Younger children (think preschool through 2nd or 3rd grade) love speech therapy crafts! After all, hands-on activities are super engaging for wiggly young learners. For my older students, I definitely believe in focused and targeted practice, then generalizing to classroom materials. But younger kids learn through play – play is school for them!
If you’re looking for some super simple craft ideas, make sure to check out my products:
- Speech and Language Therapy Lesson Plans for Back to School & Fall
- Spring Speech Therapy Lesson Plans – Crafts, Play-Based Activities, & Literacy
- Speech and Language Therapy Lesson Plans for Winter – Best for Preschool to 2nd
Read on for more about how I use crafts and all the GOALS I can target in one little craft activity (Hint: Just about all of them!)
Why I include crafts in my activities for speech therapy
I admit, we don’t want to waste our time cutting and gluing elaborate projects when we need to be maximizing speech output.
But, we shouldn’t just be drilling our younger kids either. We need to make it fun so a) they will attend, have a good time, and come running for more, and b) because younger children learn through play. Flash cards, memorization and drill make you really good at….flash cards and drill. Not so good at communication in the natural environment.
Plus, a craft ends up being a take home activity. And guess what happens when mom or dad sees the craft and asks about it? That’s right – more speech therapy practice! Win!
And, side note, if your group is really little and struggles with some of the fine-motor skills, you can do a little pre-cutting or prepping to get the activity ready. Then you can move fast during your session!
Keeping speech crafts affordable
I know we spend a lot of money on our jobs. That’s why the crafts I created use readily-available materials, maybe even freely available in your supply closet at school if you’re lucky enough to have one!
My crafts use materials like: glue, paper plates, scissors, string, construction paper, tape, markers, crayons, colored pencils, toilet paper rolls, and colored paint.
Make it therapy with crafts
We always have to remember that speech therapy is therapy. We don’t want to get too bogged down in cuteness that we forget to make our sessions therapeutic!
The good news is, there really are so many goals you can target when working on any craft!
My secret for effectively using speech therapy crafts are my mini language cards! I use these to make sure I get in the targets I need while working on crafts. Basically I have pictures of lots of language targets, like objects for functions or describing, or action pictures for verbs. My mini cards are available in my Speech and Language Therapy Lower Level Lesson Plans for the Entire School Year bundle, or in each fall, winter, and spring product.
Speech Craft Goals:
- Sequencing: Put cards with craft directions (pictures or written) in order. Retell how you made the entire craft!
- Describing: Describe pictures on mini cards as you glue them onto the craft. Describe the craft you are making.
- Basic concepts: Give verbal directions containing basic concepts. Have the child identify which card to glue on next by providing a basic concept (e.g. colorful)
- Verbs: Describe what you are doing as you make the craft. Change up the tense!
- Prepositions: Describe where you glue on the cards.
- Categories: Name the category for each mini card, craft supply, or finished product!
- Comparing and Contrasting: Name one thing that is similar of different for each mini card compared to the previous card. Compare and contrast the crafts made.
- Object Functions: Name functions for the mini cards you glue on. Name functions for the craft tools you use or the item you make.
- Plurals: Print duplicates of the mini cards and practice plurals you glue them on. Name the supplies you use (e.g. crayons)
- MLU: Provide a sentence strip or repetitive phrase to use throughout an entire craft. Describe the color of the cards or craft (blue hat)
- Antonyms and Synonyms: Match up antonyms and synonyms and glue on the craft together. Name antonyms while make the craft (on/off)
- WH Questions: Ask WH questions and have the children answer by choosing the correct card and gluing it on. Answer WH questions about the completed craft.
- AAC Core Words: Use core words while you make the craft: put, on, want, big, not, colors, next, different, I, more, where, need, make, this/that, finished, here, over.
How else do you use crafts in speech therapy?
Following directions with a craft
Some therapy targets just naturally lend themselves to working with crafts.
Following directions is an obvious one. If you have a student working on following directions, give them one piece at a time and use prepositions to explain how to complete it.
Requesting is another natural target. My favorite is when you have one student working on requesting with another student who has already mastered it. When one kid sees the other get something, they will probably want it too!
Just do be sure to honor all communication if you are working with autistic students: gestures, pointing, speaking, and AAC are all valid methods of communication!
Articulation speech therapy craft
And don’t think that crafts are just for language goals! You can use crafts to hit articulation targets too. In fact, I include Crafts as a station in my Speech Therapy Centers for Articulation product.
I like to use my Mini Articulation Cards for Speech Therapy to cut and glue into just about any shape. You’ll want them printed on a variety of colors of construction paper, as well as white.
I like to use articulation crafts in mixed groups (everyone can work on a craft and still target their goals!). Or I might use the crafts so the kids who aren’t actively practicing their sounds with me have something to keep them busy.
What do you think? Do you like to use speech therapy crafts? How do you make it successful in your sessions?