Sessions?
If figuring out how to plan themed therapy sessions is like trying out a new Pinterest recipe for the first time, I have good news for you! A Themed Therapy Planning How-To Course for the Busy SLP is coming on March 8th. You can earn clinical maintenance hours for your ASHA and state license while also becoming a rockstar at efficiently planning themed therapy for your Prek-5th grade caseload. Sign up for the waitlist HERE.
What Year-Round Themes Do Your Students Love?
I would love to know what year-round themes your students love to participate with in your sessions? What do you do in your session that they love the most? Let me know in the comments because SLPs are always on the lookout for new strategies and tools to add to their therapy sessions.
Many of the themes mentioned in this blog post are GREAT for using longer than a week. Check out this Real Talk SLP podcast episode on why using a theme for 2-4 weeks can help you and your students!