Taking It Home- Using Visuals Outside of the Speech Room!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015
Good morning! Coffee is brewing and I am writing this blog post at 5am. Life with a newborn back in the house is amazing. Amazingly exhausting but amazing none the less. Since my husband works evenings and gets home at midnight, we split up the night time feeding shifts. That means my day starts at 4am. I thought being such an early bird would be terribly hard, but I actually enjoy it. The house is quiet and when everyone is back to sleep, I get to spend some alone time creating TpT materials, reviewing products, and writing blog posts. The rest of the day is spent snuggling my little ones, potty training, going to swim lessons, dance classes, and attempting to keep the house somewhat clean :)
Before the littlest one arrived, I began using visuals with my daughter. Kenzie turned three in April, but it felt like she turned 16. My sweet baby girl was transformed into what I like to call, a "threenager!" I love that she is strong willed and wants to be incredibly independent, but the protests, attitude, and tantrums were really starting to wear on my 8 month pregnant body. As a therapist, I emphasize to parents and teachers all the time how helpful using visuals can be to reduce anxiety and other issues that can cause behavior problems. Visuals can also provide some great motivation for kids. Well friends, it was time that I took my own advice. I sat down at the computer and created a weekly chart that addressed a daily schedule of activities I was having difficulty getting her to do. This chart allowed her to put a sticker next to a box after each task was completed. I chose this type of chart because currently stickers are highly motivating for her. 
It was no surprise that this sticker chart worked like a charm. My husband was impressed and embraced this chart quickly! After seeing how successful this was, I quickly went to Pinterest to find a motivating potty chart (of course we decide to potty train with a newborn in the house!) I found this free Frozen Potty Chart printable here. "Time to go, Let it go…!"
Something else that has proven over and over again to be helpful with getting things done without tantrums is using a visual timer. I am guilty of giving Kenzie more screen time then I would like to lately so I can feed or bathe the baby, but I always set a timer. When the timer goes off, the iPad gets shut off. I am a big fan of the Time Timer because it is easy for little ones to see how much time is left. When the "red is all gone!" time is up. The visual makes the concept easy for her to understand. 
Are you using visuals in your home? I would love to hear what works for you and your family!

Fun in the Sun! Summer Time Therapy Activities {Linky}

Friday, July 10, 2015
It's hard to believe that it's already July! Summer is flying by, but time flies when you're having fun, right? Summer time is always a fun time for therapy for me. It just feels different. The kids are out of school and in the mood for some fun. It motivates me to think outside of the box and get creative with some new summer themed activities. Some of my favorites are DIY activities (look for a future post about those!) but many are board games and hands on fun. I wanted to share a post with some of my favorite summer time therapy games! I want to know what your favorites are as well. 
So, to link up, write an original blog post that includes the linky graphic below. Make sure the graphic links back to this blog post so others can find it and link up, too. In your post, list your favorite summer therapy materials. Make sure you link up at the bottom of this post and share!
This post contains Amazon Affiliate links for your convenience.

What's a better way to beat the summer hear than with some ice cream? I love this lego ice cream set- and so does my daughter! Let's be honest, who doesn't love legos and who doesn't love ice cream? This is a fun way to target following directions, role playing, descriptive words, and just overall expressive language through play!

BBQ's are a summer staple. If your students love Jumping Jack or Pop the Pig, they will also be fans of this game. I like to use this game during articulation therapy sessions. Have your student(s) practice target words before a turn in the game.

Let's go fishing!  This game is a hit with my younger crowd, especially those working on following directions, turn taking, colors, and counting!

I cannot get my daughter away from our water table. She has a blast splashing in some sensory fun. Throw in some plastic sea creatures for vocabulary enrichment and watch the expressive language unfold!

PlayDoh is also a hit with my students. In the summer, I love using cookie cutters or food molds to create a picnic. Grab a basket, a blanket, some plates, and some cans of playdoh and head outside for your therapy session!

Another popular summer theme is camping. These Spot It games are so much fun, especially one with a fun theme. These games are perfect for targeting vocabulary, visual skills, attention to task/focus, and turn taking.

Keep the camping theme going with a camping play set. Role play going on a camping trip. What things do you need to go camping? What is a lantern used for? Lots of fun while targeting answering questions, vocabulary, and more! Want to really win therapist of the year award? Pitch a tent in your therapy room (or go outside for therapy that day.) Kids LOVE getting inside a tent and working!

Ocean animal puppets are tons of fun. There is something about puppets that elicit so much expressive language. I am also alway amazed at what little ones are willing to do if a puppet asks them to do it. Seriously, my daughter will clean her dinner plate or brush her teeth with no protesting if a puppet tells her to! There are so many ocean themed books out there that using puppets to interact with a story adds some extra fun.

Life... As of Late!

Thursday, July 9, 2015
You may have noticed that it's been pretty quiet around the blog lately. However, it's been anything but quiet around our house- except for during nap time- and good lord do I love nap time! If you follow me on Instagram (@simply_speech) you may have noticed a cute little guy hogging up your feed. On June 11th at 8am we welcomed the newest member to our family, Kameron! If you haven't noticed, we have a K theme in our family!
My heart is just so filled with joy to have a family of four. Kenzie is an amazing big sister. She loves taking care of him and holding his hand when he cries. My husband and I are exhausted to say the least, but we wouldn't change a thing. I can't wait to teach him new things, show him the world, and read him 1,000 books!

Life as a stay at home mom is good these days. Our days are filled with early morning wake up calls, swim lessons, play dates, doctor appointments, dance classes, and lots of coffee. Occasionally I may even get a shower or if I am real lucky, a nap! I'm enjoying my time off but my SLP brain has yet to shut off. 4am feedings is when most of my ideas seem to come to me so expect some new things up in the store soon. 
While many of you are getting ready to enjoy your time at the Vegas TpT conference or ASHA Schools, I'll be here living through you all on social media… so make sure you post lots of good stuff! 
I hope you all are enjoying your summer! I'll be back soon :)
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