Nothing is worse than a lackluster mixed group session. Am I right or am I right? When you start to plan a winter-themed unit, you always want to include a general open-ended game or reinforcer that you can use across groups. By having one main game or activity as an incentive, you don’t have to come up with new games every week. Today, I wanted to show you how to use this winter snowball fight activity as a speech therapy reinforcer. Better yet, there are some functional goals and CORE words you can target with it too!
What You Need for the Winter Snowball Fight Speech Therapy Reinforcer
To create your winter snowball fight activity, you need a few items. Hopefully, you have some or all of the supplies, so it won’t cost you much money. Here are some materials you need (Amazon affiliate links included):
Print the elves or yeti’s on cardstock and laminate for durability. Attach each printable to a binder clip or photo holder. Students can earn “snowballs” after each turn practicing their speech or language target. You can either give them a set amount each turn or they can roll a die to see how many they collect.
Then, when all the snowballs are collected, students can have a snowball fight trying to knock down the elves or yetis. You could set up two games and have students do elves versus yetis. See which team can knock down all their players first. Have each student take a turn to throw a snowball.
To add another variation, you can write different numbers with dry-erase markers on the back of the cards. Have some cards that have unique numbers like subtract 10 points or double your points. When a student knocks down the player card, they get to see how many points they earned. The person with the most points at the end wins the game.
Additional Goals to Target With This Open-Ended Game
Not only can you use this as an open-ended game for any goal, you can also adapt to cover students goals with a fun, hands on play activity.
You can work on verbs, describing the yetis and elves, and answer simple “Who” questions.
Work on CORE words, turn-taking, or making a funny snowball fight story.
Download your FREE Elf and Yeti Snowball Fight Printables
Easy Ways to Adapt This Activity With Other Task Cards
If you have other printables, add them to the binder clips and have a snowball fight the last five minutes of the session. With your students working on speech sound disorder goals, put their target word flashcards on binder clips and knock them down. Whatever card falls, that’s the one they need to practice. See the winter sensory bin companion for some winter-themed printables to do this in your therapy sessions.
Blog Post with MORE Winter-Themed Therapy Ideas
When planning by themes, it can get a bit overwhelming searching for activities you need. Fortunately for you, I have a LOT of blog posts about winter.
This is one of my fave seasons to use because there is so much theme smashing you can do between clothing, weather, transportation, and activities.
Making time for play therapy in your lesson plan is a great way to have your student work on their language in a functional and engaging way. Kids love to play, and they also love pizza! Which makes these pizza toy sets a must-have tool for your speech therapy session. Use these pizza toy sets to target a variety of language and speech goals through play!
Where Can I Buy a Pizza Toy Set for Speech Therapy?
There are a few different pizza toy sets available online. All of the ones I’m suggesting below can be found on Amazon, but you might be able to find them at stores like Target, too. The links below are Amazon affiliate links for your convenience in which I receive a small commission when you click at no additional cost to you.
Play-Based Speech and Language Toy Companion Cheat Sheets
Need a cheat sheet guide to help you with targeting wh- questions, Tier II vocabulary, articulation, basic concepts, adjectives, and helpful therapy ideas for toys you use during play-based therapy? Grab this Toy Companion Cheat Sheet Guide for Prek-2nd grade and have stimulus targets mapped out for 25 different toys.
You can save brain energy while effectively using toys to target your student’s speech or language goals. Use these cheat sheets so that you can have FUN in therapy too!
Using a Pizza Toy Set in Play-Based Speech Therapy
A pizza toy set can be used to target so many speech and language skills! Listed below are some of my favorite ways to engage children in these skills:
1. Use the pizza toppings and pieces to work on following directions and sequencing the steps to make a pizza.
2. Describe the ingredients and sort the items into category groups: appliances, utensils, food, meat, veggies, dairy, etc.
3. Put the pizza toppings on flashcards and students pick a topping. Then, have the student practice their target. Use silly sentences such as “The rabbit ate the pepperoni.”
4. Practice turn taking and perspective taking by having the child prepare a pizza for someone else. Work on initiation for questions and comments.
5. Have things go wrong while making the pizza by having it burn, dropping the pizza, running out of toppings, and expressing dislike such as yuck for toppings.
More Therapy Ideas Using a Cookie Toy Set
6. Act out different verbs and vocabulary with gestures such as devour, smell, hot, chew, mix, etc.
7. Talk about which pizzas have more/less/few/none.
8. Discuss the social rules for going to a pizzeria.
9. Use toppings for phonological awareness cues or tapping out multi-syllabic words.
10. Have your students feed different items pizza. You can work on building sentences, answering “who” and “what” questions and turn taking.
More Toys to Use in Play Therapy
If you are loving all these toy ideas for play therapy, you can read more blog posts on some of my favorite toys to use in therapy.
When I pull out a toy knowing the purpose of how I will use it to cover goals, I feel confident with my therapy choice. It’s okay to put the worksheets away if you are FUNctionally using toys to target speech and language goals.
Your students will probably be more engaged with your lesson for the day!
Check out my favorite toys and 10 ways to use them in therapy:
Do you have a fun way to engage your students with a pizza toy set in speech therapy? Share in the comments, tag me on Instagram @thedabblingspeechie, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With school closures happening around the nation it is extremely stressful for parents to educate their children at home. One way you can help your children work on language at home is by playing games. This ‘I Spy’ language game is engaging because it allows your child to move around and there are a lot of ways you can work on your child’s speech and language goals.
For speech therapists trying to figure out lesson plans for an entire caseload, this activity can help you give actionable therapy ideas because the free parent lesson plan includes ways to use this one activity to target a wide-variety of goals.
You can coach your parents each week with how to adapt this game to build vocabulary.
How to Play the ‘I Spy’ Language Game
Directions for activity: Print the ‘I Spy’ check-off sheet and give it to your child. Have them go around the house looking for different items that are in the category groups or noun-functions. Once your child finds an item, they can check it off. If the things are small, your child can put them in a box or container as they see the item. Your child is finished with the ‘I Spy’ game when they have spotted everything on the list. If you have multiple children at home, you can break them up into teams to see who can finish the list first. They can look for these items in their toys, rooms of the house, or in their yards.
How the ‘I Spy’ Language Game Will Build Vocabulary
The research continues to show that children build stronger vocabularies when they build a depth of knowledge with a word. This means when they attach several associations with the word, they will have a stronger understanding of what that word means. So, when we work on attaching category groups to words, it helps children understanding how words go together. This is a handy skill for word finding, explaining similiarities and differences and organizing language. Check out this blog post about categories HERE.
At home, you can play this ‘I Spy’ language game to work on categories and noun-functions while also working on articulation, speech fluency, social skills, grammar, and vocabulary. It will help you feel confident that you are engaging your child in a low-tech educational game that is helping them grow.
There are also strong links to building vocabulary and reading comprehension. So, even though your child isn’t practicing reading they are building foundational skills that will help them with understanding what they are reading.
Coaching Parents on How to Use This Game
For SLPs that are trying to provide lesson plans for their caseload, this free download will help you plan easily.
You can send this home with parents and include the parent lesson plan. It shows all the different skills they can target, so you can guide your families based on your students goals.
This activity can be played many times, so encourage your families to not just play once! Coach them with how to adapt this game to continue to work on their child’s goal. Or, show your families easy ways to extend the activity. For example, after the child plays the ‘I Spy’ Language game, give the parents tips for teaching how to compare/contrast two items in a category group.
Make sure to download this free lesson plan by clicking the pink button below.
Speech and Language Skills to Target with ‘I Spy’ Language at Home
Articulation – have your child find items that have their sound. Then, have them practice the word 10x with their correct sound production. Make a silly story with the items using their best sounds!
Vocabulary – compare and contrast two items in that category group by how they are similar and different.
Grammar – create sentences by adding in an adjective about the item or talking about “where” the item belongs such as “A pillow belongs on top of my bed.”
Social Skills – work on having your child initiate questions and comments. Model social language during this activity. Give pause time to see if your child will nonverbally or verbally initiate a message.
Speech Fluency- have your child practice their strategies when saying the things they found or when using the item in a sentence.
Oral Narration – Have your child create a story about one of the items they found. Or, make up a story with all the items!
Your kids will be having FUN while they are learning. As much as we want our kids to be diligently working on worksheets and math problems, your kids need activities that will inspire them. Let me know how it goes by tagging me on Instagram: @thedabblingspeechie
‘I Spy’ Speech Therapy Home Packets for you K-2 caseload
If you love the idea of sending home movement types of speech and language resources during school closures, then this extended ‘I Spy’ Speech Therapy Home Packets will serve your students well. This full version has additional types of games such as ‘I Spy’ colors, shapes, adjectives, outdoors, rooms of the house, categories, and noun-functions. There are visual supports for your students with Autism or significant language impairments, so they can participate with more success using this game.
Click the image above if you need a resource that is easy to prep for a bulk of your caseload, engaging for kids, and makes coaching parents a breeze during this stressful time. You don’t need to add more work to your plate to create customized lessons when you have this resource in your speech therapy stash!
Raise your hand if you run mixed groups! If you are a school-based SLP, mixed groups are inevitable. They can be tricky and overwhelming. As SLPs, we have to manage behavior, plan an engaging lesson, and teach multiple goals at the same time. Don’t worry. I have you covered. I’ll share with you some great ideas and even give you the Amazon [affiliate] links to conveniently purchase anything you need to make your mixed groups an overwhelming success.
You Aren’t The Only SLP Struggling With Mixed Groups
It takes a lot of failed activity attempts to make mixed groups work. So, if you think you are the only SLP struggling to succeed in this setting, you are not alone.
Structuring Your Mixed Groups Around Games
One way you can tackle mixed groups is by grabbing a generic game like Candyland, Sneaky Snacky Squirrel or Pop The Pig. (Affiliate link.) Then, grab the task cards, stimulus items, word lists, etc. for each of your students. While you are playing the game, every student is able to practice their goal during the game.
This approach probably sounds familiar, right? This is my definite go-to when I have everyone working on a drill type of activity. It works well.
Today, I am going to share some fresh, open-ended, speech therapy games for mixed groups in therapy. In addition to these fun activities, I will also share some mixed group games that have language already embedded, so you can target language naturally during the game.
Open-Ended Speech Therapy Games For Mixed Groups
This DIY popsicle stick game is cheap to make and can be used with any mixed group. Write different numbers on each of the Popsicle sticks; include some Zap 1, Zap a friend and Zap all in the mix. Put them all in a can and have students pick a Popsicle stick after each turn. The student with the most points at the end wins. If you need a rule cheat sheet, you can download this one HERE. Need more ways to get higher articulation repetitions with your articulation sound students? I have lots of ideas including how to use this Zap It game HERE.
You can call this game whatever you want! Basically, it is a point-based game using magnetic chips and wand (Amazon affiliate link). I always tell the kids that at the end, everyone gets to use my “magic” wand to pick up all the chips. You just need a die/dice and magnetic chips. Kids roll the die and then pick up the same number of chips as the roll on the die. You can change it up a bit by adding bonus rules for rolling a 6–steal 2 chips from a player–or roll a 1 and you lose a chip.
Easy Low-Prep Games For Mixed Groups
I like speech therapy games for mixed groups that are easy to prep and can be used across several grade levels.
Race to 100 is a great reinforcer game that works with any goal! For your articulation students, it is a great way to get 100 trials. Everyone in the group can play the “game” and when it is their turn, they can practice their target skill. Check out my blog post on the game HERE
Kiwi Speech has some open-ended mystery tile games that can be played with any speech or language target, which means this game is great for mixed groups! Students take their turn: saying a word with their sound in it, defining a vocabulary word, identifying if a behavior is expected/unexpected – anything! Then, they reach into a box and pull out a tile. They match the picture on their tile to a picture on the board. If they already have the picture – they put it back and their turn is over. The first person to fill up their board will reveal the mystery phrase and wins the game!
Vocabulary Games That Can Be Used For Mixed Groups
This game is great for working on building vocabulary, beginning inferencing and describing nouns by attributes. You can use this with articulation students by picking mystery words that have their sounds. After the students guess the noun, ask students wh-questions about the noun, or make them use in a sentence. Students working on social skills have to work on keeping their body and brain in the group. Read more about this game HERE.
Students can work on describing nouns in this minute-to-win-it game. This vocabulary game is organized by articulation sounds, so you can use it in your mixed groups. This is a great game to play when you want to see how your students do with their articulation or language during an unstructured activity. This is a game that will make your session more FUN and still be working on your students goals. Check out the game HERE.
More Language Games That Can Be Used For Mixed Groups
Create dice games that you can use with mixed groups. This game idea is from SLP Natalie Snyders. Write down six attributes and number them 1 through 6. Pick items or pictures that match your articulation students sound. The kids can roll the die and whatever number the student lands on, that is the type of attribute they need to share about the item. To read about more dice games, you can check out Natalie’s post HERE.
Play “Where’s the Treasure?” with this DIY bottle cap game. Take old bottle caps and put velcro on the tops. Put articulation or language pictures on top. Hide a penny or a treasure item under one of the caps. Whoever finds the treasure wins! You can read more about how to make this game HERE.
Boom Cards Category Picture Activity from Looks Like Language is free and can be a game used in mixed groups. All the cards have /r/ stimulus words, so you can target /r/, while teaching categorizing, answering wh-questions, use in a grammatically correct sentence and negation.
This next game is a twist on my mystery word game. I found it from Hallie at Speech Time Fun. You just need a paper bag (any bag or container will do) and items around your speech room. You can work on story telling, describing nouns by attributes, following directions with basic concepts, basic inferencing, and using the items in grammatically correct sentences (fluency students can practice their strategies). Pro tip: Pick items that have your students speech sounds to place in the bag. Now you have a carryover activity! Check out more details on how to use in your speech room HERE.
Share Your Mixed Group Games
What mixed group games have you created for your speech room? If you have a game you created specifically to rock those mixed group sessions, email me pics and directions at email@example.com. I would love to feature your game on my blog!
SLPs are always on the hunt for games to adapt and use in speech therapy sessions. When teaching language concepts, kids get more engaged when vocabulary and grammar is presented in a fun and engaging way. Today, I want to talk about how to use the game Lids ‘N Lizards in speech therapy. I have found a way to make this game festive and fun during certain seasons or holidays during the year! My SLP intern adapted this game back in March using leprechauns & gold coins. Instead of hiding lizards, she hid leprechauns under the lids. The kids loved it! I decided to make other printable items that had the /l/ phoneme to adapt it throughout the year.
Where Can SLPs Get The Lids ‘N Lizards Game?
Lids ‘N Lizards is a game created by Super Duper Publications. You can get it on their website. I also checked Amazon (cause I know SLPs love Amazon) and you can get Lids ‘N Lizards there, too. Sometimes SLPs can find Lids ‘N Lizards at garage sales or Goodwill.
How To Play Lids ‘N Lizards Game
The Lids ‘N Lizard game comes with green metal tins and little lizards. You place magnetic vocabulary pictures on the roof of the metal tins. Then, lay the lids on the table and hide lizards under the metal tins. Students take turns picking up metal tins to see if they found a lizard. If they have a lizard under their tin, they get to keep the lizard. The student with the most lizards at the end of the game wins! Each turn, the student has to describe the picture item that is under the lid. One way to adapt this game for all year long is to put different items under the lids. I made some seasonal printables that you can download for FREE below. Each of the items in the download have /l/, so instead of Lids ‘N Lizards you can call the game Lids ‘N Leprechauns, Lids ‘N Lunchboxes, Lids ‘N Ladybugs and so on!
How To Adapt Lids ‘N Lizards For Mixed Groups
Articulation Goals – Lids ‘N Lizards is the perfect game for students working on /l/, /z/, or /r/ at the word or phrase level. For students working on other sounds, you can create carrier phrases with their sound such as “I found a/an _____” for /f/ or “I spy a/an _______” for s-blends.
Vocabulary Goals – The game is already designed to work on describing common nouns. You can always use lids and magnets to work on naming adjectives, describing by attributes, and answering wh-questions about the items.
Grammar Goals – When a student picks up the picture item, you can have them name the noun’s function or action word. They can use the verb in a sentence such as “The boy eats the ice cream.” Have the student work on past, present or future tense. With the noun picture item, you can also work on marking plurals or having students create a sentence with an adjective or prepositional phrase. The student can also work on marking pronouns by talking “who” has a certain picture item such as “She has the ice cream.” or “Give the truck to him.”
More Goals To Address With The Lids ‘N Lizards In Speech Therapy
Speech Fluency – With all the mentioned articulation and language therapy ideas mentioned above, you can do similar activities while having the student practice their speech fluency strategies.
Social Skills – While playing the game, you can work on students following the social rules of the game. Students can practice having their brain and body thinking about the people in the group. So, they can work on their non-verbal listening skills while the other person is sharing an item and then have to retell what the person said to show that they had their brain in the group. You can also grab a set of problem solving situations or social situations that the student would have to answer before taking a turn at the game.
What Other Ways Can SLPs Use Lids ‘N Lizards In Speech Therapy?
One way that I have used the lids and magnetic pictures is to have students sort items by categories. I just use the lids to have the students sort the items onto the correct category group. This has been very effective for my younger students that need a hands-on experience. How do you adapt this game in speech therapy? Share in the comments! Need more games for your therapy room? Check out some of my favorite games HERE.