Engaging Ice Cream Speech Therapy Activities

Engaging Ice Cream Speech Therapy Activities

During the summer months, planning an ice cream speech therapy unit for your elementary caseload is the BEST! There are lots of ways to adapt this theme for younger and older students. You won’t regret planning ice cream activities because your students will stay engaged while they practice their speech and language. I mean, what kid doesn’t love talking about ice cream? It’s seriously the best summer treat.

Ice Cream Activities with Toy Sets & Dramatic Play

Learn tips for ice cream speech therapy toys and activities to plan therapy with ease!

If you are working with preschool through 2nd grade, investing in a pretend play ice cream toy set is worth it! I got the Melissa and Doug ice cream toy set, and LOTS of my 4th-5th graders begged me to play with it when they saw it from a previous speech session.

You can target many speech and language goals using a play-based speech therapy approach with an ice cream toy set

Here are a few recommendations for an ice cream set:

You can turn your speech room into an extra cool therapy space and make a dramatic play ice cream shop. Get more preschool ice cream speech therapy activities for easy planning. 


Ice Cream Speech Therapy Activities You Can Eat

Teach your students science and cover speech therapy goals while making ice cream in a bag! Your students will be engaged to learn because, in the end, they get to taste a yummy ice cream treat that they made.

To learn more about how to make the ice cream in the bag, here is a recipe. Plus, you can use the SciShow Video to discuss the process, answer wh-questions, and teach tier II vocabulary words such as crave, flavor, measure, or melt. 

For articulation and phonology goals, you can have students use challenge words or phrases with their sound, such as “flavor” for l-blends or R, “three, ice cream, ingredients, and cream” for r-blends, “shake” for SH or “salt” for s.

Because you have to use different-sized bags, you can target big/little as well as vocabulary for cooking!

When targeting language goals, you can work on sequencing the steps for making the ice cream focusing on transition words, verbs, sentence structure, and vocabulary. If you need visual supports for this activity, my ice cream push-in language unit has some! 

If you need some visual recipes for ice cream in a bag or milkshakes, Live Love Speech has a great set for your push-in whole-class lessons or small groups.

Get some ice cream preschool activities to use in your speech therapy sessions.

Ice Cream Speech Therapy Sensory Bins

Check out these ice cream activities you can use with your speech therapy students

Work on verbs such as scoop, sprinkle, eat, give, and melt with an ice cream sensory bin. To make your sensory bin, you can use the kinetic sand kit from Lakeshore Learning or add the following to your container (Amazon affiliate links are included):


You can incorporate the following basic concepts:

  • big/little
  • more/less
  • full/empty
  • in/out
  • hot/cold
  • colors
  • first/last
  • open/close

Think about the goals on your caseload and come up with a little cheat sheet list of words or concepts you can target while playing with the bin!

Ice Cream Sequencing Activities for Language Goals

Sequencing the steps for making ice cream in a bag, creating an ice cream sundae, or root beer float is a great way to incorporate a variety of language goals such as sentence structure, transition words, vocabulary, answering wh-questions, morphology, and speech sounds in sentences. Use the Ice Cream Sequencing Boom Cards and sequencing short stories from the Themed Therapy Membership to cover goals easily!

Get some ideas for your ice cream speech therapy unit that you can use to increase engagement and target a LOT of goals.

Ice Cream Lesson Plan With STEAM 3D Shapes

Ice cream speech therapy lesson plan ideas for your elementary caseload.

Anytime you can do an easy hands-on activity to cover speech and language goals,  you should do it! Kids are way more engaged when they have something they can create. This STEAM 3D ice cream lesson plan can help you cover 2D and 3D shapes but also target lots more skills. You can get all the printables for FREE and target tier II vocabulary for predicting, adjusting, formulating, and hypothesizing.

Naturally, practice adding suffixes for ‘est’ to discuss the weakest or strongest spheres. Make a list of words to target while doing the activity with your student’s speech sound. And use the 3D cone to fill with pom pom balls for every production. How else could you use this 3D shapes ice cream lesson plan with your caseload? Let me know in the comments.

What Ice Cream Activities Do You Plan With Your Caseload?

If you have a website, activity, or resource you love using with your ice cream speech therapy lesson plans, let me know in the comments. Sharing what you are doing with your students gives SLPs ideas for what they can do too! Loving an ice cream theme and want to save time planning? Check out this list on Amazon (affiliate links) of ice cream books, activities, games, and props to make your ice cream speech therapy lesson planning easier!

Ice cream activities for your Prek-5th grade speech therapy caseload.
Transportation Sorting Activities for Teaching Classification

Transportation Sorting Activities for Teaching Classification

One way you can improve vocabulary in your preschool and early elementary students is building depth of knowledge with new words. And, one of the ways you can build depth of knowledge is by teaching semantic features such as the category group, function, parts, size, location, etc. In today’s blog post, I am going to share hands-on transportation sorting activities that will help you teach classification to your students in a way that sticks! Plus, you’ll learn some takeaways from research on how you can coach teachers with these transportation activities in the classroom to build vocabulary. 


This blog post contains Amazon affiliate links. When you use one of my affiliate links, I receive a small commission at no additional cost. 

Evidence-Based Practices for Teaching Vocabulary


For our students to have a solid understanding of a word, they must understand it beyond just labeling it. We call this depth of knowledge. A child with a strong vocabulary has formed many connections with a word to connect it to a certain context. And when we learn new words with depth, it’s way easier to fit that new word into our semantic system. So, here are some ways  you can work on vocabulary knowledge:


  • Provide multiple exposures to words in different activities
  • Teach the words explicitly with kid-friendly definitions
  • Identify the function or feature that would fit the word into a category group
  • Break down the word by semantic features (i.e. categories, function, location, parts, size, texture, etc.) or by how they relate to a particular theme

A vocabulary intervention research study by Hadley et al., 2018 found that when students learned the words sharing semantic features, they could better talk about the vocabulary words in more detail.

The structure of their study used books and guided play to work on vocabulary, and this blog post will provide lesson plan ideas for transportation using this setup! To read more about the article, head here.

You can also hear more about teaching depth of knowledge in episode 46 of the Real Talk SLP Podcast


Transportation Books About Air, Land, and Sea 


To help your students work on classifying transportation by air, land, and sea, there are some great books you can use in your speech therapy sessions. You can use these transportation books as the teaching portion, where you provide many exposures and give kid-friendly definitions. Also, you can show your students why they go together because of a similar function or feature.

Transportation!: How People Get Around by Gail Gibbons

National Geographic Kids Look and Learn: Things that Go by National Geographic Kids

National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Things That Go by Karen de Seve


If you have GetEpic, these books are available on that website. Is there a particular transportation book you love to use with your students? Share in the comments of this blog post. 

Toys for Sorting Transportation Activities

To work on sorting transportation items by water, air, and land, having some figurines that you can use in a variety of play-based learning activities will serve you well.

Here are some transportation figurines I have:

In the Sky Toob set

In the Water Toob set

On the Road Toob set


Another option for transportation manipulatives is these magnetic portable playboards or transportation rubber fridge magnets.


How to Use the Transportation Figurines with Speech and Language Activities 


With these figurines, you can make fun sensory bin activities such as this one from Teaching Special Thinkers.

You can sort the transport items into air, land, and sea using printables from the transportation unit in the Themed Therapy SLP membership. Transportation is the themed unit for May when you are a monthly subscriber. Upgrading to the annual subscription, you can access this theme anytime during the school year. 

Another fun way to incorporate spatial concepts while working on vocabulary and categories is to make a hands-on activity from the transportation push-in language lesson plan guide like this one


While you are playing, you can add sound effects that match the definition of the words. For example, for the word fly or air, you can make a humming noise; for the word car or jeep, make a honking noise; for the word train, you can say choo-choo. This research article found that kids improved receptive and expressive language when the target words were paired with sound effects. 

Tips for Using Transportation Sorting Activities in Mixed Groups

When planning for mixed groups, we must find ways to hit LOTS of goals with one activity.

The beauty of these air, land, and sea sorting activities is easy to adapt. First off, you can target categories and sub-categories for transportation.

When considering different language goals, here are some skills you can target:

  • Describing the transportation items by attributes
  • Have more than one item to work on singular and plural noun markers
  • Build sentences with verb tense to explain by type of transportation item it is, such as “The car is driven on land.” or “The ship is an air transportation.”
  • Teach pronouns by having pictures or figurines and sharing “who” is driving or using the transportation item.
  • Target wh-questions
  • Give problems for using the vehicles and discuss solutions.

When you have articulation and phonology goals in a mixed group, think of sound-loaded words that would fit your student’s speech goals. For example, if you are working on /g/, have the student say “go” every time they sort a transportation item. Or, if working on s-blends, you can have students say, “It goes in the sky. Or it doesn’t go in the sky.” Consider vehicles that have your students sound to use while sorting transportation items.



What Transportation Sorting Activities Do You Use in Speech Therapy?


Do you have a particular book or sorting activity that you use with your transportation-themed unit? I would love to know of any props or activities you plan to engage your students with while teaching classification with transportation items. Share in the comments! 

Graphic Organizer for Sentence Structure

Graphic Organizer for Sentence Structure

One of the best ways to work on sentence formulation with your students is with graphic organizers. When you have a sentence structure graphic organizer that is easy to adapt across a lot of different activities, it makes language therapy planning easier! Today, I will share a free graphic organizer for sentence structure that you can use with any activity.

Why Use Graphic Organizers for Sentence Structure

For many of our students with language impairments, learning syntax and parts of speech can be overwhelming. Frequently our students are visual learners, and when they see words organized, it helps reduce their cognitive load so they can take in new information.

The free sentence structure graphic organizer has color-coding for the parts of speech which helps your students understand and remember how to build a sentence.

A parts-of-speech graphic organizer can visually break down how to build a sentence and provides a hands-on approach to learning sentence formulation.

How to Use the Sentence Structure Graphic Organizer

If you have syntax or morphology goals on your caseload, this free sentence-frame graphic organizer can help you cover many speech therapy goals.

In a group or individual session, you can use ANY photos related to your theme, wordless short videos, pictures, or images from your story books.

To start with the graphic organizer, you can show the student the video or image. Explain any unknown vocabulary or discuss concepts that will help build their knowledge of the item.

Then, you can brainstorm vocabulary words that describe the video, photo, or picture by the part of speech.

I will often write the words and allow the students to focus on verbally sharing their vocabulary words. Many of our students need help with spelling, and this graphic organizer is for you to work on creating sentences rather than how well you can spell a word.

After you brainstorm all the parts of speech on the graphic organizer, students can create sentences using the frames. Having the list in front of them helps your students to develop a novel sentence with less scaffolding from you!

And you can incorporate discussing morphology for verb tenses while using this graphic organizer.

Tips for Using in Mixed Groups

We all have had mixed groups where every student in the group has different goals. That can be so stressful for planning therapy, right?

You can use this graphic organizer for sentence structure activities and other speech and language goals.

For example, if you have a student working on R, give them some R challenge words when describing the photo that has R. Or, you can have the student circle all the generated words that have their /r/ sound.

Furthermore, you can have students working on speech fluency create sentences using their fluency strategies.

And, when you need to work with another student to explain some concepts or get 2-5 minutes of quick artic, you can have your language student use the pre-filled graphic organizer at an independent station to create sentences.

Sentence Structure Resources to Use with the Graphic Organizer

If you are doing a theme with your caseload, pull up real photos related to your theme from Google Photos. You can also find videos on YouTube of items from your themed unit. For example, I pulled up some funny squirrel videos and used them with the sentence graphic organizer. Check out this blog post for the squirrel videos.

Pull up any wordless short video and use it to describe what happened in the video. My favorite wordless shorts are from Simon’s Cat videos. You can use these cheat sheets to work on a LOT of goals. 

Find scenes or pictures you can use to describe with the organizer. You can use the images from my seasonal verb and vocabulary activities

One of your best therapy resources is the pictures from the books you are already using in therapy! Grab any book and describe what is happening in the picture. You can see how to do this with the book, “The Mitten.” Here is a blog post with more info about this book.

Need more grammar tips for your speech therapy sessions?

If you have a lot of students with syntax and morphology goals, check out these grammar blog posts:


How to Conversational Recast with Grammar Therapy

How to Implement Grammar Intervention


What activities or strategies have you used to help your students learn how to create grammatically correct sentences? Share your expertise or therapy material find in the comments!

Easy Fall File Folders for Language

Easy Fall File Folders for Language

One way to keep your students engaged in your speech therapy sessions is to use interactive materials.

Making your fall file folders for language goals can be an easy way to plan for various goals.

And, once you prep the file folder, it’s easy to store in your bag, a filing cabinet, or a book shelf holder.

Today, I will share four easy fall file folders for language that you can pair with your favorite books.

Amazon affiliate links are included in this blog post, where I earn a small commission for using the link.

How to Make Your Fall File Folders for Language

Check out these fun fall file folders for language therapy to help you cover a LOT of different goals with one activity.

You can make DIY file folders using a file folder, printables, and lamination sheets.

First, you want to glue the printables that will be the activity’s base onto the file folder. The bottom printable will not move and require you to laminate the file folder.

If you have a school laminator, you can run your file folder through that. You must run your file folder through twice with two laminating sheets when using your laminator.

Ensure your laminator can fit a file folder because it measures a little wider than paper.

My Swingline laminator is wide enough to fit file folders.

Whatever pieces you want to move or place on the central part of the activity must be laminated and attached with Aleene’s Tack It or Velcro dots.

Fall Seasonal Clothing File Folder for Language

Using this Dress Me Seasonal Clothing file activity is a great way to work on categories for clothing, body parts, and weather.

You can build vocabulary with categories but also work on functional communication, describing by the colors of the clothing, building MLU, sequencing, and CORE words.

Grab this resource HERE.

Check out these fun fall file folders for language therapy to help you cover a LOT of different goals with one activity.

Monster and Jack O’ Lantern File Folder Language Activities

During October, it’s fun to use a monster theme or books that reference Jack O’Lanterns in your sessions.

One of my favorite books with a jack-o-lantern is the book, The Little Old Lady Who Wasn’t Afraid of Anything by Linda D. Williams.

After you read a book, your students can design their jack-o-lantern or monster.

Using interactive file folders is highly motivating because they control how to make their monster or jack-o-lantern, and you can get a lot of excellent language practice!

If you need these two file folders, they are in the monster push-in language lesson plans and the pumpkin push-in language lesson plans.

For more monster-themed ideas, check out these posts.

Check out these fun fall file folders for language therapy to help you cover a LOT of different goals with one activity.

Dress a Turkey File Folder Activity

Having a dress-a-turkey file folder activity can be fun to pair with your turkey-themed books!

You can work on the clothing category, describing by color, building sentences, explaining how they dressed the turkey, and answering yes/no questions.

If you need this file folder activity, it is in the turkey push-in language lesson plan guides.

For more turkey-themed activity ideas, check out this blog post.

If you are struggling with making worksheets engaging for your students, one way to make worksheets interactive is by turning them into file folder activities. You can read more about how to do that in this blog post.

How would you use these file folder activities to target goals with your students? Share in the comments. 

First Week of Speech Therapy Ideas

First Week of Speech Therapy Ideas

When you start back at school running speech therapy groups, it’s kinda of hard to know where to “begin” with your sessions. You know some students from previous years while others on your caseload are brand new to you! The ultimate goal of the first week of speech is to build rapport with your students and help them understand why they come to see you!

And this is the time when you can begin to set up processes with them for therapy. For example, if you want them to have a speech folder, you can create those together during that first week of treatment. There is also the situation where you are not sure “where” to start in therapy because you don’t have current baseline information on goal progress since the end of the school year.

Navigating all the components of your therapy groups at the start of the year is increasingly overwhelming because your speech schedule has changed what feels like a hundred times. Planning therapy for the first week of sessions can be stressful. So, I am here to help you with some ideas to help you have a successful first week of speech!

If you need more tips on setting up your caseload at the start of the school year, check out this blog post.

Low Prep Activities for The First Sessions

Grab a set of index cards or these free speech time reminders from Miss V’s Speech World, and have your students write in the day and time they are coming. You can tell teachers to tape them to the student’s desks to help them remember.

Spend the sessions reviewing routines and expectations. Check out this blog post to get more tips on setting up speech routines.

You can also play games and have a list of questions to discuss while playing to learn about their interests and family. For younger students, have a station rotation where they get to play with one of your toy sets while you collect baseline data on the other students.

For younger students, some of my favorite games include Sneaky Snacky Squirrel, Pop Up Pirate, Zingo, and Candyland. If you need toy companion cheat sheets for these games and more toys, check out this play-based resource to help you navigate sessions with ease!

With your older students, use a Bamboozle game, Kahoot, Apples to Apples Junior, Bubble Talk, Farkle, or any game that gets the kids interacting! One of my favorite mixed group games is the Name it! Game that I created in my TPT store. 

Low All About Me Themed Mixed Group Games

You can play mystery square games from the August Themed Unit in the Themed Therapy SLP membership. First, you print the game mat and cut out post-it notes (affiliate link) to cover the squares. Pick one mystery winner number. Your students pick squares to see if it is the mystery number. Whoever gets the mystery number wins!

This game helps you get to know your students while targeting category groups and verbs, answering wh-questions, building sentence structures, and working on articulation carryover. You can see a demo on Instagram.

First Week of Speech Therapy Ideas with Crafts

At the start of therapy, we want to focus on increasing our student’s awareness of “why” they come to speech. That’s why doing a craft that can reference their goals can be worthwhile. Try out this FREE backpack craft from Speech Sprouts that allows them to write the goals they are working on the craft.

You can also have students make a speech or language wallet. These speech wallets can help keep hands busy while you are collecting baseline data. Once your students finish making the wallets, they become warm-up or quick drill material for future sessions.

Try the kindness wallets or the final /l/ and /s/-blend templates for free.

Have the first week of speech activities that are easy to prep and help you get valuable information about your student's interests and get the ball rolling with practicing their speech and language goals.

Digital Getting To Know You Activities

Looking for digital first week of speech therapy ideas for your speech therapy sessions? Check out this blog post for some digital options!

If you are tight on prep time and need engaging first week of speech therapy ideas to use ASAP, here are some great digital getting-to-know-you activity options:

All About Me Getting to Know You Boom Cards
Sound Loaded “Would You Rather?” Boom Cards – All About Me Theme
Would You Ever? Boom Cards
All About Me from ABCYA
All About Me Games on Baamboozle

What is your favorite first week of speech therapy ideas?

Do you have first week of speech therapy ideas that you use with your caseload? Share what activities you have planned in the comments to help inspire other SLPs with engaging speech therapy materials.

Ice Cream Preschool Activities for Speech Therapy

Ice Cream Preschool Activities for Speech Therapy

Eating ice cream on a hot summer day is something that many of your students experience on break!

That’s why it is a great theme to plan during the summer months.

Whether you need quick low prep digital activities or ideas for hands-on speech therapy ideas, this blog post will share engaging ice cream preschool activities for your speech therapy sessions!

Hands-On Ice Cream Preschool Activities

Struggling to come up with ice cream preschool activities that will engage your students in speech therapy sessions? Check out this blog post with different therapy ideas to use with an ice cream theme.

Your speech therapy lessons will always be more engaging if you find ways to make them hands-on. Use ice cream playdough mats for an easy-to-prep activity covering many speech and language goals. The mats pictured are from the ice cream push-in lesson plan guides. Here are some ideas for using the playdough mats:

-Following directions
-Commenting, requesting, and describing by attributes
-Reinforcer for any goal, or they can earn playdough or decoration after practicing their sounds
-Demonstrate basic concepts for the middle, bottom, on top, on, off
-Sequencing the steps for making an ice cream cone

Create an ice cream sensory bin using this kinetic sand set from Lakeshore Learning, or add white cotton balls, cups, ice cream scoop, colorful mini pom balls, or cut-up rainbow straws.

Easy to adapt ice cream preschool activities for speech therapy!

Ice Cream Themed Unit for Prek-5th Grade

Using a theme-based approach for your entire elementary caseload can help you plan more efficiently with therapy. But, it can become time-consuming hunting down enough activities to cover preschool through 5th grade. Because I don’t want time to be why you don’t use themes to serve your students, I created a Themed Therapy SLP membership to help take themed therapy planning off your plate. When you sign up for the membership, you get access to three monthly themes that have everything you need to cover goals on your caseload. See the pictures below for some of the ice cream-themed activities you can use for July. Doors re-open for the membership on July 22nd. Get on the waitlist HERE.

Have an Ice Cream Party in Speech Therapy

Struggling to come up with ice cream preschool activities that will engage your students in speech therapy sessions? Check out this blog post with different therapy ideas to use with an ice cream theme.

You can plan a real ice cream party with your students, which can be great for wh-questions and social pragmatic language. As a whole class lesson, you can map out all the details and then work on speech and language goals during the ice cream party in the next session.

If you don’t have the money to do a real ice cream party, use a pretend play set and invite your student’s favorite stuffies and characters to an ice cream party. Or, you can take a trip to the ice cream shop. I love the set from Melissa and Doug, but there are many playsets on Amazon (Amazon affiliate links are included for your convenience.)

Need more ideas for how to use an ice cream play set? Check out this blog post.

Digital Ice Cream Preschool Activities

Whether in person or teletherapy, digital apps and tools can help increase engagement and keep therapy low prep for you!

ABCya and the My Ice Cream Maker app are great for teaching sequencing for making an ice cream cone. You can also work on the following skills:

-Following directions
-Describing by color, size, texture
-Making an ice cream cone for someone else to work on perspective taking and conversation
-Answering wh-questions
-Use sound-loaded words or phrases to work on speech sounds in a naturalistic activity

Sago Mini has a fun fair app that features an ice cream cart to make your own flavors.

Get some ideas for digital ice cream preschool activities you can use in your mixed groups for speech therapy.

If you are looking for language Boom Cards that focus on various skills, check out these ice cream sequencing Boom Cards. Some of the activities may be more advanced for the preschool level. Still, the three and four-step sequencing activities work on basic temporal concepts (i.e., first, next, then), and there is also an emphasis on targeting verbs and vocabulary related to ice cream.

Based on research sharing that focusing on a broad set of language skills leads to better reading comprehension, you can approach language therapy to target various skills in one digital activity.

Needing More Summer Speech Therapy Ideas for Preschool?

Ice cream isn’t the only summer theme that works well for preschool-aged students! There are lots of other play themes you can use. To read more about that, check out this blog post

Research articles:

Lervåg, A. , Hulme, C. and Melby‐Lervåg, M. (2017). Unpicking the developmental relationship between oral language skills and reading comprehension: It’s simple, but complex. Child Development. Advance online publication. doi:10.1111/cdev.12861

Hadley, E. B., Dickinson, D. K., Hirsch-Pasek, K., & Golinkoff, R. M. (2018). Building semantic networks: The impact of a vocabulary intervention on preschoolers’ depth of word knowledge. Reading Research Quarterly. https://doi.org/10.1002/rrq.225