Effective group speech therapy activities are always hard to come by, but trying to deliver group therapy to preschoolers adds a whole new level of difficulty. Whether you are doing group therapy in your speech room or pushing into the regular class, it’s not easy.
Today, let’s chat about a few tips and activities you can do with your preschoolers during group! This post contains affiliate links.
If you have the privilege of working with these tiny humans here are a few quick tips that have helped me tremendously, especially during groups:
Have a routine
This will save your sanity. When preschoolers know what to expect when they come to therapy, it’ll be a lot easier to herd them through the activities. Plus, in order to build those little pathways in their brains, repetition and practice can go a long way. Check out this post to see an example of how I structure my session.
Use a visual schedule
Visual schedules will help your kids know what comes next. It gives them a sense of limits and control over the session as they tick each activity off the list. You can grab one for free in my resource library!
Group students by goals as much as possible
Trying to place a student with phonological processes with a student who has limited verbal abilities will make for a very difficult session indeed. Do your best to group students by similar goals. This will allow you to do more motivating and effective activities for your kids.
Push in for more difficult cases
Personally, I prefer to have a preschool articulation group in my speech room and to push in for my more involved cases. If I have several “developmentally delayed” students or students with autism in a group together, it’s hard to give each one the attention they need.
Pushing in allows me to spend time with each one at a center or do group activities with lots of support from teachers and aids. It also gives me a chance to train the teachers on ways to increase communication opportunities for each student.
Use a cube chair with a tray for students who have trouble staying with the group
This tip is just practical. If your little friend is having trouble attending (whether playing with you or participating in a group), a cube chair with a tray is helpful to give kids those boundaries. I love this tray with this chair.
Hopefully, implementing some of these tips will help your sessions run more smoothly. So, what specific activities work best with preschool groups? Let’s chat about those group speech therapy activities to include in your routine for preschoolers.
Here are my 7 of my favorites for both push-in and speech room therapy:
Starting off your sessions with a greeting is a great way to get the group’s attention and begin interactions. Use hello songs or chants to have the students greet one another by name and say hi. I use these more with my language groups than I do with my artic groups.
Speaking of songs, did you know that music occupies more areas of our brain than language does? (-Oliver Sacks) Implementing music in your sessions can be super beneficial because it activates the “happy” neurotransmitters and increases and strengthens synapses.
Using songs with your preschool language groups is so so great to encourage group participation, following directions, and increasing opportunities to communicate. I love singing the songs then stopping mid verse and letting the students finish it, like a cloze strategy.
If you aren’t comfortable singing with your students, youtube has tons of great songs that you can easily play for them.
3. Books with props
I use books with any age of students. Preschoolers love them and adding props make the books 10x more fun and engaging. You can collect 3D objects that go with different books. Or just use paper props that often come with book companions. Simple, straightforward classic books are my favorite!
4. Movement games
If there’s anything that preschoolers have in common, it’s energy! Incorporating movement games into your session is great for engagement. A few of my favorites are:
- Simon says (great for following directions)
- Scavenger hunt
- Bean bag toss
- Hide the card (finding therapy cards around the room)
5. Core word activities
For my minimally verbal students, I love doing fun activities to increase their use of core words. Having as many opportunities for repetition and practice as possible is the goal.
Included in these Core Word Sensory Bin Sets are a page of books, songs, fine motor, and sensory bin activities that are fun and engaging for each core word targeted!
6. Simple crafts
Hands-on activities are the best. I love simple crafts during groups to keep them busy and engaged! This preschool craft set targets SO many goals on my caseload. Plus, the craft itself is cute and pretty easy to complete.
7. Homework sheets
Preschoolers learn best through play, repetition, and practice. I try to send home easy activities for parents to implement at home during their daily or weekly routines. Here are two resources that help me with this.
Parent handouts for the year are monthly pages of activities for parents to do with their child. They give lots of great ideas on how to turn activities with their children into language-rich activities!
My Preschool Take Home Packet includes a wide variety of goals and difficulty levels to send home for practice, so that you have the perfect homework activity to send home with each student.
Let me know if you try any of these activities! If you have any tips for group speech therapy activities for preschoolers, please leave a comment below!