Winter Therapy Theme

 Happy New Year!  I am back sharing our first theme of 2021, winter!  I have four to five themes that I like to use in year, winter, arctic animals, yetis, and snow.  I have ALOT of materials for snow so that usually ends up taking 2-3 weeks and sometimes I don't get to the other themes. This year I am planning to start with winter, mix in a little bit of yetis and finish the last two weeks with snow.  This post is about winter and the materials to get us started for the new year! Here's what we'll be up to virtually and some ideas if you are seeing students face to face. 

I always have to start by sharing books!  The Mitten is my favorite but I have a few others I've read too.  My yeti and polar bear books snuck into this picture (oops!).  I will also search Epic for winter books to read virtually too. Epic has How to Catch a Yeti in a video format that is awesome! 

I like to start the month by introducing seasonal vocabulary.  We do so many things with vocabulary words.  We can name them, describe them, use them in a sentence, categorize them, give clues to hunt for them, the possibilities are endless and it's so easy to target a variety of goals with them.  I LOVE these two boom card decks for vocabulary.  I have iSpy and Winning Word for other months too so my kids are familiar with how to play. iSpy is great for pre-k-1st grade and Winning Word is perfect for 1st grade and up. 

In-person we usually play Winter Wonderland.  It's a mini-eraser game that makes planning for mixed groups super easy.  I print and laminate a bunch of gameboards (specifically the skills I know I need the most).  I give each student a gameboard that fits their goals and we play.  The first player to fill in one of their columns wins! With teletherapy, I can still play using a document camera but it's hard to differentiate thee gameboards.  We usually play with just one and assign columns to each of the kids. We still try to be the first player to fill up their column. 

I have a snowman 50 Trials printable for my older kids working on articulation....this probably would fit better with the snow theme but like I said I have a lot of snow materials so I may use this during the first few weeks. 

Books about mittens and crafts with mittens are great for the winter theme.  This month's dot art is a mitten, we usually read the book The Mitten, then complete the craft. These make mixed groups easy to plan,  a variety of articulation and language skills are included in the pack. Just print one page for each student that has their specific goal and get out the dot markers or crayons. 

When in-person I used to use these paper vocabulary cards.  When we go back face to face I am really hoping for SmartBoard so we can continue to use our boom cards but these are great if boom cards aren't your thing.  They are in my Winter No-Prep pack, as is the other following winter printables. 

These number puzzles are a hit with my children from the Autism classroom.  They work on requesting and taking turns to put them together. I intentionally gibe the wrong piece occasionally to ellict great spontaneous language/requesting.

I really miss playdough in teletherapy.  We've played a little bit during our cookie mini-theme but it just wasn't the same. These playdough mats are fun for a variety of skills in person. 

I rounded up a collection of wintery board or card games too.  As most SLPs know games are super motivating to my students.  Typically we take a turn practicing our goal and then playing the game.  Sometimes the game itself is practice for our goals. Games encourage spontaneous requesting, taking turns, joint attention, following directions, and a range of pragmatics skills. Of these games Yeti in My Spaghetti and Spot it Fire and Ice are my favorites.  I would not recommend Yeti, Set, Go!  While the kids enjoy it, it is a bit chaotic and hard to put togehter. 

Spot it Fire and Ice is a new to me game. Unfortunately, I don't think Target sells it anymore.  It has a timer with adds a new element to the game but I don't think I will use that much.  I love that the pictures are either things that are associated with being cold or hot.  It opens up good opportunities for categorization and describing as well as just playing the game. 

I created these seasonal sound search boom cards back in the spring to work on articulation skills and I am excited to play the winter version next week.  There are 25 phonemes included (pictures in the initial position only) and 10 hidden pictures per phoneme. 

Another fun language boom card deck is Build a Scene!  We played this back in November but skipped December so it will be fun to get it back out and use the winter scene.  With this activity we target giving effective directions, using prepositional words, describing actions, and telling a narrative.  The kids tell me how they want to build the scene using the pictures in the box to the right.  I drag them wherever they tell me to put them.  This works better virtually than it probably would face to face because the kids don't have control of the pieces, they have to use their words to create the scene. 

Last but not least I have a few handouts that I will be sending home (virtually) for extra home practice.  First, is my Winter Speech and Language Bucket List.  It has nine seasonal, everyday activities and then ideas for how to target a variety of speech and language skills for each activity. This has been a great alternative to the calendar which I will still send home for those who want them. 

Here is the January Speech and Language Calendar.  I have some families who really enjoy the calendar format.  I have a calendar for Articulation, Language, Communication, Pragmatics, and Fluency.  I send whichever specific calendar is needed for the student. The calendars are often similar each month (with some new seasonal activities mixed in) which helps with consistent practice. 

That's all for winter!  My yeti theme will be more of a mini-theme will some groups sticking to winter and then snow. I will probably share that on Instagram and then be back with a big post full of snow activities and ideas!

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