#1 Magic Wand!
No speech therapist should be without a magic wand! This immediately captures my preschoolers' attention as we review our daily schedule and rules. I use the wand to point to each visual, then push a button which makes it light up with a fun “whoosh!” sound. As the year progresses my students enjoy taking on the responsibility of being my “magic wand helper,” using it to review our daily activities (e.g. “First we will say hello” – whoosh!, “Then we will do sound cards” –whoosh! . . ). I target a ton of speech language objectives during this time including: increasing sentence length, sequencing, using the future tense, as well as articulation and fluency.
#2 Hand Stamps
What would I do without my hand stamps?? I picked these up at Lakeshore and always carry some with me at all times. Not only are hand stamps great for reinforcing positive behavior, but they can be also be used to encourage children to request, make a choice, increase sentence length, build vocabulary, improve articulation, and answer yes/no & where questions.
This is how we use them: I ask each child if they would like a stamp, then give them a choice (e.g. Do you want a butterfly or a ladybug?) encouraging them to respond with a sentence ("I want a ladybug"). After they have requested I ask where they'd like it and prompt them to respond with a sentence such as “on my hand.” Even my students with extremely limited language have picked up this simple phrase because we’ve made it part of our routine. Some of my older students have fun requesting the stamps be placed on their fingers, thumb, wrist, elbow, and shoulders, so there’s the added benefit of increasing vocabulary of body parts as well. I couldn't survive without at least one of these in my back pocket;)
The mini-boxes quickly became a favorite in my preschool speech sessions last year. These pill boxes can be picked up inexpensively up at any drug store (or check the dollar bin at Target!). I place a small piece of velcro on the top of each box to which I attach various small pictures. I generally choose pictures which correspond to the vocabulary of our current theme, but have some which target actions and specific phonologic processes. The mini-boxes may be used receptively (Find the tiger) or expressively (“I want to open the giraffe”). After selecting the box, my students then push the button to open the box, not only gaining practice using both these verbs, but building fine motor skills as well. The boxes are the perfect size to fit a goldfish cracker, cereal, popcorn, M&M, or small sticker.
This small file has been perfect for keeping all my icons organized:
I’ve used Boardmaker to create many of my pictures, but if you do not have access to this program at your school, I’ve created a collection of small pictures which are available for free in my store:
Any favorite tools that keep you and your students fired up? Love to hear from you!