Taking Speech Language Therapy Outside

Is the weather ever so nice that you just want to take therapy outside for the day?  We don’t get those days too often in Illinois, and it doesn’t always work with what I need to target or get done in therapy, but here are some ideas I have used when I do!

Two of my favorite outdoor therapy items are sidewalk chalk and bubbles!

For sidewalk chalk, here are some ideas:

  • ARTICULATION: Draw pictures or write target words with your students’ articulation target sounds.
  • LANGUAGE: To target following directions, have your students draw what you direct.  (Ex: “First, draw a blue circle.  Then, draw a red star.”)
  • ARTICULATION/FLUENCY: You could create an obstacle course, with spots for the students to hop to, walk backwards on a line, balance on one foot, and spin around - but the catch is that they have to say their target words/phrase/sentence or answer a question correctly before they can go through to the next section of the obstacle course.  (Bonus: Have your students working on following directions set up the obstacle course for you by following your directions!)
  • LANGUAGE: For students working on describing or comparing/contrasting, have them draw items you direct (ex: animals).  Then, have them describe the items they drew, and compare and contrast them.  (You could do this outside, or after you come back inside.)
Want to take your speech-language therapy outside? Here are some easy ways to incorporate common goals with chalk and bubbles!

Here are some ideas for bubbles:

  • LANGUAGE: Bubbles are a great communication temptation for your younger students!  You can target basic phrases like, “More bubbles” and "Pop it,” as well as expanding those utterances for students working on increasing their MLU (“I want more bubbles,” or “Open it, please!”), and turn taking.
  • LANGUAGE: For your older students, bubbles are a great way to incorporate STEM into your therapy!  I like to pour bubbles in a shallow dish, and provide some different options for creating what I call “bubble wands.”  Some suggestions include cut up straws with string, mason jar lids, and pipe cleaners.  Before blowing bubbles, you can predict which wands will make the best or biggest bubbles, and after you are done, you can summarize what happened, compare and contrast the results of the different wands, and write about the experience.

  • LANGUAGE: You could target following directions by having students follow the directions to make their own bubble solution.
  • ARTICULATION: Bubbles are a simple, yet effective reinforcer for targeting both articulation and phonology.  Have your students say their target words/phrase/sentence correctly a set number of times before being allowed to blow a bubble.  Or, have them say their targets a large number of times quickly (50-150), and then they can pop all the bubbles they can catch in one minute as a reward.

What are some more ideas you have for using chalk or bubbles in therapy?  Share in a comment below!

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