Sweet Peas and Pigtails

Author Archives: Sweet Peas and Pigtails

Hi there! I’m Jennifer, wife to Jonathan and mama to two Sweet Peas. I worked full time as a speech-language pathologist for nearly a decade before becoming a mommy and now I work part-time so I can stay at home with my two little sweet peas.

Building Speech and Language with Bubbles

Building Speech and Language with Bubbles

I grew up playing with bubbles and babysat children who loved bubbles. It wasn’t until I became a speech pathologist 11 years ago that I really began to see just how amazing blowing bubbles were at promoting speech and language skills! I use bubbles in therapy all. the. time. And not those bubble machines, although those are pretty fun. I’m talking about the good, ol’ fashioned bubble containers with the wands. They can be used inside or outside and taken on the go, they’re affordable, and not to mention super fun and engaging! I haven’t met a child who does not like them. Read on to find out how blowing bubbles can boost your child’s speech and language development.

Building Speech and Language with Bubbles

1. Teaching Requesting

How do I use bubbles for requesting? During my therapy sessions, I often give my kiddos a choice of two or three activities. If they choose bubbles, depending on their level, they must provide some sort of gesture (sign for “bubbles” or “more”), sound (/b/), syllable (“buh), word (“bubble”), phrase (“more bubble” or “want bubble”) or sentence (“I want bubbles”) to receive the bubbles. For example, if I’m working with a toddler who does not have many words, I may have them start to sign the word bubbles. I then would give the child the bubbles for a few turns and then I’d close the container and start the process again.

2. Teaching different sounds and words

When a child needs to work on the /p/, /b/, or /m/ sound, I pull out the bubbles. Why? These are bilabial sounds, or sounds made with the lips. There are so many words with these sounds that we can teach while blowing bubbles: “pop,” “bubble,” “up,” “more,” “open,” “dip,” “me,” “bye,” “big,” “blow,” and “please.” Working on these words also teaches them new vocabulary, which leads me to my next point.

3. Building vocabulary

If you need to increase your kiddo’s vocabulary, try bubbles! In addition to the words I mentioned above, you can teach them “all done,” “stop,” “close,” “lid,” “catch,” “go,” “on,” “off,” “wet,” “in,” “out,” “fly,” and the list can go on and on! If you have a toddler who is starting to use phrases and sentences, use some of these words together and comment about the bubbles as you play with them: “That’s a big bubble!” “It popped on my head!” “I am wet!” “I caught the bubble!”

4. Building eye contact

Have a child on your caseload who does not make eye contact? Maybe your toddler or preschooler at home struggles with eye contact. Bring out the bubbles! Isn’t it crazy that something as simple as blowing bubbles can promote eye contact?! Make sure you are face to face with your child and begin blowing the bubbles. Wait for your child to make eye contact before you blow the bubbles again.

5. Teaching turn taking

Blowing bubbles is a simple way to work on turn taking. Take turns with your child blowing and popping the bubbles saying “my turn” and “your turn.” This is something I’m working on at home with my two-year-old!

6. Giving them a reason to communicate

Bubbles are great communication temptations. I like to get those big colorful bubble containers and put them up high somewhere where the kids will notice them but can’t reach them. At home, I have them on top of our refrigerator in our garage. Because the child can’t reach them, they need to use gestures or words to get the bubbles. When you get the bubbles, hand it to your child. Sometimes the lid is hard to open so they may again have to use gestures or words or maybe even eye contact for you to open the lid.

7. Teaching lip rounding

Blowing bubbles is great for teaching children how to round their lips for the /w/, /o/, and oo. Watch to see if they are rounding their lips when they blow. If they have difficulty with this, gently use your hands and place their cheeks/lips in the correct position. When I notice difficulty with this task, we also try to say more words such as “wet,” “want,” and “more” to encourage lip rounding.

8. Increasing breath support

Did you know that blowing bubbles can strengthen your child’s abdominal muscles? This is important for increasing sentence length and sustaining speech. When targeting breath support, I often instruct the child to take a big breath and blow a long stream of bubbles. The kids love it and we turn it into a game trying to blow a longer stream than the last one.

Well there ya have it! That’s how I like to use bubbles to promote speech and language skills with my kids! How do you use bubbles in therapy or at home with your children?

5 MUST-HAVE TPT SPEECH THERAPY PRODUCTS

5 MUST-HAVE TPT SPEECH THERAPY PRODUCTS

Can you believe Valentine’s Day is coming up? Crazy! Something else that is right around the corner is the Teacher’s Pay Teacher’s sitewide sale where you can save up to 28% off on February 7th and 8th! My store along with many others will be on sale and there’s nothing I love more than a good deal. Remember to use the code LOVETPT when you checkout! 🙂

I can get into trouble during these TPT sitewide sales with all of the amazing products out there and I definitely have my eyes on lots of fun products that would be great to use in therapy! Listed below are 5 must-have TPT speech therapy products from my store as well as other stores that I am anxious to try out in my therapy room.

1. My No Prep Object Functions is my newest product! This packet contains 5 different activities including Object Function Bingo, Identify the Object Cards, Spin & Color (Identifying and Expressing Object Functions), and a My Mini Object Function Book.

These fun spinner worksheets are included in my packet and they are perfect for Pre-K to grade 2! I’m excited to have easy, no prep worksheets like this on hand, especially since I just came back to work from maternity leave!

2. The SLT Scrapbook has a Valentine’s Day Pronouns No Prep Packet that contains 26 pages of no prep activities to practice the pronouns ‘he’, ‘she’, ‘him’, ‘her’, ‘his’, ‘hers’. With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, this would be fun to use in therapy!

3. Speech Gems has a Multiple Meaning Words Unit that would be great for the 2nd to 5th graders! It includes tons of multiple meaning cards and task cards, a bingo game, pages to create a booklet, and cards with multiple definitions on them. Definitely worth checking out!

4. RWC with Mrs. P has a WH Questions Bundle-1 and 2 Sentence Listening Comprehension that looks pretty good! I don’t know about you, but I can always use WH-questions and this product has a lot of them-160 to be exact!

5. Kathy Babineau has a Following Directions product that contains 50 different following directions activities that you can use all year long with your 3rd through 8th graders! It seems like my students are always working on following directions so I’m anxious to try this!

What speech therapy resources are must-haves for you? I would love to add some more products to my therapy stash!

Christmas-Themed Following Directions Cards and Coloring Sheets

Can you believe Christmas is almost here?! I’m not ready at all! It doesn’t feel much like Christmas here in Florida just yet with our 80 degree weather but hopefully it will soon. Our tree is up, decorations are out, and hubby put lights up outside. We are getting a cold front this weekend (highs in the low 60’s ya’ll!), so I figure I’ll just bundle up and put on some Hallmark Christmas movies and that should do the trick.

Alright, on to the therapy stuff! I’ve been on a roll creating themed following directions packets this year and just created a Christmas one! This packet contains 54 Christmas-themed direction cards as well as 15 coloring sheets. These cards and coloring sheets are great because they target different skill levels and include one-step, two-step, and temporal commands. You can send the coloring sheets home for homework or use them during the session! Fun stuff!

Sled on over to my store to check them out!

Thanksgiving-Themed Following Directions For Speech Therapy

Thanksgiving-Themed Following Directions For Speech Therapy

So, it’s been a long time since I posted a blog. I have a good reason, I promise! I delivered my second little Sweet Pea on September 8th and it’s been kinda crazy around here adjusting to two littles. She’s actually 8 weeks old today and things seem to be getting a little easier so I thought I’d sit down and blog a little. But before I get into my post, I have to share a picture of my daughter. Isn’t she the sweetest? This was her first little picnic in the park and she slept right through it! Ha ha!

Can you believe it’s November?! This year has seriously flown by. With Thanksgiving coming at the end of the month, I thought it’d be fun to create a Thanksgiving-themed following directions activity. I love holiday therapy activities and so do my kids. I also always seem to have many clients who have difficulty following directions so this is the perfect activity for them. I’m on maternity leave now but you better believe it come next Thanksgiving, I’ll be pulling this activity out!

This Thanksgiving Following Directions Packet features temporal directions targeting before and after, as well as 1-step and 2-step commands. I’ve included 15 Thanksgiving-themed coloring sheets that you can use in therapy or send for homework as well as 54 Thanksgiving-themed direction cards!

Each card and coloring sheet is labeled in the top right corner with the specific direction type so you can keep everything organized. You can snag this activity here! Happy Thanksgiving!

Developing Toddler Language Through Water Play

Developing Toddler Language Through Water Play

My little girl loves water, whether it’s the pool, the bathtub, her water bottle, or the splash pad. I thought it might be a good idea to get a water table for the backyard. Summer is definitely here and being 7 months pregnant, I’m always looking for fun activities to keep us all nice and cool. I searched the web but many of the water tables I found were listed for more than I wanted to pay. Enter Pinterest. I stumbled across a blog for a DIY water table that would end up costing only around $30 to make. I showed my husband and a few days later he went and bought all the things we needed to make the table and had it built in no time! Thank goodness for handy husbands! 🙂

Today was the first day Sweet Pea played with her water table. We went out on the back deck, I filled it up and then threw in some plastic cups of different sizes, a scooper, as well as some bath toys. She loved it!! This water table literally kept her entertained for over an hour! That’s an eternity when you have a toddler!

Ok, so I’m already in love with this table. Not only did it cool us off but it also kept Sweet Pea occupied. And I just love the learning that can take place during activities like these. I’m a speech pathologist so I’m always trying to think of ways to foster speech and language development in my own toddler. This water table is great at building language and vocabulary! We splashed, spilled, poured, scooped, squirted, made bubbles, got wet and made the fish swim and float. We also talked about whether the cups were full or empty, In addition, Sweet Pea worked on her requesting skills (“mommy help”) since she couldn’t quite scoop water in the cups by herself yet.

Water play is also good for physical development. It encourages the development of hand/eye coordination as they work on pouring, squirting, and stirring. I think next time I’ll throw in some wooden spoons and some plastic bowls and see what she does with them. It also promotes gross motor skills. Not only did she want to fill the cups with water, she wanted to carry the cups across the deck, down the steps into the grass and then pour the water on the grass. She had to learn to walk carefully and try to figure out how to hold the cups so they didn’t spill. It’s also a great sensory activity as she puts her hands in the water and deals with the temperature (cold water) and the different textures of the toys and other items.

This would also be a fun playdate activity to target social skills. Water play can increase social skills as the children learn to play cooperatively and share. Next time, we will have to invite one of Sweet Pea’s little friends over! 🙂

For more fun speech & language activities, check out my Teachers Pay Teachers store here!

Summer Speech Therapy: Following Directions Cards and Coloring Sheets

Summer Speech Therapy: Following Directions Cards and Coloring Sheets

I love themed therapy activities! Summer, especially. I just created this fun following directions packet to use in therapy during the summer months. Over the years, I’ve seen such a need to work on following directions and it’s so hard to think of them off the top of my head. I love these cards because they target different skill levels and include one-step, two-step, and temporal commands. Use the cards in groups, throw them in a cute bag and have the child pull one out, or use them while playing a board game! Not only are there 54 direction cards, but I’ve also included 15 coloring sheets (5 of each type of command)! You can send the coloring sheets home for homework or use them during the session!

Swim on over to my store to check them out!

Summer-Themed Game Boards for Speech Therapy

Summer-Themed Game Boards for Speech Therapy

My clients absolutely love to play games in therapy! I can’t even count how many times I’ve played Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders with my kiddos. I definitely needed some new games so I created four summer-themed game boards that I can use all summer long! What’s great about these board games are that they are open-ended so you can use them with just about any goal you are targeting.

The four themes are beach, pool, 4th of July, and sea life. I’ve also included beach/pool-themed game cards as well as 4th of July game cards and sea life game cards. All you need is a coin, spinner, or die and you are all set! I personally like to play with a coin (heads= 2 spaces, tails= 1 space) because it makes the game last a little longer. 🙂

To play, use with your own game pieces. Make sure you have a dice, spinner, or coin on hand. Shuffle game cards and place face down on the table. Students should perform a skill before taking a turn at the game (articulation, fluency, language, etc.). Once they have completed their task, have them spin or roll the dice/coin and move that number of spaces on the board. They may then draw a card from the pile of game cards and complete that task (extra turn, move ahead one space, lose a turn, etc.). First one to finish wins the game!

You can snag these summer game boards here!

FREE Winter Syllable Sorting Activity For Kids

Winter Syllable Sorting Activity For Kids

Winter is here, although it doesn’t feel much like it where I live. Nonetheless, in the spirit of the season, I’ve created a FREE winter syllable sorting activity for you to use with your kids to help target phonological awareness skills. Phonological awareness is the ability to understand how sounds work in spoken language. Some examples of phonological awareness skills include: 

  • Segmenting words (clap for each word heard in a sentence)
  • Counting syllables (clap for each syllable in the word “rainbow”)
  • Blending syllables (tell me what word this is: “com-pu-ter”)
  • Segmenting syllables (tell me two words in the word “snowman”)
  • Deleting syllables (say “doghouse” without “house”)
  • Rhyming

These skills lay the foundation for literacy. Research has shown that children who perform well on phonological awareness tasks usually are or become good readers. Students at risk for reading difficulties oftentimes have lower levels of phonological awareness than do their peers. However, there is good news for these struggling students: phonological awareness can be developed through a number of activities, including the freebie I’ve included for you today!

winter syllable sort activity

This winter syllable sorting activity (downloaded at the end of the post) includes 24 adorable winter-themed pictures that are either one, two, or three syllables in length. Have your children say the word and clap or tap out the syllables. Once they have determined the number of syllables, they can place the pictures by syllable number into the correct train car. So fun!!

Winter Syllable Sorting Cards

The ability to count syllables in words is important because it increases a child’s awareness that words can be split into smaller parts. It’s easier for kids to start with larger parts of words such as syllables and then progress to the individual sounds that make up the words. Children learn to read by listening to others read to them and then they start to recognize the sounds and start sounding out words. When kids play with words they learn to recognize patterns and use that knowledge to read. This activity, as well as rhyming activities and hand clapping games, are great ways to engage them in word play.

Need more syllable practice? Check out my store for additional products such as Counting Syllables, which includes 72 pictures of 1, 2, and 3 syllable words. For more activities targeting phonological awareness, check out my Phonological Awareness Bundle, which includes four activities: counting syllables, rhyming, blending CVC words, and identifying beginning/ending sounds.

DOWNLOAD Winter Syllable Sorting Activity

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A Fun Fall Activity to Promote Speech and Language Skills

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My absolute faaaavorite season is fall. I love the cooler weather, warm apple cider, baking with pumpkin, and all the fall festivities that take place. Since fall is here, I created a little book based off of the classic children’s book Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? It’s called Pumpkin, Pumpkin, What Do You See? (Download it for free here!) I thought it’d be fun to read because I LOVE Brown Bear. I’ve used it in speech therapy with the little kids for years and it’s always a hit. It’s predictable, colorful, rhythmic, and great for teaching language! My 13 month old daughter enjoys listening to me sing (yes, you read that right, I sing it to her) this book to her and together we point at the animals and try to make the animal sounds. Check out the video below to see the author, Bill Martin singing the book.[/fusion_text][/fullwidth][fusion_text]

I mentioned that Brown Bear is wonderful at teaching language. Not only does it teach animals and colors, but it also works on comprehending the question “What do you see?” and phrase “I see a _______ looking at me.” Kids usually learn words in chunks. For instance, my daughter understands the phrase “all done” but she does not understand “all” in another context as in “Do you want ALL of those?” So when I read it, I mean sing it to her, I try to say that question and phrase in chunks.

You can even expand on this book and ask more WH questions about each animal such as “What does he eat?”, “Where does he live?” or “What color is he?”

So as you can see there are just so many language opportunities with Brown Bear. Pumpkin, Pumpkin has just as many opportunities! I’m using Pumpkin, Pumpkin, What Do You See? to teach Sweet Pea fall vocabulary (pumpkin, apple, leaf, scarecrow, turkey, acorn, rake, and pumpkin pie). Just like Brown Bear, it will work for teaching colors and give more practice with the question “What do you see?” and phrase “I see a ______ looking at me.” This book can also be expanded and I’ve thought of some WH questions you could also ask older kiddos while reading this book.

Where can we find a pumpkin?

What can we do with the pumpkin?

Where can we get apples?

What can we do with apples?

Where do leaves grow?

What happens to leaves in the Fall?

Why do farmers use scarecrows?

What does a turkey say?

Where does a turkey live?

What kind of tree do acorns come from?

What do we do with a rake?

What do we do with pumpkin pie?

What color is _______ (pumpkin, apple, etc.)?

Of course Sweet Pea at 13 months cannot answer these questions yet so I’ll just simply explain each picture to her answering some of these questions while I show her the picture. So I’d probably say “That’s a pumpkin and it’s orange! We can go to the pumpkin patch or to the grocery store and get one.” That’s IF she doesn’t flip through the pages quickly. If she’s in a sleepy, restful mood and willing to listen longer, I’ll expand and talk about each picture. I really just follow her lead.

Here’s some pictures of her looking at the book. She really seemed to like it!  🙂

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I printed it on cardstock so it is more durable. If you have a laminator, that would work even better to prevent those little hands from tearing it!

I hope you enjoy your little Fall booklet! :-)[/fusion_text]

FUN WAYS TO WORK ON YOUR CHILD’S SPEECH AT HOME

FUN WAYS TO WORK ON YOUR CHILD’S SPEECH AT HOME

Your child is asked to work on his or her speech sound at home. Straight up drill work is not always fun for our rambunctious little kiddos and probably the last thing they want to do when they get home from school is practice their speech sound. Here are some fun ways to incorporate play into their speech practice, and they’ll be having so much fun they might just forget they’re actually working on their sounds!

1. Bowling

You know those toy plastic bowling pins and balls? Those are GREAT to incorporate into speech practice plus it gets your child moving. If you don’t have those, you could always use those Puffs snack containers or something similar. When I was doing therapy, I’d “bowl” with my kiddos. I’d take artic picture cards (ask your therapist for copies or you can find pictures online targeting your child’s sound) and tape them on the pins, one-two per pin. Then take turns rolling the ball and knocking over the pins. This would be great way to incorporate the siblings too. Have your child say the word on the picture of the pin that gets knocked over. Odds are they will get lots of practice because they will probably want to keep bowling!

2. Hide and Seek

Take a few minutes and take turns hiding the artic pictures around your house. When you find the picture, say the word. To kick things up a notch and make it even more interesting, you can always dim the lights and have your child use a flashlight to find the pictures. My kids at work always felt so important with their flashlight, like some kind of investigator or something.

3. Games

Does your child like to play games? Incorporate their artic into the game! Have your stack of cards and before your child takes a turn (or even every other turn), they need to say their word five times.

4. Out And About

Maybe you are out at the grocery store or running errands somewhere. Have your child think of as many words as they can that start with their sound. So, say they are working on /s/ and you’re at the grocery store. They could say “sandwich”, “salad”, “soup”, “soda”, etc.

Included in this blog is a free /p/ sound printable! It contains 36 playing cards and targets /p/ in the initial, middle, and final positions of words. Maybe your child is working on /p/. Maybe they’re not. Either way, keep checking back on my site for more free printable sound cards and maybe you will find the sound your child is working on!

Download Free Printable Below

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