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

“MacGyver” your speech therapy

Posted in Uncategorized by Cindy on January 23, 2013
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If you ever watched the MacGyver series that ran from 1985-1992 you know that “MacGyver” was a genius with duct tape and other odds and ends. He managed to save the day with his scientific knowledge and inventive use of common items. Plus Richard Dean Anderson who played the character MacGyver is from Minnesota just like me!  So when I had some left over styrofoam packing from a crock pot gift I knew I could not just toss them out.


What can you do with duct tape? Well that is appropriate in a school setting? Here is what I did. First I bought duct tape with a design and not very MacGyver like. There are a lot of options and lots of brands. I chose one that I thought my K-3rd grade population would like whether they were girls or boys.


The duct tape is the top roll.  The bottom roll was ribbon on clearance at 75% off. You can find duct tape with a similar pattern but a deal is what I went with this time.

I presented the styrofoam pieces to one of my groups. They chose to use the tape. I told them they were on their own but had to make a plan and work together. I love activities that are kid lead and I sit back observing while providing minimal guidance. They did a great job covering the front of the styrofoam and decided the back did not need it. They think it will make a great TV screen for pretend shows that they create. I can’t wait!

The second group used the ribbon and I was able to hear a lot of conversational speech. Great way to see how articulation errors are improving …. or not. They named this one Wild!

Now what to do with these creations you ask? Well as an SLP I am sure your brain has been storming already.  Here are a few things we have done ….so far!

1.  Take all those articulation cards and toss them…literally toss them through the opening. If the target sound was said correctly we tossed it through the opening and let it land on the floor. After we finished tossing each student had to collect the cards that were face up and say it again. If the card was face down they just set them on the table. Others had to say a sentence before tossing. And my favorite was creating a story- the first student said “Once upon a time there was a  boy/girl who went on a journey. He/She took a (insert articulation card)”  The next student added onto the story with their card and so on and so on. After the initial introduction they came up with their own start to each story. I had a group of 3 try this and each had 5-10 cards for each story.

2. In a kindergarten group we worked on basic concepts- over, around, on, under, through and middle. They called the MacGyver creation a “window.” I brought a bag of small toys (rubber chicken, wind-ups, dinosaur, etc.) and they used these to act out the concepts. The chicken flew “through” the window. The dinosaur went “under”. Each student also took turns giving directions. I created this sheet for the students to use and take home. concepts for home

3. Students can take turns using the “window” as a monitor and give a report, share about their weekend, tell a story…. or ask them to come up with ideas.

4.  I used it as a frame on my wall and in the middle I put a category card.  For some groups this is a warm-up activity and they each need to think of 2-3  items that fit the category before we start our work. For other groups this is their activity and I keep changing the cards as we work.

5. We placed cards on the table face up and put the “window” over them. We put a dropped a small ball inside as it settled on a card the student would choose it and complete the task. You can use any type of cards. We used articulation and lots of cards from the materials I found on Teachers Pay Teachers site. There are many many SLPs who have wonderful materials for sale.

6.  One of my groups came up with this game- They used both “windows” and placed them on table. They used articulation cards to say a word to their partner. If the partner heard correct sounds he said “right on target” and the card was placed in the middle of the “window.” If it was not said correctly he said “missed” and the card was placed outside of the target.  They named the game “Right on Target.”

If you do not have any packing from a box then you could cut out a shape from cardboard and “MacGyver” it!

Any other ideas? I’d love to hear them!



8 Responses to '“MacGyver” your speech therapy'

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  1. Carly said,

    YAY another great idea, plus it looks like so much fun! 😀

    • Cindy said,

      Thanks! I did have fun. It’s amazing how much fun kids can have with something so simple.

  2. Jenn Alcorn said,

    You just rocked my world. I love duct tape and this idea. Thanks Cindy!

    • Cindy said,

      Thanks Jenn! Let me know what other ideas you come up with too.

  3. Looks like a lot of fun! And to think, I just threw out some styrofoam pieces! 😦 I love the whole concept – making a plan, following through, and using the finished product for a variety of targets! Great post!

    • Cindy said,

      Thanks Carrie! I guess you have a good excuse to go out buy something packed in styrofoam again.

  4. FUN! Love these ideas, thanks!

    • Cindy said,

      Thanks Amy!

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