Community helpers is a great theme for speech therapy. You could easily turn it into a month long theme full of activities, games and books! I usually stretch it over 2 weeks if I can. Since I do so much during this theme, I turned this post into a 4 part series.
We started our theme with firefighters. I am not sure what it is about firefighters but the kids are fascinated with them.
We read “Curious George at the Fire Station.” Curious George is a timeless character. He is still relevant, even with the little ones. Plus the trouble he gets into allows us to talk about good and bad choices as well as how to behave in public (SOCIAL SKILLS!!!)
I made a lot of my own activities for this theme. There are some great activities out there that involve all community helpers. But I like to designate days to a certain community helper during our theme. It gives us a chance to concentrate on one special person and learn about their job. I do have a community helper artic packet that has a playdough smash mat for firefighters. Using blue playdough, put out a “fire” for each word you say correctly! My vocabulary smash mats are very similar but they work on naming common objects. The interactive book has been a hit with the preschool population. Using basic firefighter vocabulary, kids can work on increasing MLU and answering simple “what” questions. The set also comes with 2 playdough smash mats to work on the concepts “big”/ “little” and “up.” Laminate and prep the manipulatives with magnets and use on a cookie sheet or other magnetic surface. You can use it as playset or a barrier game. “Community Helper Pronoun Packet” is a set of activities that work on “he, she, his and hers.” The booklets address understanding the concept of each. Listen to the sentence and color either the girl or the boy, depending on the pronoun. The worksheets can be used to reinforce using the correct pronoun in sentences.
Apps, Puzzles and Games for Speech Therapy
I found a book a couple of years ago at Home Goods (always check their toy section!!) that has turned into a favorite. The book has removable pieces that I used as a puzzle! My tots and preschool population have been using it for matching. The pieces are big and durable.
My favorite app right now has been a puzzle app. I have a couple of great community helper apps but this one has been great for my little ones! You can set the puzzle to an easy 4 piece, medium 9 piece and a harder 16 piece. You can also set it to have the picture in the background to give the kids clues or not.
An idea I sent out to my families this week was a fun activity that could be set up for therapy. Buy cheap red plastic cups and tape/glue/draw fire on each one. For artic therapy, you can write target words on the flames. Have the child say a word correctly and “put out the fire” by spraying water on it (using a water gun or squirt bottle). It could be adapted to language by writing opposites, synonyms or parts of speech on the fire.
Next session’s theme: Police Officers!