Category: Hands On Therapy Activities

Using Mailboxes in Speech Therapy

We’ve all seen those cute little mailboxes in the Target Dollar Spot or our favorite dollar store. I know I walked by them a couple of years ago, not sure what I could do with it. Don’t worry…before I checked out, I walked back to pick up 3 (or maybe 5!) These little mailboxes are FANTABULOUS (yes, you read that right!) for speech therapy. Like so great that they can be used year-round!!! So why don’t you have one in your therapy stash? Here’s some ideas to use them in your awesome speech therapy sessions.

Ways to Use the Mailbox in Speech Therapy

  1. Basic Requesting/Simple Vocabulary: Place some plastic animals in your mailbox and close it.  Make sure to do this before your session so the child does not see the animals.  It adds an element of surprise!  During your session, shake the mailbox so the child hears that something is in there.  Prompt the child to say “open” if they do not spontaneously produce it.  Pull an animal and work on naming the animal with the child.  Keep repeating the process until all the animals are out!  As you are taking them out and putting them in, you can also work on these concepts with your special SLP magic!
  2. Articulation: This idea is super easy!  Just put your artic cards in the mailbox.  Have the child pull a card and practice the word.  If you are working with a group of students working on a mix of sounds, you may need more than 1 mailbox.  Be sure to label them with a post-it so kids know which mailbox to pull from.
  3. Basic Concepts: This is another crazy easy idea.  Using just your mailbox and LITERALLY any object to work on basic spatial concepts.  Give directions like “Put the cat UNDER the mailbox” or “Take the dog OUT of the box.”
  4. Grammar Sort- Write past and present tense verbs on notecards.  Specify one mailbox for past tense and one for present tense.  Have the child sort them accordingly.  You can also do this with singular and plural nouns.

In addition to these fun ideas, I am sharing a couple of fellow SLPs “kick butt” products that are great for these little mailboxes!!

Ms. Gardenia’s Speech Room has a great little newsletter freebie (if you are signed up this month-February 2018) that will get kids talking! I plan on using it next week to get my older clients talking as well start the session…kind of like a warm-up! Cut the question cards up and place them in your mailbox. Have a child draw a card out and either (1) answer it or (2) present it to the group for discussion.

Ashley over at Sweet Southern Speech has an adorable category game that is made for these mailboxes! You need more than one box (but not as many as 5!!!!!) as you will have the kiddos sorting. Super cute and easy to do.

Don’t forget that you can also use these adorable mailboxes for a community helper unit (Think MAIL CARRIER!!!).

Tips for Enriching Language with Halloween Candy!

It’s Halloween!  It’s probably #2 on the scale of “The Best Day of My Life” that every kid has.  And all you can think about is, “What the heck am I gonna do with all that candy?”   Well, you are in luck.  I just happen to think about writing this post just for parents (and SLPs) like you!  Not parents like me…one year we paid our kids to NOT go trick or treating.  But you’re a good parent and you took your kids wandering through neighborhoods at night, asking strangers for candy.  Here’s how you can use that candy to enrich language skills.

Tips for Enriching Language on Halloween

I posted my first You Tube video today with a few tips that I will mention in the blog post.  If you want to check it out, I would love it!  Don’t feel like you have to though!:)

Language Tip 1

This was my first tip in the video.  Categorize the candy.  Sort according to type (Snickers, Twix, Kit Kat all in their respective groups), ingredients (no peanuts vs peanuts, chocolate vs fruit flavored), or size.  Talk about which group has more/less.  What you don’t realize it you are not only helping language, you are helping math skills too!

Language Tip 2

Compare and contrast the candy.  What are the differences between a Snickers and a Starburst?  How are they the same?  Which candies are close to the same?

Language Tip 3

Sort Skittles, Starbursts or M&Ms according to color.  This is great for the little ones!  Work on naming colors, grouping colors, requesting (such as “I want purple.”) and SHARING!  Once they are all sorted, count!  Practice counting even if it is only to 10!

Language Tip 4

Using the candy to work on pronouns.  This is a great activity for two or more kids.  “She has a Twix.”  or “He has M&Ms” are great ways to use pronouns in context.  Find other ways to work in “him,” “her” or “me” such as “The Hershey’s belongs to her.”   Have fun and make it natural!

Language Tip 5

Use that bucket of candy to work on longer utterances!   Have your child make a request such as “I want Snickers please” or “Can I have Twix please?”  Have them tell you what they are eating like “I am eating M&Ms.”  Bonus points for the correct verb!!!

This is an articulation tip!  Have a kiddo working on “s”?  Have him pull a piece of candy from his bucket and say the name of the candy!  Doesn’t have an “s”?  No worries, use the phrase “I see a Kit Kat.”


These are all pretty simple to use ideas really require little planning.  Hoping everyone has a safe and fun night!

Need some more tips for enriching language?  How about this one for family outings?!


Pizza Sensory Bin in Speech Therapy

I had previously written a post about our pizza theme for speech therapy.  There was a quick (code: terrible picture and description) of my sensory bin.  This year, I revamped it and made it better!  Since I improved it, I figured I would write a quick blog post about it with a freebie!

Pizza Sensory Bin for Speech Therapy

I started out with a simple plastic container.  Shredded brown paper served as the base material.  I call this our “crust.”  Then I added strips of yellow construction paper (cheese), pieces of green pipe cleaner (green peppers), small red and black checkers (pepperonis and olives).  For aroma, you could add a few sprinkles of oregano.  Make sure you don’t add too much!

Pizza Sensory Bin for Speech Therapy

I use my sensory bins a lot for my language clients.  So I made cards that could easily be switched out between clients. The ones pictured are for -ing verbs but you can grab the freebie here.  The freebie includes -ing verbs and object functions.  You could easily add articulation cards  from your favorite decks to address your needs.

This little sensory bin was quite the hit this week in speech therapy.  The kids loved being able to dig around in there even though there was no rice or beans like some of our other bins.  If you have plastic/wooden pizza kits, that would be a fun addition too!

Language Skills with a Dash of Lemonade

Let’s face it.  Kids don’t always want to work on language skills at home.  They want to play their video games.  Text or “Snappy Chat” their friends.  Yes, you read that right…”Snappy Chat.”  If you are lucky, they enjoy reading.  But working on talking, answering questions, describing?  That’s a big NO.  But it’s ok.  Sometimes during therapy sessions, they don’t want to work either.  However, if you are eating or drinking?  You’ve got their attention!

Lemonade Language Activities

That’s where you insert a recipe for a fun hands on, language enriched activity!

Since it’s summer time, and 125 degrees in the shade, lemonade is a great recipe to make!  You can make it easy and use a mix that you add water to.  Or you can get crazy and make it from scratch…you know juice the lemons, boil the sugar.  When I make it at home, that’s my preferred method.  I can’t find my exact recipe but here is one that is very similar to mine.  Nothing beats a good cup of cold lemonade…that the kids HELPED make!  Making lemonade with the kids is a great language enriched task.  Planning the grocery lists, measuring, is the water hot or cold, safety awareness around the stove top…ALL OF THIS SUPER BENEFICIAL to your child’s language skills! 

Have your child get cups ready with ice.  If he is old enough, have him pour the lemonade.  Work on using pronouns like “Pour some in your cup”  “Put ice in his cup” are just a few examples.  As you enjoy the lemonade with your child, talk about the steps you went through to make it.  What did you do first?  What did you do last?  Have your child get paper out  and list or draw the steps.

Describe it!

How does the lemonade taste?  Is it cold?  Does it tastes sweet or sour?  Pull in some science terms-is it a solid or a liquid?  If you have an afternoon open, make different types of lemonade-raspberry lemonade, lavender lemonade, etc.  Pinterest has TONS of recipes!  Then talk about which one you liked best or which is least favorite.  All of this gets your child talking and using those language skills!!!

Now…go make lemonade!!!


Pirate Crafts for Speech Therapy

If you haven’t noticed by now, I freakin LOVE using crafts in my speech therapy sessions!  So guess what?  The pirate themed week was no different!  I actually had two crafts I could switch between, depending on the goals of my clients.

Pirate Crafts for Speech Therapy

Paper Plate Pirate Craft for Speech Therapy

I used this one for my little ones mostly.  It was easy to work on requesting and increased MLU with this craft.  Here’s what you need:  each child needs 1 large paper plate, 1 wiggly eye, 1 sheet of black construction paper, 1 sheet of red construction paper.  Since my clients are all smaller, I cut out everything for them.  The beard and eye patch were cut from the black paper.  A head scarf was cut from the red paper.  The kids can decorate the head scarf if they choose.  My clients did  not and I think the craft turned out just fine.  You can also have the kids color the paper plate a skin tone or leave it alone.  We did not color ours.

Now to start assembling!  I gave choices between 2 pieces (like the scarf and the eye) for some of my younger clients.  Then using the phrase, “I want…” they had to make a request.  We drew a nose on at the end and TA DA!  One cute pirate!


Paper Bag Pirate for Speech Therapy

This craft I paired with “The Old Pirate Who Swallowed a Fish.”  The kids loved it.  I loved that my older kids questioned the book on each page.  “How did he fit the plank down his throat?  Where did he put the ship?” were just some of the questions.  (Because the old lady swallowing Santa’s sleigh is apparently completely normal!  No one ever questions the old lady!)  I made some small cards that go along with the story.  You can find them here for FREE!  The kids could color them or leave them black and white.  For my artic clients, I wrote their target words on the back of each picture.  The child had to produce the target word correctly 5x before “feeding” it to the pirate.

How To Make the Pirate

Cut out materials like you did above for the paper plate craft…just make them slightly smaller.  I did not make this a puppet so you glue the hat/headscarf at the top of the bag.  The child should be able to place cards in the bag through the top.  I prefer this way instead of cutting out a mouth in the middle of the bag.  My kids will tear their bags too easily!  Glue the beard, eye patch and wiggle eye onto the front of the bag too.  Draw the nose on with a marker.

Pirate Craft for Speech Therapy

OPTIONAL IDEA:  Make the paper plate pirate above as directed.  Make the beard big enough to glue all the story picture cards on to it!

What are some of your favorite pirate activities?!  I’d love to hear them!

Needing some additional pirate themed activities?

Check out this blog post or my TpT store for a speech and language companion to “Pop Up Pirate!”

Sword Fight! Speech and Language Game Companion