Scrounging for Therapy- Tips for Inexpensive Therapy Materials
Scrounging for therapy? Absolutely! Preschoolers need to play, so that means you need a variety of materials to match your themes. Yes, it is extra work in the beginning, but the lovely thing about it is that once you have accumulated enough treasures, you can work on a wide variety of goals in your groups since the theme ties it all together!
Where to get materials?
There are many inexpensive books, activities and other materials made for entertaining preschoolers that can easily be adapted for therapy. Surprisingly enough, you won’t always find these at the Target Dollar Spot or the Dollar Store.
Keep your eyes open for sweet finds at pharmacies, grocery stores, and other places where kids can get antsy!
Besides books, preschoolers often need props for everything to learn to play. Gather up as many theme-related 3D items as you can at yard sales, supplement them with boxes, containers and assorted junk, and fill in the rest with paper pictures.
You know by now that I love page protectors. When I opened up the ones in my playground binder, these are the goodies that I found.
The Playground Game is an open-ended picture game from an old Sesame Street magazine. Remember that I recommended you look out for them at garage sales in my last post? This is a good example of why you should! You can easily make your own version, though with a great photo from a children’s book or from a Google search. Just laminate it and cut it into large, simple shapes.
Check out this Sesame Street playground picture that got turned into a File Folder Sentence Activity! This is how the whole set got started.
This one was made for a student of mine who loved The Wiggles. It worked so well, I tried to figure out a way to use it for my more concrete kids at play level and developed File Folder Activities.
Plastic cling activity
Here is a plastic cling activity – heaven knows where I found it, but I sure wish I could draw like that! These activities are fun for giving directions and describing. Tell the student which kid to find by describing them. Then give directions for where exactly to place it in the picture.
Next comes a simple adapted book for the playground. It works well because there is one playground item per page with simple drawings to elicit the action as well as the label. If you work in a school, the Scholastic flyers the classrooms send can be a great source for inexpensive books.
Next is an example of a worksheet from a very old workbook that was modified to use an open-ended group game. After providing a response, the students took a child and figured out where to put the picture based on how the child was moving.
Work on expressive skills when the activity is done using a cleanup game. Students love to be the teacher, so have them take turns telling about one of the pieces. If they used their target correctly, they picked up that piece. Count to see who got the most, and then everyone puts their picture back in the bag. Language and putting away help all at the same time!
But, what about the kids who don’t even know how to play? Come back next week to get some tips!