easy ideas for speech language therapy in the schools

Can I make a confession?  I know I am an adult, but sometimes I get just as excited by a new therapy toy or activity as my students do!  :)

Today, I want to show you how I am using one of my new favorite therapy finds: toy poppers.  These are small plastic figures that "pop" out a small ball when you squeeze them.  They come in tons of different options - I went for the penguin, monkey, and dinosaur.  Each one was under $10 from Amazon.  These kept not only my kindergarteners amused, but also my fifth graders!

So how do I use them in therapy?

For articulation and phonology goals, I used them for target practice (in more ways than one!).  Each student got a chance to try to hit the target, and whatever number the ball was closest to was how many times the student had to say the word, phrase, or sentence.

I just quickly drew a target on my white board, and had the students back up a bit to take their turn.

For some students, getting to do this for every 2, 5, or 10 productions was too distracting, so during the session, we worked hard on our target words, then I allowed 2 minutes (or a certain number of tries) at the end of the session to use the popper.  If you want, you could turn it into a competition to see who could earn the most "points" - although I probably would move the higher numbers to the center, in that case.

I also used the poppers with some of my early communicators.  It's amazing how much language you can target with these!  For example, I held on to the popper, and had my students request "more," "again," "pop," "my turn," and "ball, please."  This would make a great activity for some of your AAC users!

I also love that these are small enough for a traveling SLP to easily transport - the ones I have are about 6 inches tall, and fit perfectly in a side pocket of my therapy bag.

What other ways can you think of to use these in therapy?  I would love to hear your ideas, too - leave a comment below!

I know many of you have told me that you struggle with finding age-appropriate materials for your middle school students.  I know, because I struggle with this too!   You can check out some great paid materials in the first part of my Middle School Materials Round Up here, and today, I am highlighting some of the best FREE materials on TeachersPayTeachers for middle school students.


My Personal Dictionary: An Expanding Vocabulary Activity by Natalie Snyders

Middle/High School Vocabulary Packet by Talkin' with Twang


Noun/Verb Agreement by Speech Time Fun


Winter Wonderland Activities:  Items in Categories - What Doesn't Belong? by Natalie Snyders

Steal Their Heart Language Challenge Game by The Dabbling Speechie

Language Loops: Antonyms by The Speech Bubble SLP

It's Raining Idioms by Natalie Snyders

Idiom Game Cards by Ashley Rossi

Figurative Language Top Hits Sample by SLPrunner

Punny Homophones by Panda Speech


Graphic Organizers

Sentence Frame Graphic Organizer by The Dabbling Speechie

Summarizing Graphic Organizer by Speech Time Fun


Print & Go: Later Developing Sounds Flashcards by The Dabbling Speechie

Articulation Postcards (SH) by Teach Speech 365

Articulation Sudoku by Talkin' with Twang

Would You Rather? Sampler for /ire/ by Word of Mouth

Social Skills

Social Response Organizer by The Speech Bubble SLP

Thank You Notes by Teach Speech 365

Enough is Enough: Determining How Much Information is Enough by Smartmouth SLP

Open Ended Games

Quick Open-Ended Dice Game by Natalie Snyders

Down the Field: Open-Ended Reinforcer by Jenna Rayburn

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