Speech Language Play

The Very Hungry Caterpillar (simple craft) April 26, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — speechlanguageplay @ 5:16 pm
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I have been seeing a million and one wonderful crafts, so why throw my recent adventure into the mix. I created this craft during a shared book reading task to give my children manipulatives to play with.



  • Green streamer (or green tissue paper cut into long strips)
  • Googly eyes
  • Brown Tissue to wrap the caterpillar (streamer) while it’s in the cocoon
  • Tissue paper of various colors (cut/ripped into random shapes) for butterfly wings
  • Construction paper butterfly (precut by therapist)
  1. First make the caterpillar by cutting a length of streamer (approximately 1 foot) and paste eyes onto it.
  2. Use the caterpillar throughout the book reading to eat all the foods in the book
  3. When the caterpillar gets larger in the book, have the kids wrap the caterpillar in brown tissue paper and put it to sleep in the cocoon.
  4. While “metamorphosis” occurs, decorate the wings of the butterfly with the tissue paper. You can have the kids follow a pattern of putting the tissue paper one (blue, red, green, blue, red, ____) and this task is also good for increasing fine motor control, as the kids have to take only one piece of tissue paper at a time, and sequence putting glue on the paper wings and then pasting the tissue paper down.
  5. Once the wings are complete the caterpillar is ready to come out of the cocoon and get to use his wings (paste the streamer onto the butterfly wings)
  6. TAH DAH!!!!
  7. Don’t forget to review the vocabulary related to butterflies, which will differ based on the age and target goals for each child.

Expressive/Receptive idea for a group activity April 18, 2012

In honor of the guest post that will be up on Speech Bop next week, I want to continue talking about a group therapy. My current graduate student and I have been working on perfecting a group activity for a mismatched group with very different goals.

In the group, we have 2 students: the first student has difficulty listening and attending, and the second has difficulty formulating sentences and with word finding.

This activity is simple to put together and helps both students target their goals while working together.

The basic premise is: every student gets the same coloring sheet, and each takes turns giving their peer a direction. The student who has difficulty formulating sentences/finding the correct words, has visual supports and a word bank of sorts, whereas the student who has difficulty attending to the directive needs to listen to the directive and ask for clarification from his peer.

By the end of the session, the students are taking turns, and I as a therapist can take a bit of time to write down session notes.

One difficulty that I have encountered: sometimes students don’t want to color their picture in the way they were directed to by a peer. A solution to this is that the students are making the pictures for each other, so “you have to tell your friend how you want your picture colored, and then you can trade pictures.”

I have created a couple of simple sheets that can be laminates and reused again and again.

This is the basic template: (click on the image to download it)


The color coded columns and blocks help kids put the pictures from the word bank to to corresponding spot in the sentence strip at the top. I would suggest color pictures be put into each column.

I put together a simple spring planting activity with the images put into it the sentence strip page. I copied the pictures from “speaking of speech” http://www.speakingofspeech.com/AugCom_Materials.html which has simple Boardmaker boards sorted by group/category that would cover most early education topics. I also added the corresponding coloring sheets that could be used. I suggest printing 2 copies, cutting out one of the pages into each individual icon, and using Velcro to make this sheet reusable.

Hope this has been helpful! Happy Spring!!! (Or Summer as it has been close to 80 degrees here in NYC the last few days).


The “U-Play mat” October 2, 2009

Filed under: Parent-Child Interaction — speechlanguageplay @ 9:14 pm
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U-play mat with picture cards inside

U-play mat with picture cards inside

The U-play mat is a “U” shaped mat with pockets that can be used for improving speech, language, and pragmatic skills.  It looks like a simple mat, but it is actually a great way to engage a child.  Moreover, it takes the child away from the television, and without having all the bells and whistles that many toys have nowadays.  Overall,  using the U-play mat is a very good way to increase attention during regular day-to-day play.  It is used on the floor and entails putting different picture cards into the pockets, while working on different skills during play with the child. The deck of cards that are used are colorful, appealing and look quite child-friendly.  Neverthless, I am sure that  you can use any deck of of picture cards (e.g., to work on a specific sound, to introduce the child’s favorite character (e.g., Dora, Elmo), etc.). The U-play mat website recommends that the child sits on the inside of the “U,” and that the parent/therapist/sibling sits just on the outside facing the child; however, for a fun twist, once a child can master a skill, depending on the child’s age and abilities, I would turn the tables and let the child be the “teacher.”  This mixes up the skills necessary for the activity and changes up the routine, thereby giving the child new experiences to help faciliatetheir cognitive development and growth.