Recently I came across some Yeti games, and then some Yeti books, and then some Yeti clipart…and down the rabbit hole I went.
I loved the idea of have a theme that didn’t necessarily have to tie to a specific holiday or month and was different from the typical winter and snowman topics that our kids have done for years.
Now, I’m usually not a theme kinda gal, but every once in awhile I come across something that both myself and my kids think are fun and I milk it for everything it’s got! The trick is stretching it past a week or two.
Typically when an SLP uses a ‘theme-based’ therapy approach for sessions, there is a central topic that all activities, concepts, and vocabulary relate to. It can make things a bit easier when you are looking for content for your sessions ( articles for older students, crafts for younger, etc ) when you have some guidance on what you’re looking for.
HERE ARE MY TIPS FOR GETTING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR THEME
Get at least three different books relating to your topic. You can use a different book each week in speech with your kids and have your sessions revolve around that. Having the same theme will mean, most likely, repeated vocabulary use which is awesome. A study from showed that kids need 36 exposures to a vocabulary word for it to truly click. You can also use the books to target other goals you make have such as artic, grammar, etc.
Find articles for your older students that are on topic and file these away for next year to save yourself a step. One article for each week would be great but if you only see a student once a week you can realistically use the same article for half the month or the entire month depending on what they are working on. Wonderopolis is a fav site of mine for cool, engaging articles. Don’t forget to run it through VocabGrabber as well to get all the tier 2 words from the article! A lot of time we feel the pressure to have something new every single session, like somehow, if we don’t, we are a slacker SLP or letting our kids down. Well, stop all that nonsense right now! Our kids thrive on repetition and need it more than they know. So if they give you the, ‘ This again?!’ comment don’t worry about it. Most likely 5 minutes into things they are going to be engaged, using what they remember, feeling confident, and forgetting about why they didn’t want to look a the same article again.
Finding a video to use can really shake things up, in a fun way. I like Mystery Doug a lot ( he often has extension activities for his videos which you can use in another session ) and SciShow Kids. Animated shorts are fun too, if you can find them on your topic which can be tricky at times.
Some type of hands on activity is a must for me. This can be a sensory bin, game, ball poppers, or craft and they don’t have to be elaborate. We made Yeti faces out of paper plates and tissues…to be honest, I thought it up when I walked in that morning ??♀️ I used the sensory bins pieces from the Yeti activity and put them in the Yeti Spaghetti game one day and then in a sensory bin of beans and different blue pom poms the next. You can rotate them out each week and then use that same pattern for other themes. Even if you see kids multiple times a week, it’s fine. Let them make the same craft a few times, challenge them to make it different each time.
Finally, don’t be afraid to combine non-themed activities or resources. I paired this snowman card from my Dot it Out! Articulation with a Yeti articulation page to get some extra trials. The snowman and yeti have a bit of a common trait ( cold ) so we went with it.
This format has served me well and helped to decrease those ” What they heck are we going to do this week ?! ” moments.
P.S. If keeping up with all of your kids’ goals, planning therapy, and data collection/analysis is an going cycle of stress and overwhlem, then try SWIVEL. It tells you what everyone needs to do each day ( weeks in advance) and compiles your data making report and updates a snap. There’s a two week free trial so give it a shot. The only thing you have to lose, is the stress.