When planning by themes for your preschool and elementary speech therapy caseload, it’s great to consider themes relevant to the month or season. So, I am sharing a GIANT list of December speech therapy themes you can use to plan for younger and older students. And, if you still need to narrow down a theme for December, I have four tips for how to choose a theme.
One Thing to Remember with Theme-Based Therapy
As SLPs with high caseloads, remember that you DON’T have to use a theme for only one week. Planning can be time-consuming when you constantly prepare for a new themed unit each week. You will lead yourself to burn out FAST switching materials each. We want to stay energized from lesson planning, so when you pick a theme, use the mindset that you will use this theme for 2-4 weeks of therapy. I talk all about that on the Real Talk SLP podcast episode 45.
SLP Themed Planner for the Year
Use my free-themed therapy yearly SLP planner to help you plan what themes you want to use for the year. It gives ideas for what to prepare and has an editable lesson plan template to keep notes on what you did with a theme. When you have notes for your themed units, it will jog your memory when you pull out the December speech therapy activities the following year. And, if you want to think ahead for January, there are LOTS of options for themes during that month.
December Speech Therapy Themes Around Holidays
Plan units around holidays celebrated this time of year. If everyone on your caseload celebrates Christmas, plan activities around celebrating that holiday. Teaching Christmas around the world and how different cultures celebrate the holiday is a fun way to explore traditions from different places. You can also do a Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or learn about holidays worldwide.
December Speech Therapy Themes Around Food
Many people have parties or give treats to friends and family during the holiday season. Here are some December speech therapy themes that are festive but not specifically celebrating Christmas:
- The Gingerbread Man theme
- Baking Cookies – for younger students, read a cookie-themed book and pretend to play with a cookie toy set. For older speech therapy students, learn how to make cookies or explore the history of cookie baking.
- Candy canes – you can do science experiments, make crafts, or learn how candy canes are made.
- December 7th is National Cotton Candy Day which could be a fun theme to plan or do a Candy theme.
- Hot Chocolate theme for December 13th, National Cocca Day.
Alternatives to a Christmas Speech Therapy Theme
If you can’t use holiday-related themes, you can do some workarounds. For example, planning a Christmas tree theme would work great if you can do a Christmas theme. You can learn the history of the Christmas tree, pair it with books about Christmas trees, and plan extension activities with the trees. An alternative would be to do winter trees. Learn about trees in winter, incorporate winter tree crafts, or read a winter tree poem.
Another alternative theme is gift giving or gift wrapping. Even if children don’t give gifts on Christmas or Hanukkah, they still give gifts for birthdays. Do the sequencing for wrapping gifts, teach perspective taking with giving a gift, or work on describing and inference skills for guessing what is in the gift box.
Join the Themed Therapy SLP Membership
Check out the Themed Therapy SLP membership if you love using themes for your speech therapy caseload but struggle to find the time and energy to plan your lessons. The membership is for busy school-based SLPs who serve Prek-5th grade students and want to streamline their therapy planning process.
When you become an SLP themester, you can access three themed therapy units a month!
The December speech therapy themes are dinosaurs, winter, and snowmen. An annual membership gives you access to 36 themes, including penguins, baking, space, and arctic animals, to name a few!
Themes Based on National Holidays
So many meaningful and fun national holidays would make for great themes to plan in December!
Here are some December speech therapy themes for national days:
- December 8th is National Brownie Day
- December 11th is National Stretching Day – learn about why stretching is important, follow directions while stretching, or read an article about stretching.
- December 12th is Gingerbread House Day
- December 15th is National Tea Day – do a pretend play tea party
- Day 20 and 23 for Winter Solstice
What theme-based units do you plan in December?
Let me know in the comments what theme-based speech therapy lessons you plan for your elementary caseload. Tag me @themedtherapyslp with your themed activity, and I will share it in my stories!