May 12, 2015

No-Prep Speech Therapy Activities

quick & minimal-prep activities for the busy SLP

Tis the season - for high stakes standardized testing! My district has spent the past five weeks completing state assessments followed by MAP testing. (Too much testing! But that's a whole different post...) Now, with the end of the school year quickly approaching, we're looking at special activities, field trips, music programs, awards banquets, and class events. What does this mean for me? Reduced time with students, modified schedules, proctoring tests, and trying to fit in make-up therapy sessions. Time is limited. What's an SLP to do?

Here are my top 10 favorite go-to activities when prep time is short and I still want to make the most of time with my students. The majority of these things are always ready and I can just grab-and-go.

For PreK-2nd grade:
1. Magnet Wands/Dot Pages - easy to complete while practicing any therapy goal; dot pages can turn into colorful works of art for students to take home
Recommendation: Chipper Chat

2. Flash Cards: not just for drill - play a matching game, hide cards around the room for students to find, students keep the cards if they say their target correctly and SLP keeps the cards if they don't, etc.

3. iPad Apps - kids will willingly do the same activity on the iPad that they refused to do with flash cards five minutes ago
Recommendations: Toca Boca, Lego Junior Create & Cruise, My PlayHome

4. Marble Maze - great fun for following directions, reviewing basic concepts, and building language skills

5. Board Games - who doesn't love adding in a little competition to therapy?!
Recommendations: Candy Land, Cariboo, Pop the Pig

6. Garbage Pails - pick one up at the dollar store; it's so satisfying for students to "throw away" cards or objects they have completed

7. Speech/Language Path - walk down the path and collect articulation targets, or story elements, or build sentences as you go

8. Picture Books - so many options available and you can always incorporate speech and language goals
Recommendation: wordless picture books; use book companions

9. Bubbles - they are my secret trick to get shy preschoolers to interact with me
Recommendation: buy Billion Bubbles solution - it lives up to its name!

10. Building Blocks - fun for all ages and you can target almost any speech/language goal

For 3rd-8th grade:
1. Magnet Wands/Dot Pages - these provide numerous practice opportunities and it's just so satisfying to use the magnet and collect all those colorful chips
Recommendations: free 100 challenges by Peachie Speechie

2. Barrier Games - so many language opportunities here; also great for carryover of articulation skills

3. QR Codes - students adore scanning those magical pixelated boxes
Recommendations: QR inference cards; SpeechBook from Speech Bubble SLP

4. Dry Erase Board: students love drawing on these. Draw Venn diagrams for compare/contrast activities, create word webs with vocabulary words

5. Hangman - you can easily incorporate academic vocabulary terms or spelling words

6. Board Games - serve as an excellent tool to make mundane therapy activities more fun
Recommendations: Jenga, Don't Spill the Beans, Connect 4, Guess Who, Apples to Apples Jr.

7. Write on the Table - use dry erase markers or paint pens; easy way to "keep points" for any activity. Students are blown away that they get to draw on the table!

8. iPad Apps - apps are super motivating, and with structure and guidance they really do serve as helpful therapy tools.
Recommendations: Bluster, Story Wheel, Classify It!, World's Worst Pet, Phonics Studio

9. Interactive Websites - because anything involving technology can't possibly be work, right? ;)
Recommendations: Make Beliefs Comix, Scholastic Story Starters, Newsela, Readworks

10. YouTube - pair with graphic organizers to discuss story elements, sequence events, make inferences/predictions, etc.
Recommendations: Simon's Cat videos; Speech Tube from Speech Room News

What are your go-to no prep activities when you're short on time? Any recommendations for high school grades?


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  2. When our daughter was hurt falling off a swing, she would not use crutches and sulked in he bed all day. Physical therapy saved her, due in part to the way the nurses took to her and made her feel like she was a superstar. She couldn't wait to go back each week and shocked everyone when she was walking months before the doctor suggested.

    Terry Roberson @ MedCare Pediatric

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  4. basic concept comprehesion, describing/comparing, sentence comprehension and conversation questions. Speech therapy