Monday, February 11, 2019

Winter Themed Speech Therapy Activities

Hi Friends!

January is such a fun month for theme-based therapy! Because I'm located in South GA, most of my students have never seen snow. Especially snow that sticks! I love using the month of January for a winter theme so they can learn about other parts of the world that have colder climates, animals that thrive in winter weather, and winter holidays. Using Winter themed speech therapy activities gives me a chance to teach them about meaningful vocabulary that they don't hear or come in contact with on a regular basis. While many of these students have never traveled out of our state, studying about other climates, cultures, and geographical locations allows them to realize that the world is a lot bigger than what they see in their hometown.

Below, I'll detail many of our winter themed speech therapy activities. Affiliate links are included.

We start the month of January learning all about winter weather, winter activities, snow, and how to build snowmen. On the first day I introduce a new theme, we spend a few minutes brainstorming vocabulary related to that theme. Later, we'll learn about the Arctic and Antarctic. We study the weather, the geographical location, and animals that live there. We compare and contrast the Arctic and Antarctic as well. I draw a simple map on the board to give them a visual perspective, and I reiterate over and over for several weeks that polar bears and penguins do not live together!

I love reading The Snowy Day, Just a Snowman, and The Biggest Snowman Ever to introduce my students to the different snow activities. I have a book companion for Just a Snowman available HERE. We use the Melting Snowman to practice snowman sequencing, and then the kiddos love watching the snowman melt before our eyes! Here's the affiliate link for the melting snowman!


I also found a pack of soft, fake snowballs a few years back, and they LOVE having a (safe) snowball fight in the therapy room!

I also found the snowman inflatable from the Target Dollar Spot this year, but similar items are available on Amazon. When the students answer a question or use their target sound correctly, they get to toss a snowball into the snowman's hole. Whoever has the most points at the end of the session wins!

Though we don't play games in therapy every day, we do bring out the board games for reinforcement from time to time. These are my favorites that go along with our winter theme!

This year, I also incorporated a Yeti Week into speech! I found this adorable book, Never Feed a Yeti Spaghetti, at the book fair and made a companion packet for it specifically geared towards my younger students (pre-k through 2nd grade). The students LOVED the interactive book and the Yeti board games that pair perfectly with it! You can find the companion HERE.

These are all excellent books for a Winter Theme! I love using both fiction and nonfiction texts in therapy for each theme!

While we talk about lots of different animals that live in the Arctic and Antarctic, we take a close look at penguins and polar bears.We spend several days talking about penguins and reading one of my favorite children's books, Pierre the Penguin by Jean Marzollo. You can read an entire blog post on Pierre the Penguin HERE. I found the inflatable penguin bowling set at the Target dollar spot, but you can also order a similar one from Amazon.

Pierre the Penguin is a fantastic non-fiction children's book about an African penguin named Pierre. He lives with 19 other African penguins in the California Academy of Sciences museum. Pierre loses his feathers and is too cold to swim. The aquatic biologist that cares for the penguins sets out to find a way for Pierre to get warm again. It is an amazing story about problem solving, kindness, perseverance, dedication, creativity, and love. I have two book companions available for Pierre the Penguin as well. One has color activities (with a few no-prep pages sprinkled in), and the second is completely no prep, so you just print and GO! You can find links to both below. When you're finished reading the book, the California Academy of Sciences museum has a live penguin camera in their penguin exhibit! You can pull it up in your classroom and watch the penguins eat, waddle, dive, and swim in the water!

Click HERE for the color Pierre the Penguin book companion. 

Jenn Alcorn from Crazy Speech World has a great penguin craft that works great with this book!  You can find it on Teachers Pay Teachers HERE

Click HERE for the No Prep Pierre the Penguin book companion.

After a week of learning all about penguins, we then spend time learning about polar bears! Another favorite nonfiction book is Knut: How One Little Polar Bear Captivated the World. It's an amazing book about an orphaned polar bear and his zookeeper who raised him from a little cub. The book encourages preservation of our polar bears and other Arctic animals and the importance of taking care of our environment to protect their habitat. The book companion is linked HERE. 

Darla from Ms. Gardenia's Speech Room has a great Feed-the-Polar-Bear activity HERE. My students were so motivated to practice their sounds on the fish and then feed them to the polar bear! 

We also use my Arctic & Antarctic No Prep Pack to practice our speech and language goals while continuing to learn about the Arctic and Antarctic. It's over 100 pages of no-prep activities for tons of speech and language goals. I use it with almost every student on my caseload from kindergarten to 5th grade! You can find it HERE.  I also have a Winter No Prep Speech and Language Unit available HERE.

Because vocabulary needs to be taught, re-taught, and taught again over and over as much as possible, I incorporate the themed vocabulary into as many activities as possible. This Arctic/Antarctic Vocabulary and Comprehension packet teaches themed vocabulary words and factual information about the animals of the Arctic and Antarctic. You can find it HERE.

These vocabulary pages are my FAVORITE! The students write the word, identify the parts of speech, synonyms and antonyms (when applicable), define it and draw it, and use it in a sentence. They have vocabulary books that we keep throughout the year with all of their themed vocabulary pages in them. At the end of the year, we can look back and review all of the vocabulary words we've learned throughout the year!

Finally, I use this Arctic Baby/Mommy Match-up FREEBIE as another way to work on vocabulary while also providing a game for reinforcement. You can find it HERE!

After our Arctic and Antarctic units, we do a week on Bears in general. We learn factual information about the types of bears, where they live, and how they are similar and different. One of my favorite fictional books to use during this week is Bear Snores On, by Karma Wilson. You can find the book companion HERE.  The students love learning about how bears sleep a lot in the winter (although it's not technically hibernation)!

During our Winter theme in January, we talk a lot about the season of Winter and the weather. Towards the end of January, we wrap up our Winter theme with Groundhog Day. It's the perfect transition to show how Winter is coming to a close, and Spring is on the way! I think it's really important for students to know why we celebrate certain holidays, so I often teach the history behind the holidays we celebrate. My History of Groundhog Day packet can be found HERE, and it teaches vocabulary and history while targeting comprehension, vocabulary, and more! Bingo boards are also included for vocab practice and reinforcement.

My student intern helped the students make an adorable groundhog craft too. It's a puppet, so the students enjoyed making them come in and out of their burrow!

Do you use a Winter Themed speech therapy activities in therapy? Are there any activities I missed? I'd love to hear!!


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