Are you looking for fun craft ideas to do with kids to help encourage repetition for speech therapy practice?
As many speech-language pathologists are resuming in-person services around the country, the current ongoing pandemic may leave you wondering how to keep things sanitary, especially if you will need to disinfect your workplace in between sessions. Minimizing the number of items you’ll need to clean can be a time saver, particularly when you also have to set up for the next session and keep track of goals and performance. Here are ten ideas to help!
No-Mess, Low Cost Single Use Crafts and Games
Crafts that don’t require sharing and reusing materials are great because kids can make them as reinforcement activities during the session, and then take them with them, if wanted, to go straight into their backpack!
Without a doubt, origami is a fun activity for kids with different folding abilities. You can do a slightly more advanced object, like a crane (still good for beginners!) or something simple like a star (see our post on a winter holiday themed craft for origami stars here). We loved this frog origami activity, as well as all of the game extensions discussed over at itsybitsyfun. The hit-the-target-with-the-frog activity is a great one for speech and could be easily adapted into group sessions, with kids maintaining social distancing while waiting for their turn to jump their frog on the target.
2. Rainbow Jellyfish
This super easy craft can be quickly prepped ahead of time and executed without any additional materials. Use two cupcake wrappers for each jellyfish. With a hold punch, punch a circle of holes around the top of one (tip: fold the wrapper in half to make it go faster, and layer upwrappers if you’re planning to make multiple jellyfish that day). Then, cut long pieces of colorful yarn. You can fit ten pieces per jellyfish easily with a standard sized hole punch hole. To avoid having kids needing to tie knots at the end, just make the pieces longer and have them thread each piece from the bottom up, over the top, and then back down through another hole. They can do multiple reps of their target for each piece, making this a great activity for high intensity drill work. Then, for a polished top, help them stick a second wrapper over top of the yarn using scotch tape that you’ve folded for them to be double sided.
3. Feed the paperbag monster
Who doesn’t love feeding practice cards to their adorable monster friend? Googly eyes with peel off sticky backs work great for some simple decorating on the fly, and you can precut holes for mouths. Check out our free resources page to get printouts that are easy to send home with kids after feeding to their monster, or keep a deck of printed flashcards for each child in a plastic baggy so you don’t have to think about wiping each down.
4. Paper airplane tournament
Another easy folding craft, paper airplanes are fun for kids of all ages. You can set up an obstacle course in your therapy setting, and have kids try to do cool tricks with their paper airplane after a set number of trials. Again, this is another good group activity that lets kids play the same game without needing to huddle over a shared object.
5. Tissue paper paperclip parachute flyer
Make a parachute game out of a tissue or paper napkin, four equally long pieces of yarn, and a paperclip. Poke holes in the four corners of the tissue, and tie a piece of yarn around each corner. Then tie all four loose ends to a big paperclip. To up the fun, you can add a printout of a favorite character, or help encourage kids to know what their speech targets are by writing their sound on a square of paper. Attach the character or sound reminder to the paperclip and reinforce a set number of trials with a toss of the parachute.
Single Use/Material Minimal Games
1. Flashcard Throw
Looking for a way to engage kids in an individual or group session? Set up a paper target at one end of the room and hand kids a flashcard printout, have them say the word five or ten times, then crumple it up and see who gets the closest after a certain number of tries. You can make rules like underhand throws only if you think it might get too rowdy. At the end of the game, all the materials get put aside to go in the recycling bin.
2. Simon Says
Simon Says is a great game to take a break after a few minutes of treatment activities, or can be used to target following directions!
3. 20 Questions
This language rich game is a great one to help work on vocabulary, attributes, question formulation, or focus on speech targets at higher levels of complexity. You can hold on to the deck of cards and show the child whose turn it is to answer questions the one on top.
4. Freeze Dance
You know this game, you play music and everyone dances, when it stops—freeze! The freeze time is a great chance to get more reps of speech practice in, and the therapist controls the time in between trials by controlling the music. In a group session, kids can be spaced apart around the room.
Do you love hiding flashcards but don’t love the idea of kids turning over every surface looking for objects? Instead of doing a traditional egg hunt style flashcard find, you can play Hot/Cold—when they’re moving away from the card, say “colder,” and when getting closer, say “hotter.” This keeps kids a bit more under your control during a game focused on finding, without limiting the fun!