Movement with Words for Winter SLP Plans
The winter months can be difficult for children when they must stay inside. The weather makes it harder to go outside and play. Luckily, there are a lot of gross motor activities that can work to focus on the needs within a speech language session. Getting kids active will motivate them to work on more difficult skills and encourage them to take these ideas home to extend therapy.
Jumping Word Practice
This activity can work on words, vocabulary, articulation, fluency, or other skills that you are tending to at the time. Begin by making snowflakes or buying large snowflake cutouts. These can be laminated so you can write on them with dry erase marker. Another idea is to use Velcro dots on them and dots on word groups cards that you have for target sounds. Have your snowflakes ready and scatter them around the room. Children will begin by jumping onto a snowflake close to them. They must identify the word. You may have them repeat it five times, use it in a sentence, or ask you a question using the word. Once this is over, jumping continues to the next snowflake and so on. For older children, you could also ask question and have them jump onto the word that answers it.
Bowling for Words
Children love to go bowling, so why not make a mini bowling game to use inside? All you need are five to ten plastic water bottles. If you want to make your bowling game colorful before the lesson, there is a tutorial for plastic bottle bowling here. Have each child bowl. Count the number of pins knocked over. Ask the child to select that number of words from their skill set and say them a certain number of times. You can change this around and alter the directions. It can also be used to practice fluency in explaining a process. Each time they bowl, have the child practice telling you what they are going to do: how many pins there are, count the number knocked over, and so forth.
Beyond Traditional Hopscotch
Do not forget about fun games like hopscotch. Yes, even that can be played inside. You can make a laminated hopscotch board, buy an inexpensive towel game, or make your own with tape. For a quick skill game that can get kids moving, have a roll of masking tape at the ready to make a hopscotch pattern on the floor (photo and other indoor activities using tape located here). Inside each location, you can put number, letters, or both. Incorporate a die and have children toss that into the letter spaces to determine how many “r” words they can recite. These activities can be shifted to increase or decrease the level of difficulty to practice a wide variety of speech skills.
As always remember to communicate with those at home about what you are working on. Practice beyond your sessions is key. Be sure to send home copies of word flashcards for students. Have not only the English word with the photo, but also the word in the language primarily spoken at home. This will help the children to connect the two and prompt their multi-language identities.