How to use an advent calendar in speech therapy
I ran across the galvanized advent calendar at Target this Christmas and quickly realized it can be used all year round in speech therapy for so many language concepts! I feel like it's similar to using a dollhouse. As you can see in the photo, I gathered some small toys and other objects I had around and put them in randomly. You get the added benefit of using a hands-on approach versus paper-based therapy activities. You can use it to address many receptive and expressive language goals like following directions, basic concepts, prepositions, and more. The possibilities are endless, but here are some of my ideas for using an advent calendar in speech therapy! Scroll to the bottom to get a printable ideas list!
Temporal directions: “First put in the skateboard, then put in the LEGO.” or “After you take out the dice, take out the lion.”
Multi-Step directions: “Put in the ball then put in the dart.” or “Put in the play-doh and the clip.”
“Where is the clip?” “What is at the top?” “Where is the soldier?”
“Is there a soccer ball?” “Is there a paperclip?”
REQUESTING: Ask them, which one do you want? For higher-level kids, have them use modifiers by putting similar items in. “I want the big, yellow LEGO.” or “I want the tall, thin block.” For lower-level kids, put in simple objects they are familiar with the names.
NEGATION: This really challenges kids to think! (no, not, none, never, neither, don't, etc.)
“Put the ball in but NOT by the lion.”
Have them tell you where something is NOT- “The dice is NOT by the play-doh.”
I: “I put in the soldier.” “I took out the blocks.”
Me: “Give me the play-doh.”
You: “You got the clip.” “I'll get you the soldier.”
She/He/Him/Her (use a doll or classmate): “He got the dog.” “She put in the ball.”
Above, between, beside, next to, under, over, etc. I love using real, hands-on toys to work on prepositions.
Work to expand your student's sentences by modeling. If they say, “want ball.” Recast and model for them, “I want the ball.”
I hope this has sparked some ideas for how you would use the metal advent calendar in your speech therapy sessions! It's a fun play-based approach. The nice thing is the gender-neutral appearance! Is this something you would use with your students?
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