How to use Poppers in Speech Language Therapy

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!

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