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

Are you going buggy this time of year?

Posted in Uncategorized by Cindy on April 30, 2012
Tags: , , , , ,

This time of the year is always busy with evaluations, IEPS, progress reports and with the end of the school year deadline to complete it all.  So what a better time to bring in things that can “bug” us. I have had a nature unit that was “bugging” to get into my room. So we have been reading, talking and playing with all things nature-like including bugs, camping, creepy crawlers and more. We have been playing games, reading, and learning new concepts related to nature, bugs and camping.

Here are a couple of ideas:

1. Jigsaw puzzles- I picked put the Bug Picnic puzzle at Goodwill for .99 cents. I used it with several groups. The first group were kindergarteners so we worked on “flat, smooth and corner.” They tried to find the pieces that fit these concepts and even found some that “fit together.”  The next groups worked on “matching” colors and team work to find pieces. I figured there was probably some missing pieces and that became a “problem solving” activity for the last group when they finished the puzzle.

2. I love the Magna Puzzles– the one we used had bugs. I bought it at my Autism Shop quite a long time ago. I believe you can find these puzzles on Amazon. They are complicated so I made a photocopy of the finished puzzle as a guide. The groups work together and I sit back and interject as little as possible. This was the first time I used this with younger kids (1st & 2nd grades) and they really did amazing! I also used the Busy Beetles never-ending puzzle as another collaboration activity.

3. The game the kids literally screamed when playing and begged to play each time was Picnic Panic. This game is from 1992 and I bought it on e-bay a few years ago. I always hate to show you items that might not be available anymore but this one is just so much fun!  Here is an old video from the 90’s. 

4. The bug masks were picked up in the dollar section at Target. We wore them on bug hunts in my tiny speech room (I taped bug pictures and plastic bugs around the room). Sometimes we wore them just because!

5. Other games we played: Ants in the Pants, Can ‘o Worms (like monkeys in a barrel), and the Ladybug Game (another thrift store find).

6. We even had bug races down my cabinets. I found mine in the dollar section at Target. We raced to articulation and vocabulary cards at the bottom of the cabinet.

7. Camping out- we threw a sheet over the speech table and used our mini flashlights to do some of our therapy sessions. We even moved the campfire and marshmallows into our tent (see picture of my cabinet). To make this I used a wooden bowl I got at a garage sale and cut red & orange construction paper into flames. I wanted to use tissue paper but there was not the right colors left in our art supplies. I used long wooden sticks and glued cotton balls on the ends. When we were “roasting” our marshmellows I put one of the mini lights into the “fire.”  (I found these at Michael’s)

8.  A few years ago myself and another SLP received a grant to create story bags. One that we made fit perfectly with this theme- PJ Funnybunny Camps Out. We created the activities to be used with students and their families to use at home but now I use them mostly within my therapy sessions. I am sharing this one with all of you!

Pages 1-6 were laminated and placed into a binder: pg_1_Parent_letter PJ campingpg_2_Inventory_List_for PJ campingpg_3_Suggestions_for PJ campingpg_4_activities_PJ campingpg_5_vocabulary_PJ campingpg_6_artic_ideas_for_home PJ camping

The labels were taped onto plastic bags that hold the cards. labels for PJ Camps Out, Backpack page to color/outline, cut a slit to slide cards into and laminate: Backpack with slit, Cards to use for sequencing story:PJ Camping sequencing cards

The game board template- color or outline, laminate and tape two sides together: Game board 1Game Board 2     Ideas for camping snacks: Snack recipes

Vocabulary picture cards and definitions- cut apart and laminate for matching games: vocab matching 1 definitions; vocab matching 1 pictures – We used two sets of the picture cards for a matching activitiy and one set of the picture cards and definintion cards for another activity.

We tried out some apps and found a few that we liked the best:

Chipper apps: Let’s Go Chipper, Chipper Matching Game, Sally the Salmon, Chipper in the Parks, Bruce the Slug

Books: When the lights go out,  Dandelions e-book,  Backyard at Twilight,   Milly and Molly Go Camping, Buffy and the Butterfly

Exploring: Fotopedia National Parks, Project Noah

Games: Bugs and Buttons, Bug Builder, Bugfest, Boogie Bugs Mobile, Bye Bugs, Butterflies iBlower

Just fun!! Butterflying

7 Responses to 'Are you going buggy this time of year?'

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  1. Genie Curti-Ruddle said,

    Aloha Cindy!
    Great blog as usual this week! I just wanted to add a few other games that may be of interest and still may be available: BUGGO, a Ravensberger game, is for ages 5-10, but I have even played with my older 3 year olds. I just use less cards. Discovery Toys has a wonderful sequencing game with brightly colored bugs of various colors and insects. Unfortunately I loaned the game to a family, and I don’t remember the exact name! I’ll post it later when it is returned!
    Of course there are are so many wonderful books you can read. One of my favorite places to get books is . You list 10 books you want to get rid of (we all have some) and you get an automatic 2 credits. You can select from over 3 million ( yes, you read that correctly.) when another member requests a book, you send it out book rate. When received, you automatically “earn” another book. You are basically “swapping” with people from all over the U.S. It’s a great place to find old treasures and meet new people. The site allows you to look by title, author, or genre. I have picked up some very expensive books for just the price of media rate shipping! Check it out!
    Have a great Better Speech, Language and Hearing month everyone!
    Oh, You can even list your old text books that you no longer use! 🙂 you would be surprised what people request.

    Aloha, Genie

    • Cindy said,

      Thanks Genie! I do have the Discovery Toy bug game- somewhere in my belongings! Love the book swap site I’ll check it out.

  2. Nancy said,

    You always have such clever ideas!

    • Cindy said,

      Thanks Nancy- I think there are a lot of good ideas out there. We just need to be able to share them too.

      • Nancy said,


  3. Paul said,

    Hi Cindy,
    I’m really trying to be more curriculum focused and directly link my language therapy to the Common Core Standards. When you talk about your units are those actual curriculum themes (that the teachers implement), or are you just introducing your own ideas?

    • Cindy said,

      Paul, I’ve done both. It is difficult because the grade levels do not use the same themes. I don’t think it matters what the theme is as you should be able to relate it to a standard (MN has it’s own standards). For example one of our standards is to retell a story (paraphrased)so that can be accomplished by using a story related to an ocean theme etc. Does that make sense? I focus on the Language Arts standards for my IEPs and therapy lessons.

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