Today’s topic is using what you have already for therapy. I’m going to start with why I think it’s important to be “thrifty” and use what you may consider “trash” or everyday items for therapy. First, if you’re anything like me, you can’t afford to buy all the newest games out there. You also can’t possibly buy absolutely everything on your TpT wishlist. Also, I hate throwing everything out. Why not be a little green and recycle what we have? Also, the kids LOVE it. Seriously, they run towards me when I come in with these activities. They love being creative.
So how did I get into this? Glad you asked. I have always been a big proponent for recycling. This semester, my clinical supervisor challenged us to be creative and inventive with our materials. She challenged us to NOT bring in games or anything along those lines. Instead, she encouraged us to start saving our trash. And I mean TRASH. Anything that you were about to throw out, you had to look at and decide, “Hmm could this be made into a therapy material or craft?” Let me tell you, our houses and apartments are now overflowing. It amazes me actually. Of course, you don’t just have to save trash. You can also use extra paper plates that are just sitting in your pantry. Or how about those beans that you bought to make chili but then never made it?
Here’s another thing to consider when you go to bring in your iPad (or other electronics) to certain environments. Some of these kids have never seen or heard of an iPad ever. Some of them will never be able to afford one, either! The last thing you want to do is make them feel inferior because of something like that! Besides, when you use things you have at home (e.g. toilet paper rolls), it is something they can do at home too! If we want carryover, this is the perfect way to do it!
Now for some ideas. I obviously cannot list all possible activities-the possibilities are seriously endless. Here’s a couple of things we have done. Please note that these activities were for preschool and whole-language groups.
1. Sink versus float. Take a small tub or Tupperware container. Fill it about halfway with water. Find objects around your house for your students to place in the container. They will determine if they sink or float and can mark it down on a chart. This is a great activity because it is so incredibly easy, focuses on school/curriculum concepts, and focuses on vocabulary that will be useful to them in the future!
2. Tambourines/other musical instruments. I’m sure a lot of you have done this yourself growing up. We took paper plates, folded them in half, filled them with beans, and stapled them shut. The students could decorate the outside. We then talked about music and rhythm. We will be making more musical instruments using boxes, plastic containers, and rubber bands.
3. Muffin tin activity. I posted about this activity on my blog, Home Sweet Speech Room, a few weeks ago. Check out the post here. We took muffin tins (or egg cartons) to target basic concepts such as letters, colors, and shapes. We put paper with different shapes in each cup in the muffin tin. Then, students threw a ball (gently!!) to see where it would land. They would then have to name whatever shape (or color, etc) that the ball landed on.
I love these activities because they give the students a chance to express themselves in a different way than maybe they’re used to. It allows them to create and be hands on. It’s not expensive, either!
Do you have any ideas? I would love to hear about them! Like I said, my supervisor is challenging us to be creative, so I need some ideas!