Planning therapy around themes can make it a lot easier to come up with ways to cover all the goals in your mixed groups. And if you have a large caseload, finding ways to use one set of materials for a wide range of goals will make servicing your caseload much more manageable.
Farm-Themed Speech Therapy Materials to Cover Goals in Mixed Groups
How many goals could you cover with thisfarmhouse toy (Amazon affiliate link)? If you had a mixed group with a student working on reducing the phonological process of fronting, a student working on verb + ing and another student working on following directions, you could cover all those goals with this farmhouse!
For fronting, you could have the student say, “Go _____” with the animals or, “I can see _______” during play. To target “verb +ing,” the students can talk about what the animals are doing. For example, the pig can roll in the mud, the cow can eat grass, and the horse can jump over the fence. Use the animals and farm items to work on basic concepts and following directions. And just like that, your therapy session is planned and that easy to adapt!
Do you need a cheat sheet that would help you remember all the target verbs, questions, vocabulary and activities to do with a farm house? Grab my Toy Companion Speech & Language Cheat Sheets and always feel prepared doing play-based therapy.
Build Your Personal Material Stash
When I find toys that can be adapted for a lot of ages and skills, it usually becomes part of my personal therapy stash. If I ever move sites or school districts, I want to be able to take the materials that I use all the time with me.
Another toy I use often is my Mr. Potato Head. Check outthis post here to see how you can use this toy in therapy. If you need more toy ideas, this post covers some of my most used toys to work on functional language that you canread here.
This post contains Amazon affiliate links for your convenience.
Using a Farmhouse in Speech Therapy
Use a farmhouse to work on all sorts of goals! Here are some goals/skills you can target with this one toy:
—Turn taking and waiting.
—Initiating requests and comments. You can also work on joint attention by withholding objects until you get some eye contact and joint referencing.
—Teach prepositions such as in, out, next to, behind, in front.
—Work on verbs such as eat, sleep, run, jump, laugh, feed, play, roll, sit, gallop, drink.
—Answer wh-questions about the animals and farm equipment.
—Describe the farm animals by attributes.
—Create a story working on sequencing, story elements, and grammar structures.
Finding a farmhouse toy that is affordable can be tricky for SLPs on a budget. You can always try Facebook Marketplace and thrift stores for a deal. If you can’t wait, Amazon or Target have farmhouses.
Favorite Farm-Themed Books for Speech Therapy
I love bringing literacy into my sessions. The books have such colorful pictures, so I often use those to help stimulate language. Of course, you can work on story retell and oral narration with farm books, but you can also target grammar concepts, vocabulary, perspective taking (social skills), and articulation/phonology with words from the story.
If you don’t have time to head to the library or your Amazon purchase hasn’t arrived yet, you can still use books in therapy. Search for book read-alouds on YouTube like Down on the Farm by Merrily Kutner.
Farm-Themed Toys for Speech Therapy
Use theCreate-A-Scene for the farm (Amazon affiliate link) to work on simple story telling, practice verb +ing, following directions, describing nouns by attributes and answering wh-questions.
You can use the farm animals from Learning Resources to work on lots of skills in therapy. Here are some ways you can use these farm animal figurines: target more/less, plural noun markers, describing the animals, sorting the animals by features (i.e. two legs, tail, four legs, color), CORE vocabulary go/stop and as a reinforcement toy for completing other skills.
I love this puzzle to work on farm-themed speech therapy goals from Melissa & Doug. You can work on word opposites open/close as well as lots of CORE vocabulary such as more, look, what, want, turn, and like/don’t like.
Melissa & Doug also have these affordable farm-themed reusable stickers that come with farm picture scenes. This can be a great way to work on grammar concepts, following directions, and story retell. You can also create mini stories and then work on answering wh-questions for those stories!
Farm-Themed YouTube Videos for Easy Therapy Planning
When I just don’t have a ton of time to plan extensive therapy, I turn to YouTube to help me with planning simple, yet effective lessons. I will use farm-themed YouTube videos to target goals for language.
Here are some farm-related YouTube videos you can use:
Some farm sensory bin fillers you can use are popcorn kernels or black/brown beans.
Farm-Themed Speech Therapy Materials for Push-In Language Support
Wanting to bring farm-themed speech therapy activities into your whole class lessons? Check out my Farm Push-In Activities. They are perfect for busy SLPs wanting to use language activities in small groups and push-in lessons for their K-2 students.
You will have materials completely planned for at least two weeks. I include cheat sheet guides, 3-5 station activities, a Google Slide presentation, as well as a newsletter you can send home to parents. When I started push-in support I wanted to find a quick way I could let parents know what we were working on, in hopes that they would help reinforce the same language at home. I read a research article that found students with language impairments need up to 36 engagements with a word before it is mastered! It gave me permission to do themed therapy for more than one week!
Farm-Themed Speech Therapy Materials You Love
What farm-themed speech therapy materials do you love to use in your sessions? I would love to know what is working for your students. Over the years, I have really grown in learning how to adapt materials just from listening to what other SLPs do in therapy. Please share by leaving a comment or emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My students are very engaged by tiny trinkets. When I pull out the trinkets, my student’s are motivated for the speech or language activity! I have used dinky doodad trinkets to target a lot of different speech and language goals. And, I love that younger elementary and older elementary students like using them. When you can find resources that can be adapted across a lot of goals and ages, you seriously have a therapy material winner.
What are your favorite toys, games or materials that really give ya that bang for your buck? You know, those resources that cover a lot of needs on your caseload that you use all the time? I would love to know in the comments, so I can add them to my therapy stash. Today, I want to share about how much dinky doodad trinkets have become one of those bang for your buck resources. They are very versatile and kid approved.
Ways To Use Toys With Dinky Doodads In Speech Therapy
Use Mr. Potato Head, little people, stuffed animals or the students in your group to work on pronouns with dinky doodads! For more ideas on how to use the toy, Mrs. Potato Head, check out this blog post.
Let the students pick out 5-10 items that they want. Then, line up the items among the he/she toys. Each student can pick which item they want to talk about. For example, “She has the egg.” This will work on “pronoun markers” and “has/have” simultaneously. Or you can target answering basic “who” questions. Who has the corn? Who has the egg?
Go on an egg hunt and stick trinkets inside the eggs. After the kids find the eggs, they can sort the items by categories using my FREE category visuals. You can of course hide these trinkets in different types of containers. Plus, you can work on the basic concepts in/out with a sentence frame “The _____ is in the egg.” If you need more ideas for working on categories and struggling with where to start in therapy, I have a great blog post with lots of tips you can see HERE.
Make A Dinky Doodads Speech Therapy Sensory Bin
Make an “I Spy” sensory bin! There are a lot of different ways to use this sensory bin. One way is to make an articulation station activity. Seriously, this is probably my most used sensory bin and was the easiest to make once my dinky doodad order arrived!
You can also use this “I Spy” sensory bin to work on category groups and noun function. Or you can use the sensory bin as an articulation station. While you are working with other students in the group, have your students look for trinkets with his/her sound. Then, they can practice using the trinket in a carrier phrase. Need this articulation mats? Click the pink button for your FREE set. My second favorite sensory bin to use is my treasure hunt bin. I use kinetic sand and hide the dinky doodads in the sand. Check out this post to read more.
For more language ideas on how to use this sensory bin and to grab this FREE category game, check out my post I did HERE. I would love to see your sensory bin in action! You can always tag me on social media @thedabblingspeechie and use the #slpsensorybin to inspire other SLPs.
Create Sentences With Dinky Doodads To Build Language
I will use my speech and language sentence strips with dinky doodads. You can have your students practice his/her sounds with specific sentence frames that have the student’s sound such as “Brendon drew a picture of a/an ________”. The sentence strips also contain compare/contrast visuals that I use to work on describing similarities and differences.
Her companion also has sheets to work on a lot of other skills in therapy!
How Do You Use Dinky Doodads in Speech Therapy?
I would love to know how you are using dinky doodads in speech! You know I am all about adding therapy ideas to my speech toolkit, so share in the comments or email me at email@example.com
Today, I want to share how to use beach balls in speech therapy. Don’t you love using toys/materials that are easy to find and under $5? I do. During this time of year, you can find beach balls at most stores, especially places like the Dollar Spot or Dollar Tree. Most kids love playing with balls. Beach balls are light weight and won’t likely break something.
Beach Ball Crafts For Kids
I saw this idea for a beach ball craft for kids on pinterest from Glued To My Crafts and thought it could make a great speech therapy activity!
Beach Ball Language Therapy Ideas
Work on visually showing your students how conjunction words connect two sentences together.
Take your therapy outside and go on a language challenge! Place the beach ball in various locations on the playground. Before the students can pick it up, they have to make a sentence about the beach ball such as “The beach ball is on the steps.”
Work on answering “who” “what” and “where” questions with the beach ball. Some of my students with more significant language impairments struggle with understanding the meaning of the question words. I start with teaching these question words in very simple and visual ways. For example, you can use the students in the group and have one student hold the beach ball. Then, you can ask “Who is holding the beach ball?” If your student needs support even with the choices, you can visually cue the student.
Put velcro dots (amazon affiliate link) on your beach ball and put articulation pics, category pics or any vocabulary words on the beach ball with velcro. You can put my FREE category visual cards on a beach ball with the velcro dots. Have the kids name category items as they take the pictures off the beach ball.
Use Beach Balls To Increase Functional Communication
Use a student’s communication device or low tech communication boards to target CORE vocabulary. You can target MORE, GO, ON, OFF, WANT, LIKE while playing with the beach ball.
-Throw the beach ball back and forth working on my/your turn with CORE boards.
-Throw the beach ball “up, down, over, under” or against the wall in your speech room.
-Teach different verbs with the beach ball such as “throw”, “toss”, “roll”, and “hit”.
-Play bowling with the beach ball to work on “up/down, again, all done.”
Play Beach Ball Simon Says
I love using the game Simon Says to teach “verbs” and “basic concepts”. It is also great for teaching basic turn taking in conversation, following another person’s plan and initiating communication.
Beach balls and pool noodles are great materials for having students demonstrate “basic concepts”. In the picture below, I show how you can use pool noodles and a beach ball to show “between”.
Beach Balls in Speech Therapy – Ideas From Other SLPs
SLP Natalie Snyders has three easy ideas for how to use beach balls in speech therapy that you can check out HERE.
Need an idea for your social skill groups? I love how Crazy Speech World made this fun conversation activity with a beach ball that you can check out HERE.
What are your Beach Ball Speech Therapy Ideas?
I would love to know if you have any speech therapy ideas using beach balls? Share your idea in the comments below.
Need more speech therapy ideas for specific materials/toys? Here are some more blog posts I have written on specific toys or materials:
Speech pathologists are all about having materials that can target a lot of goals and keep students engaged. If you are an SLP working with Prek-2nd grade age students, then I highly recommend using My Little House in speech therapy.
Today, I am going to be sharing about how to use My Little House in speech therapy. BTW, this resource is durable and easy to store!
Who Designed My Little House For Speech Therapy?
Have you heard of My Little House by Smart Felt Toys? It is a reversible felt toy house that works on developing early language skills.
My Little House was created by speech language pathologist, Yvonne Johansen. She designed this house after years of using felt boards in speech therapy. This house can be velcroed together to be a 3-dimensional house or laid flat on the therapy table or floor.
How I Began Using My Little House In Speech Therapy
When I attended the ASHA convention in 2016, I spotted the Smart Felt Toys booth and was instantly attracted to the toy house. I bought a My Little House toy for my caseload on the spot. This became a toy that really helped my TK-1st grade students working on language. I was able to modify this therapy material to meet the needs of my mild language impairment student to my mod-severe (as long as they don’t like eating things, that is lol). My only small, tiny complaint about the My Little House was that the felt pieces sometimes didn’t stick well to the house.
Updates about My Little House
I have since connected with the Smart Felt Toys company and they gave me a new and improved My Little House to trial out and share with all of you. They too noticed the felt pieces were not sticking as well as they liked, so they found some new felt. It has made all the difference and I haven’t had problems with this newer house.
How To Use My Little House In Speech Therapy
Answer WH– Questions – Student can answer “What, Where, Who” questions about the items. If they are struggling with answering questions, you can do it as a receptive task such as “Find the item that you sleep on.” Furthermore, you can use the felt pieces to give a field of choices ranging from 2-4 items. Lay out the felt pieces and have the student find an item by function, location, or another attribute, such as “Find the one that you sit on.” Then, the student picks the item out of the field of choices and can put it on the house.
Articulation – There are so many felt pieces that you can find words with a LOT of sounds for your students to work on while playing with this house. Another alternative way to work on articulation, is to set up the session for drill or lesson based teaching for the first 15 minutes of the session. Then, the last 10-15 minutes, you can work on targeting their sounds in a more naturalistic activity while playing with the Little House toy.
Working with Students With Significant Communication Needs
Functional Communication – You can work on CORE vocabulary for your students working on increasing functional communication. Several of my students that are non-verbal or limited verbal made a lot of growth with increasing communication beyond requesting with CORE Boards. You can read about this low tech communication support HERE. If you are interested in my journey learning about CORE boards, you can check out this guest post I wrote on Natalie Snyders SLP’s blog.
Using the My Little House and a CORE board, communication book or visuals supports, students can work on answering yes/no questions about the felt items or what item they want next, more, all done, look, fun, I like, I don’t like, and I could go on and on. You can also work on putting the item “on” and taking the felt items “off”.
Social Skills – This house toy creates a lot of structure for communication. My students with social pragmatic delays need resources with structure to help them with learning the social scripts and words to use. Work on turn taking, making requests, creating a story, answering social questions and solving problems such as “Why does a baby sleep in a crib?” or “What do you do if you want to heat something on the stove?”.
How To Use For Grammar & Vocabulary
Grammar and Morphology – You can use the items from the My Little House for creating grammatically correct sentences. There are plurals and singular items, so you can practice marking “toys”, “fruits” and “candles”. Practicing adding in adjective and prepositional phrases in your sentence by describing the color and location of the items.
Basic Concepts – Yvonne has thought each of the rooms out beautifully, placing items strategically for clinicians to work on basic concepts. The dogs are sleeping “next to” the desk, the “dog” is under the table, and in the bedroom scene, the shoes are “under” the bed. You can work on following directions with “first, then, before, after”.
Vocabulary – I have so many students working on learning critical attributes about common nouns. You can have students practice describing the nouns by category, function, location, parts, size, color, texture, and background knowledge details. You can work on the category “home” and “furniture” with this resource as well!
What do you think about My Little House?
How would you use this therapy resource? Do you have one? What have you liked about this therapy toy? Share in the comments!
Do you remember playing with Mr. Potato Head as a kid? It was one of those toys that kept me busy for hours. Mr. Potato Head is a great toy to invest in for your speech therapy room. If you work with the prek-2nd grade crowd, this is for sure a crowd pleaser!
Why you should get a Mr. Potato Head For Speech Therapy
I love finding toys, games and resources that I can re-use over and over again in therapy. If I can think of MANY ways to use a toy in therapy, it is a winner in my book. So often, SLPs have mixed groups and need to adapt activities to incorporate articulation, fluency, social skills and language goals. It is truly an art to manage all that! Mr. & Mrs. Potato head allow students to explore, manipulate things with their hands, be creative and practice pretend play skills. When you have all those ingredients, a child’s willingness to communicate increases a TON!
1. For my students working on turn taking and collaborative play, I give the box filled with body parts to one student and the potato to the other student. One student has to initiate with the peer to get the items that he/she would like to add to the potato head. We work on making comments after a friend asks for an item.
This activity can teach the expected social rules, turn taking, taking in the group, following your peer’s plan vs. your own plan and so much more!
2. Work on body parts! This is a early developing category group that children should learn. Have the students request the item that they want for their potato head. You can work on the noun-function for each body part, where you can find certain clothing items and where clothing items belong on the potato’s body.
3. Target descriptive language with teaching adjectives. Describing items by color is an easy way to build adjectives and MLU! For example, you can have the students say “Mr. Potato Head has blue shoes.”
4. Work on “who” questions with Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head. First, have your therapy group request and work with their peers to build the Mr. and Mrs. Potato Heads. Then, find items in your therapy room to use with the potato heads. I used these fun trinkets from Dinky Doodads to use with this activity. Then, I asked my students “who” questions. For example, I laid out three items between both of the potato heads. I then asked “Who has a donut?” This was a great way to work on the beginning stages of understanding what “who” is asking.
5. Build grammatically correct sentences with noun-verb agreement. For my students with limited MLU’s or grammar errors, I used Mr. Potato Head to work on parts of speech, especially noun-verb agreement.
6. Practice articulation with carrier phrases and sentences. Grab a set of pictures with your student’s sound and have them make sentences with silly Mr. Potato Head sentences. I use sound words from my Any Craft Companion Set. You can do Mr. Potato Head ate ______, Mr. Potato Head sat on a ______ or Mr. Potato Head watched a/an __________.
7. For my students working on basic concepts and following directions, I use Mr. Potato Head a couple of ways. I will hide the body parts around the room. The students have to ask for clues using basic concepts to figure out where I put them. Is there a piece under the table, behind the box, near the door, etc.? I will also work on first, next, last and before and after with my students. Before you put on the pink ears, put on the orange nose. It is a great way to also collect data during the session!
Need more ideas for Mr. Potato Head
If you want some more therapy ideas, I found a blog post from Speech Room News that you can read about HERE! Speech For Kids has a great post too that you can read HERE! How do you like to use Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head in speech therapy? Share in the comments below.