One of the many reasons I love themed therapy is that with one theme you can use all different books, activities, and materials to cover the wide range of ages and goals that so many of our caseloads entail. Not only does this create fun and relevant therapy for our students, but it also makes planning easier. During the summer months, using beach theme speech therapy activities is a great way to reinforce your student’s experiences with going to the beach.
There are countless books, activities, and materials to use for beach therapy but I have made planning that much easier with my Themed Therapy SLP membership. Minimize your prep time with themed materials for your preschool through 5th-grade students who are working on speech, language, and social language skills.
Tips for Targeting Multiple Goals with a Speech Therapy Beach Theme
When using a beach theme or any theme with your speech therapy caseload, the key to targeting multiple goals in a session is to pick materials that have lots of opportunities to discuss the beach vocabulary and concepts. Oftentimes, books are a great material to choose from because you can easily adapt to speech and language goals.
Other options for beach-themed materials could include sensory bins, YouTube non-fiction videos, virtual field trip, pretend play activities, and hands-on STEM projects such as building a sandcastle. You will learn how to target a variety of goals with beach books, props and sensory bins.
Beach Themed Books for Speech Therapy
Books are a fun way to experience the beach from your speech room! There are all different ways to break a book down to address speech and language goals. Let’s say I’m planning to use “A Beach Tail” by Karen Lynn Williams with my 2nd grade group. (Here’s where to buy the book on Amazon, and here’s a YouTube read aloud) This is how I’d use it to target different goals.
How to Target Different Goals with the Book A Beach Tail by Karen Lynn Williams
- Before I read the book, I’ll review tier II words such as sturdy, smooth, giant, scurry and suddenly with my students. Since these words are adverbs and adjectives, I’ll ask if they can think of something that is sturdy, smooth, giant, scurry or sudden.
- I also like to talk about the title of this book! What is a tale vs. a tail? Can they make a prediction about what this book might be about? What might happen in a beach tale? Why might the author have changed it to tail?
- While reading the book, there’s ways to work on speech and language goals. For my students working on speech sounds, we’ll do a sound hunt! Can they find their speech sound in the book? If there’s limited examples of their sound in the book, give them a sentence starter that involves their sound. You can ask them questions throughout the book that they can answer with their sentence starter. (For /s/ or /s-blends/, “I see/spy…” For /l/, “Look! It’s a…” For final /z/, “It is…”)
- Can your students find the examples of onomatopoeia in this story? There are so many examples of onomatopoeia (swish, swoosh) and other sound effects (uh-oh, zig zag, roar) in this story! Have your students find them and read it with different expressions (scary, exciting, surprising, etc.).
Targeting Multiple Goals After Reading Your Beach-Themed Book
- After you’re done reading the book, ask comprehension questions like Who went to the beach with Gregory? What did he draw in the sand? What did he find while making the lion’s tail longer? How does he find his way back? Don’t forget to follow up on the question, Why is this book called “A Beach Tail” and not “A Beach Tale?”
- This book allows from some great sequencing! Students can practice using sequencing words first, next, then, after, last, etc. Have some visuals prepared and students can re-tell the story using the visuals. Don’t forget to include all the story elements, too
- If you’re looking for social skills to target, consider some conversation starters related to the book. In the story, Gregory got lost after drawing a long tail on his sandy lion. Ask: Did Gregory follow his Dad’s rules? What happened when he didn’t follow the rules? Have you ever been lost? What did you do? What would you do if you were Gregory?
Adapting Beach Sensory Bins for Speech Therapy
I love using sensory bins during my speech therapy sessions, and a beach sensory bin is no exception. There are so many different fillers you can use like kinetic sand, pom pom balls, water beads, real or plastic rocks, and more. Add in mini buckets, shells, mini paper umbrellas, mini beach animals and other mini figurines! Students will love to see a “mini beach” in your speech room!
Now that you have your materials ready for a beach-themed sensory bin, start thinking about how you want to work on speech and language with it! Use a sensory bin after you read a beach-themed book with your students. Work on beach-related vocabulary like noun functions and action words. Ask WH questions and work on basic concepts like position words, quantitative concepts, and qualitative concepts. Make word lists with your student’s target sounds or plan a carrier phrase with their speech sound for them to use while playing with the sensory bin.
For more tips on beach sensory bins, I wrote a whole post about them here.
Beach-Themed Props in Speech Therapy
There are so many props you can use with the beach theme, and chances are you probably already have them! Grab a towel, sunglasses, sunscreen, bucket, shovel, and beach bag. To learn more about where to find themed props head here.
Use these props to work on spatial concepts (“Put the sunglasses under the bucket”), answering WH questions (“Where are the sunglasses?”), or for pretend play.
One prop-based speech therapy activity I love is packing a beach bag! Here are a few of my ideas:
- Read (or listen to) “How Will We Get to the Beach” by Brigitte Luciani & Eve Tharlet. Then, pack a beach bag. Your students can sort things that you bring to the beach, and things to not bring to the beach.
- Make a list of what to pack and why you’ll need it.
- Pack a beach bag loaded with your students’ speech sounds! Students can reach in and talk about what they find. In a group with mixed goals, students can work on describing the items, including appearance, function, parts, and category.
Read all about how to use beach balls in speech therapy in my post.
Learn About the Beach in Speech Therapy
Whether you use a nonfiction passage or a YouTube video, learning new facts about the beach is just another way to target speech and language goals with your elementary school caseload.
Find nonfiction passages on Wonderopolis or Newsela. On Wonderopolis, read about Where Sand on Beaches Come From or How Sea Shells Form. With either of these passages, ask your students what they think the answer will be. While you’re reading, review any vocabulary words you find. Vocabulary words are highlighted in yellow and include definitions of the words! At the beginning of the article, there are a few questions you can ask your students at the end. Ask your students these questions and use their own words to answer the questions. At the end of the articles, there are a few ideas for extension activities! Try them out.
You can also use YouTube videos to learn more about the beach like What Causes Waves or Where Sand Comes From. Students can make predictions about either of these questions. While watching, stop the video and talk about what’s being said. Are there words they don’t understand? Ask comprehension questions to make sure they’re able to follow along. After the video, talk about if any of their predictions were right. Then, talk about what causes waves or where sand comes from. You can discuss concepts like cause and effect and/or work on sequencing. I often find myself learning something new about the beach (or other topics) when I use nonfiction pieces in therapy!
Ideas for Other Summer-Related Themes
Before or after your beach theme, don’t forget to use an ocean theme to cover the land and sea! I have a few other ideas to help you plan for summer speech therapy sessions like some camping activity ideas or pool play sets. These posts will help a bunch with your PreK-5th grade caseload!
Between books, sensory bins, props, and nonfiction passages, a beach theme is sure to be a hit in your speech sessions! During the summer, so many of our minds are thinking about the beach! It’s safe to say using a beach theme in speech therapy will decrease planning time and keep you and your students engaged! How do you bring the beach to your speech sessions? Share your ideas on Facebook or Instagram and tag me @thedabblingspeechie