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Speech and Language Activities for the 5 Senses and Body Parts

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Originally I published this entry in 2015,  but I just updated it today with some more ideas.  Here is an assortment of body part and senses activities that can be done in small groups, large groups, or individually. Some are even fun for parents to do at home. My daughter and I love playing with flashlights.

  • Present various objects to the circle group such as a chocolate bar, perfume, bell, picture. Ask the children, “What part of the body would you use to learn more about ____.”  Have the children answer using a body part and a sense. For example, “I would use my ears to hear the bell.” “I would use my nose to smell the perfume.”  More support can be provided by giving choices, “Would you use your ears or nose to hear a bell?”
  • Make a taste mind map – for example write the word “sweet” on large paper with a circle around it. Children brain storm foods they can think of that is sweet. Write each word as an arm on the larger circle.
  • Give the child about 10 stickers. Let him put the stickers on various parts of his body. Have him tell you where each sticker is. “I put a sticker on my arm” Or “There is a sticker on my arm.”  You could work on future tense and have them tell you where they want to put a sticker before you give it to them.  Or make it a following directions task. Tell the child where to put each sticker. “Put a sticker on your ear.”  “Put a sticker on the body part you hear with.”
  • Try balancing a bean bag or ball on various body parts. Have the child say where the ball or bean bag is, “The bean bag is on my foot.”  When the bean bag falls off, model the use of the irregular past tense. “It fell off your foot.”
  • If you have a hula hoop, tell the child with body part to put in the hoop. Model, “My foot is in the hoop.” “My knee is in the hoop.”
  • Put familiar items from around the school in a pillow case or other large bag. Tell the children you are going to play a guessing game. Don’t let them peak as they put their hand in the bag. Have them take turns picking one item at a time and guess what they are touching. Talk about how they knew what they were touching. For example, “You knew it was a tooth brush because it has a hard handle and soft bristles.”
  • Pretend you are going somewhere, or before you actually go somewhere, talk about what you think you will see, hear, smell, taste, or touch.
  • Turn off the lights in one room of your house.  Give your child a flashlight and let them shine it around the room. Talk about the items he found. Take turns using the flashlight and finding items to work on turn taking in conversations. Take turns asking one another, “What do you see?” or “Can you find the _____?”  For memory work talk about the things you found.  Model sentence forms such as “I see a ____. You can expand sentence length by adding a preposition or an adjective. For example, if the child says “I see a lamp.” Expand with something like, “I see a lamp on the table.” Or “I see a yellow lamp on the table.”
  • Practice asking silly questions like: Do you smell or hear a flower? Can you taste or hear pizza? Can you hear or smell a bee? Can you feel or taste fur? Can you see or smell a bike?
  • Make binoculars or telescopes with toilet paper tubes or paper towel tubes. Take a walk and talk about what the child sees through the tube. Model sentences as needed. Later talk about where you went and what you saw to encourage past tense forms.
  • Play some music and dance, then talk about the body parts everyone used and how they used them. This can be an opportunity to model various verbs and compound sentences. “We shook our arms and we kicked our legs” “We wiggled our fingers and we nodded our heads”
  • Talk about synonyms – another word for loud is noisy, another word for quiet is soft, another word for a smell is scent, etc.
  • Ask thinking questions that prompt conversation at snack time like, “Did you ever taste a food you thought you would not like, but then you did like it?”
  • Practice using third person -s with sentences like “A _____tastes ____” “A _____ feels _____” “A _____ smells _____”
  • Round up an assortment of noisemakers. Show the children each one and let them hear each noise. Talk about how each one sounds different. They can have turns using each one and describing the noise. You can then play a barrier memory game. Put the noisemakers behind a barrier. Play one noisemaker at a time and have the children take turns saying which one they think they heard: “I heard the ______” To increase the difficulty, you can increase the number of objects you play and then children must say the order in which they heard each object: “First I heard the bell, then I heard the shaker.” You can also remove the barrier and then ask each child to play the noisemakers in the order that you say: “First shake the egg, then ring the bell, last tap the drum.” You can increase the difficulty depending on each child. Once they know how to play the games, the children can take turns playing the noisemakers for one another behind the barrier and asking questions “What object did you hear?” And also take turns giving each other directions to play the noisemakers in the order they say.

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What Game Shall We Play by Pat Hutchins – model lesson structure

Thank you to those of you who viewed my SLP Summit presentation. I had fun putting it together and I appreciate all your questions and comments. You can also see me in person at the ASHA convention, I do love meeting new people. If I did not answer your question, please feel free to email me at Bitetti@lasalle.edu.

I did not have time in my presentation to present on the example lesson structure I put on the slides, so I have written it here. This is a lesson I did with a kindergarten class of around 10 students, though I am sure it can be adapted for various ages and ability levels. In the fall the class learned about owls, their environment, what they eat, etc. So, to go along with the theme, I did some owl related activities and books.

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In the book “What Game Shall We Play,” a duck and a frog start the story not knowing what to play. They find animals around the forest and ask them, “What game shall we play?” So, it is a repeated text. Each animal they encounter says they don’t know and to ask another animal. Each animal is found in a specific location, but there is an owl following them the whole time. In the end, they ask the owl what to play, and the owl suggests they all play hide and seek together. Within the book, you get that question form repeated several times, can practice make predictions about which animal will come next (because the children have previewed the animals on the cover), and where each animal will be found. The story also can be used to teach and reinforce story grammar concepts such as characters, setting, problem (initiating event), plan to solve the problem, attempts, solution, and conclusion.

Transition into Session
“We are flying” – Depending on the theme and children’s goals, you can have several transitions into the session. For this example, I picked having the children pretend to fly into the room like owls to go with the owl unit. For example, you can ask the children, “How do owls move?” “Owls fly!” Tell them: “You can fly into the room like owls!” Model: “We are flying, we are flying, yes we are, yes we are (repeat)” To the tune of Frere Jacques. It helps to teach the movement song over a few lessons so the children are familiar with it and can eventually move independently as a class using different actions. When the children have entered the room, and are seated, model irregular past tense: “You all flew into the room like owls! What did you do?” “We flew!”

Another possible transition is to preview the book cover with the children before they enter the room and have them say one animal they see on the cover to enter the room or move to their seat. “I see a ______”

Greeting
For this example, I picked a simple call and response greeting: “Good afternoon class, good afternoon Miss Dana!”

Expectations
I began by telling the children that today we are going to read a book called, “What game Shall We Play” and showed the cover. I said, “It’s about some animals who have a problem. They don’t know what game to play.” You can ask the children if they have ever had a similar problem. Are they ever unsure of what to play? How do they solve that problem? etc. I also told them about the author. It was written and illustrated by Pat Hutchins. We read a few of her other books already, so I remind them she also wrote Rosie’s Walk and Don’t Forget the Bacon. We talked about the animals we saw on the cover and identified them as the characters. Before you begin, you can take the opportunity to reinforce whatever the expectations are for sitting and listening to a story in your specific setting.

Main Activity
Then I read the story and asked children to make predictions about where each animal will be found (each location is pictured on each page). For example, “Where do you think they will find the mouse?” The owl is following the animals the whole time and usually one child notices that. Once the animals decide to ask the owl, “What game shall we play?” you can have the children each predict what game the owl might suggest. Because we identified the problem earlier, at the end we talked about how the animals solved the problem. For me, it was always helpful to incorporate into my plan what I was going to discuss and ask as I read the story.

Possible Related Activities – I have briefly summarized the activities here with some possible language targets. Many of these can be adapted to meet your needs and session time.

  •  Recreate story sequence with magnets on board: As a class, we recreated the story using magnetic animal and location pictures. You can have the children re-sequence the story. Which animal did the frog and the duck ask first? Second, etc. You can give each child a magnet to place on the board in the correct location and practice describing where each animal hid using irregular past tense and prepositions. “The duck and the frog hid in the pond” “The rabbit hid in her hole.”
  • Each child makes their own picture scene: After making the magnet scene, I also had each child make their own picture similar to the one pictured below, but without color.  The children glue the animals in the correct location on the picture sheet.  You can do the picture scene activity all together as a group and have children respond in unison to get multiple repetitions or you can let the children color the pictures while you and other staff rotate through to help each child individually.  (Some animal pictures were printed from do2learn.com picture program View2do. I am not affiliated with the company, just like the program).  After being at the circle time area for the book, to make their pictures, I had them transition to tables to work. To transition to table, possible transitions:
    • What is your favorite game? My favorite game is…
    • What was your favorite animal in the story? “My favorite animal was…”
    • Follow directions to take on thing on the board, “Clean up a green animal that hops” “I cleaned up the….”

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  • Acting out the story: Depending on how many children you have in the group, you can have one child be each animal. I made each area of the classroom one of the locations – tree, pond, grass, wall, rabbit hole, etc. Acting out the story gets the children up and moving. Like the above activities, they can also practice remembering the sequence of the story, practice asking questions “What game shall we play?” and practice responding, “I don’t know, let’s go and ask…..” After acting out the story, you can practice using past tense forms to talk about who each child was and what they did. “I was the rabbit and I hid in my rabbit hole”
  • Hide stuffed animals in the room: One of my favorite activities is to hide things around the room. I was lucky to work in a school with a variety of stuffed animals! I hid stuffed animals like the book characters around the room: stuffed frog, owl, rabbit, fox, duck, mouse, squirrel.  I told the children that some animals were hiding in the classroom and we have to find them.  If it’s a small group, you can have all children look for an animal at the same time. Once they find an animal, have them come back to the circle and take turns asking each other, “Where did you find the ____” “I found it under the ____” Again, another opportunity to practice asking questions, answering using irregular past tense, using prepositions.
    You could also give each child clues one at a time to find each animal: “The owl is hiding in something we build with” So the child might have to go to the block area to find the owl. Depending on ability level, you can have one child hide an animal and then give another child clues, so one child practices describing and the other child has to listen and follow their directions. Once the animal is found, the child who hid the animal could practice saying “I hid the frog in the ___.” The child who found the animal says where it was. If it’s a large group, to keep everyone engaged, you can have all children ask in unison “Where was the _____?”
  • Beginning, middle, end page: If you have smaller groups, another activity could be sequencing the story and teaching the concepts of beginning, middle, end of the story.  Even though the book is repetitive, I think it lends itself nicely to that structure.  How you structure this activity can vary depending on the needs of the individuals. Some children may be able to practice making summary statements that you write in for them, whereas others children may need to practice sequencing the pictures you give them and matching the picture to the words.  You can have the children practice retelling the story to one another and check each others work.

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Wrap Up
For the wrap up, each child could bring their picture scene to the circle and compare. Discuss how we all made a picture and that the pictures all look similar because all the animals are in the right spots. I like to take the wrap up time to give reinforcement of what was done well. You can have children the complement each other’s pictures. “Tell a friend one thing you like about their picture.” “I like….” You can have them compare pictures – Find one thing that is the same and one thing that is different.

Transition out – hand me your picture for your folder and tell me one thing about it.

 

I know I do not have a lot of book activities up right now on the site. I hope to change that and make more of these activities available as well as updating the site more often.  I hope to also get some first weeks of school activities up as well.  There are some in an older post that is searchable.

Irregular Past Tense Action Poem

Here is a silly little poem I wrote to help children practice some irregular past tense verbs. It’s fun for younger children and gets them moving, but ends with them sitting on the floor, ready to focus on something else. It helps to break it down and teach it over a few days.  I liked to do it as a call and response type of activity.  I would say the first part of each line, then children would complete the action, then say the second part of each line. I often had pictures out to help children remember the actions and order.      IMG_5647

Say hello.  We said hello

Bend down low. We bent down low.

Hold your nose.  We held our nose.

Strike a pose. We struck a pose.

Make a funny face. We made funny face.

Run in place.  We ran in place.

Stand up tall.  We stood up tall.

Shake your head.  We shook our head.

Sleep in a bed. We slept in a bed.

Give a hug.  We gave a hug.

Drink from a mug. We drank from a mug.

Catch a fish. We caught a fish.

Make a wish. We made a wish.

Shut the door. We shut the door.

Sit on the floor. We sat on the floor.

 

Group Language Activities for Community Helpers/Jobs/Occupations

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  • Put a stack of community helper pictures face down in a pile.  Each child comes up picks and acts out 1 picture. Other children try to guess what job they are doing or who they are. The other children should use correct form of question. “Are you a ____?” The child who is the actor should use a full sentence to say “Yes, I am a ____.” or “No, I’m not a ____.”
  • Make a pile of community helper pictures and another pile of tools/objects that each worker might need to do their job. Tell the children that you have some pictures of people that have jobs in our community. Give the children clues to guess each picture. For example, “The next person uses a hose, has a red hat, and puts out fires.” Then reveal the picture when the children guess it correctly. Put each picture card on display as they are guessed. Then point to each picture and have the children clap out and say the job name.  Then show the objects one and a time. Tell the children that each person needs something special to do their job. Have the children take turns placing the objects with the correct worker.  They should practice using a full sentence such as “A firefighter uses a hose.” “A mail carrier uses a mailbag.”  If your students are more advanced you can ask them why the person might need each object or what they use the object for. “The firefighter uses the hose to spray water on the fire.”
  • Make inferences – state a situation and ask the children to think of who they might need to help them in each situation. For example, “If you were sick who would you call?” “If you needed a package delivered, who could help you?” “If you needed to order a bouquet of flowers”
  • Show a picture of a community helper or say the name of one. Each child in a small group has to come up with one association. For example, you say “mail carrier.”  Point to each child and have them quickly name 1 thing. “mailbag, mail truck, mail box, letter.” This works best with a small 3-4 sized group. Any bigger and you get repeats or there just aren’t enough tools/objects to be associated with the job.
  • After a completing a community helpers activity, talk to the children about what job they might want to do when they are adults.  Practice using the future tense, “I will be a ____.”  Have the children think of a reason why they want to do each job.
  • Each year one of my classes took a field trip to the local post office. When we came back to school, we would pretend that our classroom was a post office. First we would brainstorm things that we would need to have our own post office.  I had lots of materials ready to pull out as they named things they saw at the post office such as envelopes, cards, boxes, blue bags, old stamps, stamp pads, boxes, scale, play money, cash register, label stickers, etc.  Each member of the class had a job like we saw at the post office. Sorting, selling stamps, weighing mail, delivering mail, etc. The other children were customers. After 10 minutes or so the children enjoyed switching jobs.  HI encouraged them to use the vocabulary they learned on the trip such as: office, stamps, postcard, address, deliver, sorting, parcel, clerk. Encourage the postal workers to use language such as “Can I help you?” “This letter is going to ___.” “How many stamps do you need.”  Encourage the customers also. “I need to mail 3 letters.” “How much does my package weigh?”   The children loved this activity. When we were finished, I would have each child tell me a short story about their job in the classroom post office. I would write it for them and they would draw a picture of what they did.

Post-It Note Flag Fun

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Every once in a while I take a break from speech-language pathology posts and post about an activity or an idea that worked for keeping my toddler entertained on rainy or cold days.  Post-It notes/Sticky Note flags are one of those things that are so simple but keep my toddler entertained for a lot longer than I ever expected.  I really don’t use for myself but I have a ton in my house. I pick them up at conventions and such just for the purpose of entertaining my toddler.

We use them to talk about colors. We match the colors of the sticky notes to stuff in the house.

She likes using them to make rainbows on paper.

As pictured, we are using them to give her a manicure. It is even more fun to pick them off.

She loves rubber duckies – in the picture she has used the sticky note flags to make duck clothes and jewelry

She also loves all birds, so she likes to use the flags to make bird feathers on bird coloring pages. They are a fun, non-messy, way to add colors to a picture.

We even like them just to make collages like the one pictured below.

They are great for travel and entertainment in restaurants.

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Spring and Pond Activities

  • Spring is a time when there is a lot of talk about growth – plants grow, flowers bloom, baby animals are born.  You can talk about what grows and what does not grow with your children. Talk about how things grow and what each item might need to grow. For example – plants need sun, water, soil. Pets need water, food, plenty of exercise. Maybe things you talk about grow, but they grow in different ways. For example, a balloon grows in size when you put air into it. Instead of growing, some things actually get smaller as you use them like a candle or a pencil.
  • Bring in a few flowers. Have the children practice naming items that are bigger than a flower and things that are smaller than a flower. Or do things that are taller than a flower and things that are shorter than a flower.
  • Do a spring same/different activity.  Say 1 thing that is the same and 1 thing that is different about: bunny/chick, hat/short sleeve shirt, flower/grass, baseball/soccer, ice cream/popsicle, ant/bumble bee
  • For Earth Day – talk about what can be recycled and what can be re-used. How can the objects be re-used? Example objects are pictured below.

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  • Pretend you are going on a picnic. The children can only pick things to put in the picnic basket that being with a certain sound.  Start with /p/ for picnic and change the sound with each round.
  • Spring Up! – When you hold up a picture of spring, the children “spring up” and switch places. Before you play discuss that the word “spring” has two meanings. Also discuss what the pictures might look like before you play. You can also do this with phrases.  The children can “spring up” when they hear a phrase that has to do with spring.  For example: daffodils in gardens, leaves falling, Halloween costumes, bunnies hopping, building snowmen, planting flowers, birds chirping, swimming in a pool, playing at the beach, Christmas presents, flying kites, green grass, icicles forming.
  • Have all children stand in a circle for this phonemic awareness activity. The middle is the pond. Tell them you are going to say some words.  “If you hear a word that begins with the same sound as frog – jump into the pond.” Change up the sounds and the animals for each round.  “If you hear a word that begins with the same sound as turtle – walk slowly into the pond.” “If you heard a word that begins with the same sound as duck – fly or waddle into the pond.”  You can also reverse it. Have all the children get into the “pond.” If they hear a word that begins with the target sound they stay in, if they hear a word that does not begin with the target sound, they jump/fly/walk out.
  • Similar to the butterfly/caterpillar phonemic awareness games listed here – sort words that begin with /f/ like frog or /t/ like turtle.  Sort words that have 1 syllable like frog and 2 syllables like turtle.  Click the link to get more specific directions.
  • If you are allowed, take the children outside to look for signs of spring. Have the children practice saying what they saw using full sentences. “I saw a _____” or “I found a _____.”  Also have them practice expanding the sentence by saying where they saw or found each item.  For example, “I saw a bunny in the grass.” “I found a bug on a leaf.”  An example sheet is pictured below.

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  • A picture of a pond is a great way to work on using sentences with prepositions. Find a pond picture and pictures of pond animals, flowers, rocks, and other things you might see near a pond. Have the children place the animals on the picture and tell you where they placed them using a full sentence, “The duck is in the pond.” “The duck is flying over the pond.” “There are rocks around the pond.” etc.
  • You can also use the picture to complete a following directions activity with the children.  Give each child a picture of a pond and have them either draw or glue on the items as you give directions. For example, “Draw a green lily pad in the pond.” “Draw 5 rocks around the pond.”  Before beginning, I like to make sure the children all know the vocabulary used in the directions.
  • Do an elision task similar to this snow one but use sun words instead.  Sunglasses, sunscreen, sunny, sunshine, sunhat, sunlight, sunrise, sunburn, Sunday, sunset, sundown.  Click the link for directions.

More Speech and Language Activities for Dr. Seuss/March/Read Across America

photoSorry it is probably too late to use most of these but I wanted to add some additional activities that go along with Dr. Seuss books.  These can be done with both small and large groups. Some could be done in individual therapy as well.

Green Eggs and Ham – This is a good extension of the book that helps children expand and use complete sentences. Place 2 piles of category cards on the table. One pile for colors and one pile for food.  Have the students take turns picking a card from each pile. Have them name each color and each food. Ask the child “Would you eat (color) (food)?” For example – “Would you eat purple corn on the cob?” or “Would you eat a blue banana?”  Have the child answer in a complete sentence: “Yes, I would eat a blue banana.” or “No, I would not eat a blue banana.” For more advanced children, you can have 3 piles, the third containing locations. So the child has to say if they would or would not eat the food in the location they picked.  For example, “I would not eat a blue banana on a chair.”  After they play the game once with you, the children can take turns asking each other, “Would you eat _____.”

Wacky Wednesday – Teachers might be reading this book but children with language issues may not know what wacky means or they may have trouble explaining why the scenes are wacky.  Explain that “wacky” means silly. Tell the children that you have pictures of thing that are wacky like in the book “Wacky Wednesday.”  This is a good time to use all those “What’s Silly” picture cards. Have the children take turns picking on picture and practice saying why it is silly. Have the child show the picture card to the group and ask if there is anything else that is silly in the picture.

Cat in the Hat – Talk about different kinds of hats. Bring in a lot of different hats or have picture of them. Talk about different times you wear hats and have the children volunteer times they where hats. Talk about jobs that require hats. Have each child pick two hats – have them say one thing that is the same and one thing that is different about the two hats. Sort that hats with the children. Make piles for hats for warm weather, hats for cold weather, hat for jobs, hats for costumes, silly hats, men’s hats, lady’s hats, children’s hats, etc.  Play a blending words game with all “-at” words like the ones pictured above.  Finally, to leave or to get up to play, have the children tell you a word that rhymes with “hat.”

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