Practicing words, sounds, and other language skills can quickly go from fun to hard work for younger children. When kids are actively engaged in what they are doing, they tend to work on the item more when away from the session and meet the goals faster. Pinwheels are a great resource to help Speech Therapists engage with students. Kids of all ages will enjoy going out for a walk and bringing a pinwheel outside in the sunshine. What they may not recognize is that while they are having fun, they are also working on speech and language goals at the same time.
Pinwheels are easy to find or make and offer a lot of variety for sessions. You can find pinwheels at most local retailers. If you would prefer to create your own pinwheel, follow this link for DIY instructions on how to make your own pinwheel. This could be a great craft option to do with your students as well!
The beauty of a pinwheel is they have lots of sections. You can place words, pictures, letters, numbers, or anything else within a section. Since this may need to be changed up from group to group, you can use Velcro on pieces to attach which are laminated. One of the easiest ways to generically use a pinwheel in a session is to give each child a turn and have them make it spin. Then have them pinch it to a stop in a random section.
Speech Therapy Pinwheel Activities
Grab the pinwheels that you have and count the number of segments on each. There are many that have 4-8 sections, depending on where you purchase them. Look at the pinwheels and debate how you may utilize the front and back to maximize where to place speech and language sounds, vocabulary, parts of speech, or anything else being worked on. When working with younger children, you may place words, pictures, or letters on the different sections of the pinwheel. Laminate the small circles that you will place onto the pinwheel sections and use Velcro. This will allow for more flexibility to change if a child needs to move onto something else and to make it work for multiple students.
Head outside to catch some wind in the pinwheel. Have each child stop the spinning with their pincher fingers on a random section. Some possible vocabulary activities include:
- Put the word into a sentence.
- Tell me what that words means.
- Provide a list of categories and have the student put the word in the correct category.
Think outside of the box and make sections that work for each child. Focus on articulation; the removable tabs allow for quick and easy adjustments when needed. Kids could also make their own pinwheels using the instructions mentioned above. While making them, have the children repeat directions on their own. In addition to this, the pinwheels may be sent home with instructions on how to use them for additional practice. Remember to include translations of words for multilingual families.
When spinning the pinwheel for an articulation activity, include instructions such as:
- Spell & say the word.
- List other words that rhyme.
- Try saying the word 10 times fast.
Replace the Velcro circles and replace them with grammar resources. Have each child stop the spinning with their pincher fingers on a random section. When students stop the pinwheel, have them:
- Create a sentence using the word.
- Name a synonym.
- Identify the word as either a verb or noun.
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