5 Ways to Play: Counting Surprise Party!

Thursday, March 4, 2021

I am very excited about this new blog series, Toy of the Week: 5 Ways to Play! There are so many ways to use toys, games, and regular household items (more than just their original intended use) to teach and elicit lots of language. I chose the Learning Resources Counting Surprise Party as my first toy of the week because I have used it so much since COVID hit. This set has been a fantastic, engaging activity for both in person and teletherapy sessions. 

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links for your convenience. This means that if you make a purchase using my link, I may make a small commission. 



This toy set was created and intended to use to help children learn colors and numbers. But as we all know, every good toy can be used in more than one way. 

Here are 5 ways I have used this toy in therapy.


Number 1: What's Inside?

Work on those inference skills by giving your child clues about what object is inside the box. For example,  take a peek inside one of the boxes and say to your little one, "Ohhhhhh!! This one has big ears, loves carrots, and can hop! What do you think it is?" As your child's language grows, switch it up. Tell them that they get to be the teacher and let them give you clues about what is inside. This is a great way to also work on descriptive words and object function. 


Number 2: Following Directions!

These are great objects for working on listening and following directions. Set out the objects and the boxes on a table or the floor. You can use simple directions, such as: "Put the cat in the orange box." work on spatial concepts, such as: "Put the duck behind the blue box" and temporal directions, such as: "Before you put the bear in the green box, put the teapot in the purple box."


Number 3: Simple Reinforcement

These presents bring a lot of engagement to my sessions. I often use these as simple reinforcements for answering questions or practicing a target speech sound. After the child answers the questions, they get to open one box. During teletherapy, this was often a reinforcement for finishing one activity before we moved on to the next one. 


Number 4: Make Skill and Drill Practice More Fun!

Grab some flashcards and lay them out on the floor or table. These can be for shapes, letters, numbers, vocabulary words, articulation targets.... anything! Place one of the presents on top of each card. Have the child tell you which present he/she wants to open by naming/ practicing what is on the card first. Since there are 10 boxes, you can easily get to 100 trials in a session with this activity. 


Number 5: Movement!

So many of my students need movement breaks between activities. Hide these presents around your therapy space. After each task is complete or after a certain amount of time, instruct your student to go search for one of the presents and bring it back to you. This helps bring excitement and engagement to your sessions as well as work on attention to task. 

As I said before, all good toys can be used in more than one way. These are just 5 examples. I would love to hear your ideas or ways that you would use them in therapy! 

To purchase this set, you can use this link, here!


Making Magic Words in Speech!

Thursday, February 18, 2021

And for my next trick.... Magic Words!  Don't you just love when you find an activity that makes your students just light up? Occasionally, speech can become a little dull, especially if you have a student that has been with you for a while. Finding new ways to make speech practice fun and exciting can be a little difficult. Magic Words is a fun way to get your kids excited and get a lot of practice in, too!



All you need for this activity is a plain piece of white paper, a white crayon, watercolors, and a paintbrush. I got this Crayola watercolor set with a brush from Target for just over a dollar. Before the kids come in to speech, I write their target words for the day on the paper with white crayon. When they arrive, I tell them the paper is magic paper that makes special words appear when they paint! (or you could say the paint is magic.... whatever works!) 


As the students paint on the paper, the paint won't stick to the crayon, so it makes their words appear like magic! When they discover a new word, I have them practice that word 5 times or put it in a sentence, depending on their level. The amount of giggles that come out of this activity is pretty darn amazing. 


I have used this activity for more than just speech words. I have also written sight words, spelling words, numbers, letters, a secret message... just about anything will work! Just this morning I  drew shapes for a little guy learning those.  I personally haven't tried this, but was a great way to get kids engaged during teletherapy! You would have all the materials on your end and do the painting. The student can practice their word as it appears on your paper! 


I hope this activity will bring a fresh, new idea to your speech room!

Hilariously Sweet Valentine Jokes for Speech!

Thursday, February 4, 2021


Happy, happy February! In February I always love a good Valentine theme in speech. Lots of holiday vocabulary, kindness, and lots of love. Although most of my students have come back to see me in the clinic, I am still doing a few teletherapy sessions a week. As I have mentioned before, one of my teletherapy students told me a joke at the beginning of our session a few months ago. I loved how it just lightened the mood and started our session out on a happy note. So now, I start all my sessions out with a joke!


Since it's no secret I love a good theme, of course my jokes need to be themed as well. I have been searching the internet for the best, kid approved Valentine jokes. I wanted to compile a list here to share. So here are 18 hilariously sweet Valentine jokes approved to tell in speech, enjoy!!



What did the painter say to her sweetheart? 

I love you with all my art.

What do you call the world's smallest Valentine card?

A Valen-teeny!


Knock Knock

Who's there?

Olive

Olive who?

Olive you!

 

What did one volcano say to the other?

I lava you!


How did the phone propose to his GF?
He gave her a ring. 

 

What did the one sheep say to the other? 

I love ewe!

 

What did the farmer give his wife for Valentine’s Day?

Hogs and kisses.


What did one light bulb say to the other light bulb on Valentine’s Day?

I wuv you watts and watts!

 

What did the baker say to his sweetheart? 

I'm dough-nuts about you!


What do you say to an octopus on Valentine’s Day?

I want to hold your hand, hand, hand, hand, hand, hand, hand, hand!

 

What do you call a ghost’s true love?

Their ghoul-friend.

 

 What do you write in a slug’s Valentine’s Day card?

Be my Valen-slime!

 

What kind of flowers should you NOT give on Valentine’s Day?

Cauliflowers!


Why do skunks love Valentine’s Day?

They are very scent-imental creatures.

 

Why did the sheriff lock up her boyfriend?

He stole her heart.

What do you call two birds in love?

Tweethearts!

 

What type of shape is most popular on Valentine's Day?

Acute triangle. 

What did Frankenstein's monster say to his bride on Valentine's Day?

Be my Valenstein! 

Speech Therapy Games That Get Lots of Repetitions!

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

 Who doesn't love games? I know that more than half of the reasons that my students look forward to coming to speech is to see what game we get to play that day. I mean, I chose to be a pediatric speech therapist as my profession because I wanted to have fun with kids every day (among other reasons of course!)
This post contains Amazon Affiliate links for your convenience. That means that if you purchase something using my link, I may make a small commission. 

I am constantly looking for new games to play in speech. But when looking at games, there are certain criteria I require for it to be a game we play in speech. It must be a simple game. Not a lot of rules, not a lot of complicated pieces. And definitely not something that takes a long time to set up. It's a bonus when the game is open ended enough that I could easily make up my own rules for the game. I also need the game to be fast paced. And one that easily allows turn taking.



I have these criteria in place because I want to get lots of repetitions of speech productions during my short sessions with the kids. Research has shown that successful speech therapy is tied to at least 100 speech productions in a session. Fast paced, turn taking games allows the student to get in lots of practice between turns in the game. We want maximum productions in a minimal amount of time. I complied a list of my go-to speech therapy games and linked them below. 

Have one you love to use? Please share!




Games shown above:

Pop the Pig

Greedy Granny

Pop up Pirate

Shark Bite

Let's Go Fishin'

 Jenga

Candy Land

Connect 4

Chutes and Ladders

Winter Jokes Approved for Speech!

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Happy, happy new year! In January I always have a winter theme in speech. Lots of winter vocabulary, snowball fights, and lots of fun. Although most of my students have come back to see me in the clinic, I am still doing a few teletherapy sessions a week. As I have mentioned before, one of my teletherapy students told me a joke at the beginning of our session a few months ago. I loved how it just lightened the mood and started our session out on a happy note. So now, I start all my sessions out with a joke!


Since it's no secret I love a good theme, of course my jokes need to be themed as well. I have been searching the internet for the best, kid approved winter jokes. I wanted to compile a list here to share. So here are 15 Winter jokes approved to tell in speech, enjoy!!

 (If you have any, please share. The cornier the better!)



Q: What falls in the winter but never gets hurt?
A: Snow!

Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Icy.
Icy, who?
Icy (see) you!!

Q: What do you call it when a snowman has a temper tantrum?
A: A meltdown

Q: What is a snowman's favorite snack?
A: Ice Krispy Treats!

Q: What do you get when you cross a snowman and a vampire?
A: Frostbite!

Q: What is the best breakfast cereal to eat in the winter?
A: Frosted Flakes!

Q: What d mountains wear to keep warm?
A: Snowcaps

Q: What did one snowman say to the other?
A: Do you smell carrots?

Q: What do you call a snowman party?
A: A snowball!

Q: How does a snowman get around town?
A: He rides an icicle!

Q: Who are frosty's parents?
A: Mom and Pop-sicle!

Q: What does a snowman take when he gets sick?
A: A chill pill!

Q: Why did the girl keep her trumpet in the snow?
A: She liked cool jazz music! 

Q: How does a penguin build a house?
A: Igloos it together! (Glues it together)

Q: Where does a snowman keep his money?
A: In a snowbank!



My Virtual Holiday Card!

Thursday, December 17, 2020

 It's time again for my virtual holiday card. I truly enjoy writing this post every year. It forces me to sit down and go through all the photos in my phone. I am reminded of all the small, special moments we experienced during a crazy year.  It also makes me incredibly grateful and humbled that over 23 thousand of you are still here and show support to my little creative corner of the internet. 
Since we just got our family photos done, I figured it would be the perfect time to write this post. 

A funny (well, funny now!) story about this holiday shoot is shared at the end of this post!

This year was definitely a year filled with firsts. So many firsts. First time homeschooling.  First time being a teletherapist! First time both of kids rode their bikes without training wheels. Kenzie played her first season of softball. Well, I use 'season' lightly. She played two games and then COVID hit and shut everything down. She learned that she loves dance more than softball and probably has hung up her glove for good. But I'm so proud of her for trying something new. We also got to experience our first year of drive through birthday celebrations. To be completely honest, I hope these stay around! My kids got so excited to decorate our car and drive by friends and teachers' houses to wish them a happy birthday! 

    

In June we jumped into the world of milkweed, caterpillars, and butterflies. This was such a fun learning experience for us all. Watching the lifecycle of a butterfly is absolutely amazing. But clearly raising caterpillars just wasn't enough and we decided to also get a Goldendoodle puppy! Our little Chip joined our family on June 19.  You can read the whole post about our little guy here.

In July I tried paddle boarding for the first time! It was such a fun girls day out on the water. July also brought the grand opening of the new Pier here in St. Pete and our annual trip to Rainbow River. Kameron started speech and had his first therapy session with Ms. Bethany on July 1! 




School started back up in August. We decided to send both kids back to school instead of continuing the virtual option. They have both had a fantastic year so far. In September my car was in a crazy freak accident while parked in my office parking lot (I shouldn't be surprised, after all it is 2020!) We joined the Elks Lodge (what we call our neighborhood clubhouse!) Kameron started his first season of T-Ball (no more pre-tee for this big guy!) He was awarded Most Improved Player. 

November was a big, emotional month. It brought us a new family member. My sister gave birth to my niece, Willa Blue! We also lost a family member. On November 20th, my grandpa gained his wings and made it to Heaven. He was such a special man. I am so glad that my kids got to know their Great Grandpa so well. 

And now here we are in December. This year has been one like no other. I think my biggest take away from the year is to slow down. COVID forced us to slow down and say 'No' to so many things that we think we have to do. I have learned that a slower life is a happier, richer life. My kids don't need to be involved in every activity. It's ok if we miss a practice. It's ok to not check your email at 8pm. It's ok to say no to things that don't bring us joy. In the words of Living with Landyn, "If it's not a hell yes, it's a no."

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being here. Thank you for reading my posts. Thank you for supporting my TpT store. I read every review. I celebrate every sale. I truly enjoy having every single one of you along with me for this ride. 
Merry Christmas.
Happy Holidays.
and cheers to an even Happier New Year!


As promised, here is the behind the scenes story of this photo shoot!

Oh this is a shoot I will always remember. Ready for this Instagram vs. reality story? So about 15 mins before these sweet family pictures were taken, I had to wrestle a dead squirrel out of that cute little puppy’s mouth. My bloody hands had to be edited out of these pictures. (By the way, the cute puppy is now named Cujo) And the whole situation caused me to almost pass out! I had to use a cold can of Busch Lite to ice my wounds. It's ok, you can laugh. I laugh about it, too. I will always remember this shoot and the story behind it. 
Thank you to Erika Johnson Photography for always capturing our family so perfectly (dead squirrel and all!)



Christmas Jokes Approved for Speech!

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

December is here! I have pulled out all my winter holiday stories and we are ready to have as much holly jolly thematic fun as possible. Although most of my students have come back to see me in the clinic, I am still doing a few teletherapy sessions a week. A few weeks ago one of my teletherapy students told me a joke at the beginning of our session. I loved how it just lightened the mood and started our session out on a happy note. So now, I start all my sessions out with a joke!


Since it's no secret I love a good theme, of course my jokes need to be themed as well. I have been searching the internet for the best, kid approved seasonal jokes. I wanted to compile a list of Christmas themed jokes here to share. So here are 15 Christmas jokes approved to tell in speech, enjoy!!

 (If you have any, please share. The cornier the better!)



What does an elf study in school?
The elfabet!

What do snowmen eat for breakfast?
Frosted Flakes!

Why do mummies like Christmas so much?
Because of all the wrapping!

What do you call Santa when he stops moving?
Santa Pause!

What happens if you eat the Christmas decorations?
You get tinselitus!

What is a cow's favorite holiday?
MOO-year's Day!

What did the gingerbread man put under his blanket?
A cookie sheet!

What do you call a greedy elf?
Elfish!

Why did's Rudolph get a good report card?
He went down in history!

What is another name for Santa's little helpers?
Subordinate Clause

What did one snowman say to the other?
You're cool!

How much did Santa's sleigh cost?
Nothing! It was on the house!

What kind of music do elves like?
Wrap music!

What does Santa use to keep his house clean?
Comet!

What's the difference in a Christmas alphabet and the regular alphabet?
The Christmas alphabet has NOEL!

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