Looking for a way to level up your students’ engagement during your themed therapy lessons? Look no more, themester SLP! I LOVE incorporating themed therapy props into my lessons, and my students love using them. A themed therapy prop is a toy or item that relates to your theme or the characters in your theme-related books. For example, when doing a snowman theme, I always love using the book, “Sneezy the Snowman.” So, I decided to find a plush snowman toy to use as a themed prop for story retell. You can read this BLOG post to learn how to make your own snowman story prop kit.
Before you go looking for themed therapy props, keep in mind that you don’t need to break the bank to make your theme a success. Many times you can use items you already have from toy sets or household items as a prop for the themed activity.
Some of the product links in this blog are my Amazon affiliate link. Whenever you use an affiliate link, I will earn a commission from the product at no additional cost to you!
How Can the Themed Therapy Prop Be Used in Speech Therapy
There are tons of ways you can use themed therapy props across your lessons. Here are just some of my favorite ways to incorporate props into speech therapy:
- Use your small toys and items as story props while you read your themed book. Check out how I used a hedgehog for the book Apple Trouble here!
- Props are a great way to act out verb actions with your students.
- Use the themed therapy prop to demonstrate basic concepts. For example, these penguin figurines and styrofoam for showing on top, bottom, on/off, next to, behind, in front, first, and last (will send link to that blog post when done.)
- Answer “what” and “where” questions with the props. If you have a turkey, you can put items in front of the turkey and ask the students, “What is the turkey holding?” To see more ideas for using a turkey in your sessions, check out this post.
7 Places to Find Props for Themed Therapy
- This may sound crazy, but you must check out the dog sections at Ross, TJ Maxx, or Amazon. I found the St. Patrick’s Day dog toys at TJ Maxx and this fun squirrel log toy on Amazon from Zippy Paws. Because I LOVE doing a squirrel theme every year, it was worth the purchase for me.
- Oriental Trading Company has tons of small toys and items that will be perfect for your themed therapy props! This is where I found my plush snowman (Amazon also has lots of great plush toys).
- Beanie Babies – You can find a LOT of characters for books or themes like ocean animals, pets, or arctic animals. Plus, you may be able to borrow some from your own kids stash!
- Kohl CARES has great character plush toys that go with some of your favorites like the caterpillar for “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle, which is great for an insect theme.
5. Get ready to Thrift! Thrift stores can be an affordable solution for finding themed figurines or plush toys. Just recently, I was able to snag a bunch of puppy plush toys for my dog-themed unit.
6. Join and scour some Mom Facebook Groups – Join some local mom Facebook groups and put a post out for some items you may be looking for using in therapy. When you add that you are an SLP and need it for kids, I bet some mom’s will clean out their closet for you!
7. Give the Dollar Tree and 5 Below a visit. You can look at these discount stores for toy props to use with your themes. If you have students with special interests such as Peppa Pig, you can find some Peppa props from 5 Below. Have Peppa participate in the themed play unit, like taking care of pets. Or, Peppa can go visit the penguins! Dollar Tree always has seasonal props for holidays and times of the year. For example, in the spring, you can always find props and items for your insect themed unit.
Want help with Planning Your Themed Therapy Sessions?
In need of some more tips on how to plan themed therapy lessons for your elementary caseload, I want to invite you to a FREE LIVE webinar training where I share a simple framework to help you plan your sessions efficiently. No more analysis paralysis when it comes to figuring out what you will do in therapy!
Where Do You Find Props for Themes?
Do you have a favorite source for themed therapy props? Let me know in the comments below! I love hearing from other SLP’s and learning about new places to look for fun toys for my students!