S-blends using more than just drill cards!

There have been quite a few students/clients who have issues with s-blends right now.  I am always looking for new fun ideas to incorporate mass and distributed practice in therapy.

  1. I Spy I love this game.  You literally don’t need anything.  I do have a few “I Spy” books that are also great to use.  Follow this link for some ideas for using I Spy in therapy.
  2. Smurfs – OK, so I loved the Smurfs when I was a kid.  I can hear the song in my head, “La la la la la la…..”.  Stuck in your head now too!  Te he, haha!  So back when the Smurfs movie came out, they had some wonderful Smurfs in kid’s meals.  Yes, I stole these from my children.  Smurf figurines are awesome, as they all have very descriptive names and often hold something related to their name or position.  If you weren’t a bad parent and stole your child’s happy meal toys, you can print out some smurf pictures from the internet.  This activity is used for “sm,” but it can be used for language or talking about emotions.
    • Start by going over the name and characteristics of each Smurf.  I love putting the Smurfs or pictures in a bag.  I then have the students pull the Smurfs out of the bag.
    • What this might look like:
      • Therapist:  “What’s in the bag?” while pulling out grumpy Smurf.
      • Therapist:  “How cool, I found a Smurf.  Let’s say Smurf”
      • Child:  “Smurf”
      • Therapist:  “What is the smurf doing?” or “What do you think this Smurf is called?”
      • Child:  “Grumpy”
  3. Scary grab bag – I love the dollar store.  At Halloween, I stock up on plastic spiders, skulls, and skeletons.  For instance, just last week, I did this with a kiddo.  He loved it!  I put the spiders, skulls, and skeletons in a bag.  When he pulled them out, we got to act “scared” or “scare” each other.  I try to get items with varying sizes and sometimes colors to work on language concepts.  Yes, when the child put their hand in the bag, I shrieked a bit.  He levitated out of his chair, and we both laughed.
  4. Smelly stuff Smelly markers, lip gloss, or even cooking extract (like vanilla) are awesome to use for “smell.”  We also talk about what “smells” good and what doesn’t!
  5. Stickers – As a child, I loved stickers, and I had a ton…Ok, as an adult, I still have a huge sticker collection, but it’s now called ‘scrapbooking supplies’…  Sometimes I can find stickers with “s-blends,” but that’s not necessary.  You can talk about sticking the sticker.  What is the sticker?  The sticker is a…
  6. Stamps – Yep, I also had a stamping addiction, which we call scrapbooking or card-making supplies.  So I also love stamps.  On a low prep day, I will get a blank piece of paper and give a student a stamp (I have a huge supply from Oriental Trading Company).  I have the child “stamp” on the page and say “stamp” or “I stamp a…”.
  7. Stacking – I use stacking cups or stacking blocks to practice “stack.”  You can even give them “s-blend” cards and have them practice “stacking” them.  I saw a blog post about 7 years ago where the therapist said that instead of keeping the students from messing with their sound cards, she encouraged them to build with them.  LIGHT BULB moment!  I even give my kiddos a tissue for a better building foundation.
  8. Step – Taking steps.  This was once tried with a new set of cards (though they aren’t new anymore).  I recommend either using items you aren’t concerned about getting some “love” or printing out and cutting up some pics you are fine with getting a little messed up.  I put the “s-blend” cards or any other target around the room.  We then take “steps” to each card and pick it up.  On the way, we count our steps.  I vary this from “one step” to just staying “step” depending on the child’s level.
  9. Star – I could probably do 101 ways to use stars in therapy; however, I will keep it simple.  I use star cutouts from the dollar store.  I have the students put a star on items in the classroom.  If I can’t do 4kids roaming around the room, I spread out cards or pictures on the table and have the student put a “star” on an item.  I have them say “star” as they are placing the star.  If they are working on phrases or pseudo phrases, I have them say “u star on” or “I put the star.”
  10. S-blends search – I vary this depending on if the student is reading or not.  For a non-reader, we go through a book and “listen” for words with s-blends.  I write them on paper for them.  For children who can read/write, I have them write on their own paper. Then, I have them pick one s-blend and draw a picture of it.

I recently created some activities to work on s-blends.