There are apples all around us in October, so it’s easy to use this seasonal fruit within speech and language sessions. Many teachers will use apples as a theme this time of year and may take their students apple picking, if they live in a region where this type of field trip is possible. Because speech therapy groups probably won’t have the opportunity to pick their own apples, apples may be brought into sessions for learning and work on speech and language goals. As always, when using food, check in with families for any possible food allergies.
Before sessions, head to your local grocery store and select three to five different varieties of apples. These apples will be used to compare and rate based on taste. Create a data collection sheet ahead of time with things that you will be talking about. Make it easy for younger children to simply check off a box if something applies to sample A, B, C, D, or E. On the top, leave a space for the names of the different apples being taste tested.
The left side will be personalized with adjectives that can be used to describe the apples. Whatever you want to focus on can be used. Include items like color, size, and shape (some are more round or taller than others). Would you consider these apples sour, tart, sweet, or something else? Which of the apples is the juiciest? Leave additional space for the students to add additional details and descriptions. The focus on descriptor words may be challenging for some kids. With the hands on nature of this activity, they may be able to explore word use with less stress.
After everyone has tried all of the apples, there are some ways to extend the activity. Talk about their favorite apple. There is no right or wrong answer, but they need to explain with details why they selected one over the others. Remind them to use all of their senses when giving their answer. Be sure to ask older children how the descriptions are important when talking about something specific in any language. Remind them that these descriptors are what help someone else listening to a conversation get a better picture in their mind about what they are talking about.
Check in with parents and guardians prior to this session. Ask them about their apple preferences and whether they go apple picking. Inquire about recipes that are special to their family and or cultural background. Some of these may be tied to where their families are originally from, or perhaps holidays they celebrate, like Rosh Hashanah. If there is time, some may volunteer to send in something for the group.
Our newest school-based opportunities are as delicious as apples in the fall! Check them out here.