Friday, June 30, 2017

How to Use Race Track Tape in Speech Therapy!

Don't you just love when you score a really, really good find for therapy? I live for the moments when my brain is racing with numerous ideas of ways to use a particular item that I find around the house or at the store (or when my child opens a birthday gift!) This exact thing happened the other day while at one of my homes away from home... Target's Dollar Spot!
Have you spotted this race track tape at your local Target yet? This tape is fantastic. And only $1! The possibilities are literally endless. But here are a few ideas and ways to use it in therapy with your students or at home with your kids to increase speech and language skills.
Race to Vocabulary Words
Have your students drive their cars down the track that leads to new vocabulary words. Or even better, line multiple words or objects up along the road and have the kids name them as her or she drives to them.

Sentence Expansion Expressway
Have roads of multiple length represent different sentence length. Write words under the tape (stick this tape right on a dry erase board!) and have your student(s) read the words as he/she drives over/past them. Add to the road as your student adds more words to their sentences. The visual of longer roads and longer sentences is a great thing!
Smooth vs Bumpy Fluency Roads
Have a smooth road and a bumpy road (crumple the tape up a bit) as a visual for fluent and dysfluent speech. You could also have your cars drive slow or fast to visually represent their rate of speech. 

Babbling Boulevard
For those little ones you are working with, get them to imitate early sounds and single words with their cars. They can tell the car to "go!" say "vroom!" as it races, and  "beep!" the horn at other cars. 
Articulation Race Track
Line up articulation cards around the race track and have your student practice the words before he or she can move on. The KaPow! cards work perfect for this! (With these cards you could target almost any goal!)

Preposition Parkway
This tape goes on (almost) any surface. So have your track go "under" chairs, "over" tables, and "around" the desk. The kids will have a blast driving on a not so typical race track and get to practice using positional words. This is also a great opportunity to work on following directions. 
Social Skills
There is never a bad time to practice good social skills. Have your students practice turn taking and using good manners as they take turns giving directions or sharing a vehicle to drive on the track. 

Expressive Language through Pretend Play
This is how I used the tape at home with my own children. I made a road in our playroom and used the kids’ toys to create a town with them. We had a farm, police station, grocery store, hospital, and school. They used dolls and superheroes as the townspeople. It kept them entertained for hours! 

This tape is so much fun! If you happen to find it at your local Target, stock up!! If you have other fun ways to use this tape, please share! Happy racing!!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Inspire Reading with a Cozy Reading Nook!

Reading is such an important part of learning. I started introducing books to my kids before they were even born. I would read to them as I rocked in their empty nurseries. I read them stories before bed each night. I love when they bring books over to me and ask me to read to them. It's typically the same book over and over (and over and over and over!) again, but it's ok! They love books and I don't ever want them to lose that love.
All kids seem to eventually come to an age where it isn't "cool" to read anymore. I think mine started during the middle school years. But having a reading nook can help keep the excitement of reading alive. When kids have their own "spot" to read, they take ownership of that spot and enjoy being there.
Search Pinterest for some fun reading nook ideas, there are tons of jaw dropping ones out there! But it doesn't have to be anything fancy, just cozy. Put some pillows in a corner. Make some shelves out of plastic rain gutters or spice racks (those are really cool and on my summer to-do list!) or add a basket of books. Or in our case, we have a teepee! 
I recently learned about a family run company out of Illinois called TeePee Joy. I instantly fell in love with their teepees! You can order a pre-designed teepee or customize your own. They come with a matching blanket and set of pillows. It's so darn cute that I don't even mind having it in our living room full time! The kids are in it constantly so it is very durable! We even take ours outside sometimes. This has been the perfect little 'nook' for my kids to let their imaginations run wild!
These teepees would look adorable in a classroom (or speech room!) I so wish I had one of these while I was still working in a school. The prints are so fun and could match any bedroom or classroom decor. My kids use our teepee constantly as they pretend play or watch movies. But my favorite is when I find them quietly curled up inside, reading a book. 
 
You can learn more about these teepees by visiting TeePee Joy's website here: https://www.teepeejoy.com/ref/SimplySpeech/ 
Get $20 off your purchase with the code: SS-$20OFF-TEEPEE
Happy reading!!


Thursday, June 1, 2017

M is for Monster... Preschool in a Box!

It is officially summer vacation over here! We are less than a week in and my kids are already bored. I want to keep them busy this summer- both physically and mentally. Kenzie has learned so much this past year and is so ready for kindergarten. I want to keep her little mind working so I have been busy pinning ideas to keep her active. But all of my pinned ideas require lots of materials and trips to the store. Too bad there isn't a company that will deliver all the materials for your Pinterest projects to you! Maybe one day someone will invent that service, but until then, I teamed up with

M is for Monster is a monthly subscription box of lesson plans for your children that targets colors, shapes, letters, and numbers through fun, hands-on activities. What I love most about this, is that it was created by a mom of 3 and former preschool teacher. She followed her heart after endless google searches for educational materials, and decided to create her own for her "little monsters." Thankfully, she also decided to share them with the world!
Each monthly box is themed and the activities are chosen based on your child's age and ability.  For my first box, I chose Stage 2 for Kenzie.When I received my first box, Kenzie couldn't wait to rip open the box and see what was inside. There were 4 themed lessons (bunnies, umbrella, spring, and farm) along with arts and craft materials. I am a sucker for a good theme, so I was super excited to see what activities were included to go along with each one. 
Each lesson package comes with an instruction page for each activity. There were about 4 activities to go with each theme. We had so much fun making flower wreaths, counting farm animals, making paint tracks with a tractor, identifying flower letters, and painting with "bunny tails" (just to name a few!)
 I love the idea of having these boxes delivered each month to keep the kids learning throughout the summer.  The best part is M is for Monster includes all the materials you need for all of these activities. I think the only thing I needed that wasn't included was a pair of scissors.
When you sign up, you can select what Stage you would like in addition to your monthly plan. The Mini Monster Box includes 2 themes for $29.50 and the full box includes 4 themes and is $59. Just like other subscription services, the longer you subscribe for there are discounts (for example,  a 3 month subscription plan with 4 themes will only cost you $54 per month, as opposed to the $59 if you went month-by-month).  There is also a Try me Box option for $29.95 so you can sample what this awesomeness is all about!
The June box has just been released and it is adorable! Dolphins, Zoo, Beach, and Sun themes... oh my!
Click here to learn more about M is for Monster and get signed up!
 This blog post was sponsored by M-is for-Monster!
Disclaimer: I did receive a box in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.