Thursday, November 9, 2017

Therapy Tip: Thanksgiving Ideas for Language

It's Thursday, which means it's Therapy Thursday here on the blog. Last month, all my posts were dedicated to Down syndrome awareness month, but the Therapy Thursday is up and running again. Like always, this is the day I share a tip based upon my experience as a pediatric speech-language pathologist and the mother of the child with special needs. Today's tip is:

Building Language During Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving will soon be here. I love using holidays to work on vocabulary and language skills. It gives me a chance to change up some of the things I do in therapy, which breaks up the routine for me and the child.

So, here's a few ways you can address some language skills using Thanksgiving themed items:

1. Make a turkey craft: 
There are many different patterns and ideas online on how to make a turkey for a simple craft. (Here's a link to some examples on a great website.) I have made turkeys out of brown construction paper with fake feathers. I have also traced the child's foot for the body of the turkey and traced the hands for the feathers. There's lots of different options out there. You can choose which type of turkey craft to use based upon the child's abilities.
I work with toddlers, so I typically do the simple crafts. Prior to seeing the child, I will have all the materials cut and ready to go. When you make a turkey craft in therapy, you can work on:
-Body parts: Name the parts of the turkey (feet, eyes). You can also have the child point out the parts on their body as they go along. If you do the craft that requires you to trace the child's foot and hand, you can reinforce foot, hands, and fingers as you do the tracing.
-Following directions: Making a turkey gives many opportunities for the child to follow directions. Think about combining directions to make them have 2-3 steps, so it will be harder for the child. Examples: Pick up the feather, and put it here. Get the glue, and put it on this.
-Attention span: Whenever you are doing something that involves multiple steps, you are helping the child stay focused and learn task completion. Don't let them stop until you're done!

2. Make a Thanksgiving card or collage:
Using clip art or free pictures online, you can easily print Thanksgiving related pictures. I typically use pictures of a pumpkin, leaf, turkey, boat, and a few different foods that are common on Thanksgiving. Sometimes, I'll print out a Pilgrim man and woman but call them 'mom' and 'dad' because those are common words I'm addressing with toddlers. I like doing these simple paste and picture projects because I can teach vocabulary as the child glues them on one at a time. Plus, they can look at this creation at home with their parents to reinforce the words.

3. Sort Turkeys:
If you search online, you can find turkey coloring pages (like these) to give you multiple options for some sorting activities. You can:
-Color sort: Color the turkey just 1 color but make 3 or 4 turkeys in this same color. Choose another color and make the same number of turkeys. Now, you can have the child sort through the colors (purple turkeys versus red turkeys). I have the child sort them into different baskets. I work with delayed 2 year olds, so sorting 2 colors is enough. But, you can do multiple colors if you want. Or, you can do 2 turkeys in 8 different colors and just look for matches.
-Big/little: Print out different sized turkeys and cut to size. Provide a basket for each size you are using. I usually just do big and little. Have the child sort through if the turkey is big or little. With toddlers, I make a clear distinction between the two sizes so it is not confusing.

Hope you can use some of these activities or adapt them for older children. Most of these take minimal advanced preparation and materials. Happy Thanksgiving!

Therapy Thursday is for educational purposes only and not intended as therapeutic advice. 

1 comment:

  1. Ah the turkey craft!

    Collages are marvellous too. This is the form of art I loved in my early and mid-teens. When I was given liberty to go into the material box...


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