Cindy L. Meester's Blog- Speech Therapy with a Twist

Gnomes, Fairies and Goblins… oh my!…Part 1

Posted in Uncategorized by Cindy on July 7, 2011

When I am shopping online, in stores, garage sales, thrift shops, my kids’ closets, etc. I am always looking with my therapy eyes. “Can I use this in speech therapy sessions?” “How can I use this in therapy?” My mind was busy thinking of ways to merge fairy doors and gnomes I found during online clicking (who knows half the time how I get where I get). The items were so cute I just couldn’t resist so I needed a good excuse reason to buy them.

In this post will address Gnomes and how I plan to use them in therapy.

First a bit about the Gnomes:
Gniffer's Gnomes are created by Jennifer in Boulder,CO. I found them on Facebook and entered a Gnome giveaway and lucky me my idea of a Crab Apple Gnome was picked. And so it began!

So now a little information about Jennifer and her Gnomes.
1. My friends nick-named me Niffer. I call myself Niffer and the things that make me most happy have become perfect Niffer things. My husband is a perfect Niffer boy. Picnics are perfect Niffer adventures. My daughters are Niffer 2.0. So when I started making gnomes because they made me so happy, it just seemed to make sense to call them Gniffer Gnomes.

2. I started making these in January 2011. How did I get started? The truth is that I bought a couple of gnomes I loved on Etsy. I asked the seller if she took custom orders but she did not. I sent her lots of ideas for gnomes I’d love to buy for my friends and family but she did not make them. So I figured that if she wouldn’t give me what I want, I would go out and learn how to do it myself. I believe my gnomes are different from hers because I try to make most of them with a specific person in mind. If I were to turn that person into a gnome, what would she be like? Each of my gnomes comes with a special story too. I think it’s a great way to tell a loved one what you appreciate about them. I started making them for all my friends and family and when I ran out of friends to give them to, I started selling them.

3. Is this my full-time job? Ha! I wish! No… actually, I’m an electrical engineer. I got both my bachelors and masters degrees in engineering and am currently working for a company that makes medical products to help surgeons in the operating room. I have also worked on amazing projects like a prosthetic limb that looks and acts like a real arm! The patient just thinks “I need to move my thumb” and BAM! His thumb moves! Impressive! I have always valued education and love that I can work in a field that literally changes the world. I help people through the products I’m involved in and that’s very rewarding. A side bonus is that I make enough money to be able to afford to do the things I love to do… like gnoming. So, no it’s not my full-time job. Aside from my “real” job, I have two young children to play with so I really only get to work on my gnomes a couple of hours a day, if that.

4. I’m located in beautiful Boulder Colorado. I love it here! The sunny days can’t be beat and I love that it’s not humid. The mountains are gorgeous and there are hot air balloons that lift off from my neighborhood almost daily.

5. What should you know about gnomes? Hehehe… That’s a good question. I see gnomes being simple creatures. Simple in the sense that they know one thing for sure: Life is good. Whatever makes them happy is a good thing. They can appreciate the simple things in life-like dew drops on a leaf looking like diamonds and the smell of dirt after a good rainfall. They love to do little things to just make their loved ones smile. I think they might have even invented the idea of “simple acts of kindness.” They also love to bring smiles to someone’s face while remaining anonymous. Those are the fun ones.

6. Anything else I want to share with the readers? Yeah… I’m always looking for new ideas. Please feel free to give me suggestions regardless of whether or not you want me to make a gnome for you. Since I’m not in it for the money, I try to do everything I can to make sure I continue to enjoy making gnomes for the world. It is important for me to make many gnomes for free just to make other people smile. It makes me happy. But I guess the point is that I am always open to suggestions! Gniffers Gnomes Blog

Jennifer writes wonderful stories that come with each Gnome. Below are the stories for the two Gnomes I received.

CRAB APPLE: Oh wormy apples! This sour little fella seems to be as crabby as can be! Why, I am not sure. Perhaps he did not get enough snooze time? Maybe he just needs to fill his tummy with more berries? Or perhaps he’s just tired of tripping over his feet! They are gnomatic, aren’t they? Whatever the reason may be, this crab apple needs your help and quick! What can you do to cheer him up? Sing a happy song? Tell him a gnometastic joke? Give both him and his pet worm a tasty treat? Compliment him on his nose? Do something nice for him like help tie his shoes? Think fast! The quicker we can lift his spirits, the faster the garden will return to a sunny cheerful place!

LOUD MOUTH: It’s not uncommon for most gnomes to assume that being a Loud Mouth is not a good trait. After all, when somegnome gets interrupted during a fun spirited chatty conversation, or woken from a late afternoon nap on a sunny rock, there is almost always a Loud Mouth to blame. And no gnome likes it when another speaks so loud they can not hear their own thoughts. However, this cutie is a well-known Loud Mouth, but for all the right reasons. She knows there are times when somegnome needs to speak-up, like when you know the right (or even wrong) answer to a question, or when you’re encouraging another gnome to be as tall as he can be, or when you’re singing a joyous song as you frolic through the woods. Before she speaks, she wonders if her thought is something that should stay inside her thinking bubble, and if not… then how loud (or quietly as the case may be) should she share it? Go ahead, be the best and loudest mouth you can be, but remember that your actions will ALWAYS be louder than your words.

Gnomes in speech therapy ideas:
Now since it is summer vacation I am brainstorming and hunting for ideas to use in therapy. Here are a few I have thought of so far.
1. Review my two Gnome stories with the kids. Targeted skills: vocabulary and prior knowledge
2. Discuss the attributes and personality for each Gnome. Targeted skills: adjectives, emotions, compare/contrast
3. Advice for the Gnomes- How can we help Crab Apple be less crabby? How can we help Loud Mouth know when to use her thinking bubble and when to speak up? I think I’ll have the kids write notes, draw pictures, record advice and use The Incredible 5-Point Scale.
4. Create a Gnome home. I’m looking at using items from nature pine cones, bark, leaves, acorns, sticks, etc. and glue these onto small boxes. Targeted skills: sequencing, turn taking, problem-solving
6. Gnome books here are some I found listed on Amazon. Gnome Books
7. Gnome Coloring Pages More coloring pages
8. Gnome Game on-line
9. Apps- Gnome Stack- free; Gnome with me- free; Gnonstop Gnomes- free; Find the Gnome- 1.99; GnomeIt! – free; Touch\'n Learn with Garden Gnome; Tontii HD-Book
10. Gnome story
11. Gnomeo and Juliet
12. Gnome Information
13. Make a Rock Gnome
14. More ideas to create a Gnome and more
15. Make a Stick Gnome
16. Gnome, Elf or Goblin?

I’m sure I’ll find other ideas as I work with the kids. That’s gnall for gnow!

If you have any other ideas on using Gnomes in therapy please post them here.

Stay tuned for part 2… Fairies!


10 Responses to 'Gnomes, Fairies and Goblins… oh my!…Part 1'

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  1. Genie Curti-Ruddle said,

    Adorable, Cindy! Mahalo for always sharing–that’s caring! You da best!

    • Cindy said,

      Thanks Genie! Now I expect some great Hawaiian gnome ideas coming our way from you!

  2. Kathleen Allgood said,

    Potpourri provided me a variety of elves, gnomes & fairy doors just before Easter…unfortunately, I didn’t inform the prior inhabitants of our back yard forest (squirrels, deer, wild turkeys, etc.)…squirrels rebelled by knocking off one of the climbing creatures we had positioned on the side of an old oak tree-and he was shattered into pieces! Do you have any surgical recommendations, ha. The felted gnomes are much cuter & unbreakable? Fun to share these fairy tale themes with kids- as story starters or problem solvers? I’m an OT (therapy fairy) at heart ❤

    • Cindy said,

      Kathleen- One of my favorite co-workers is an OT & we do lots of groups together. And yes the felted gnomes are unbreakable but I’m sure your woodland friends would have “squirreled” them away! I like your idea for story starters. I am changing schools next year and will be working with younger kids (K-3rd) so I may need to come up with some adaptations.

  3. Tammie Grismer said,

    Brilliant!! Thanks for sharing these grat ideas!

    • Cindy said,

      Tammie- Thanks! I know I’m not the only one with great ideas. But I do believe in sharing them! I hope you can add some here too.

  4. Dean Trout said,

    Gnomebody does it more creatively than you! 😉 Loved your ideas and the kids will love them in therapy!

    • Cindy said,

      Thanks Dean! We all have a creative spark that’s why we became SLPs!

  5. Heather said,

    Hi Cindy,
    Is this how I subscribe to receive updates to the new posts on your blog? I love yor blog and would like to subscribe! Thank you!

    • Cindy said,

      Hi Heather-
      You can subscribe at the top of the blog. I think it says Follow at the top of the blog page. That is where you can subscribe. Thanks! I do not get paid for my blogging but I love to share ideas and hope others will add to these too.

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