5 Important Reasons to Combine Books & Play in Therapy

5 Important Reasons to Combine Books & Play in Therapy- Plus a Freebie!


Books and play are my two favorite therapy methods. What could be better than combining the two? Sometimes people think that all SLPs do is play, so how hard could that be? They’d be surprised if they tried to accomplish specific goals in maybe an hour or so a week!


preschool speech therapy, autism. books and play 


5 benefits of combining books and play in therapy

  1. Kids who are engaged are more willing to learn.
  2. Using play and the language for play also helps improve their symbolic thinking skills.
  3. Incorporating adapted books helps them understand and engage with books, improving their literacy skills. 
  4. Practice with therapy methods and materials that are part of their environment helps to promote generalization or carry-over. 
  5. The plot of the book gives students a script to follow. This helps them build their sequential play skills.

Best of all, they are both so much fun!

Spring is a fun time for incorporating a cloud/rain theme to go along with the saying, “April showers bring May flowers.” My favorite book to use for that theme?  It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles G. Shaw.


It Looked Like Spilt Milk, free download, speech therapy, clouds theme



Games & Skills


Since VISUAL DISCRIMINATION SKILLS are a must for any students using a symbol system to communicate, the shape matching nature of this book makes it a great choice to use with students who are developing literacy skills. Additional shape matching activities can be found in the book companion at my store.



You know that I loved using Ellison cutters when I was in the schools.  Now many people are buying home versions like Sizzix or Cricut machines. No worries, though, as you can just download the free cloud activities here and do some old fashioned tracing and cutting on construction paper instead.


Cloud faces with basic EMOTIONS are always cute to use!

  1. Make a pile face down, elicit a target from your student, and then let them choose from the pile. If you have 4 emotions, you can have 4 winners!
  2. Instead of picking randomly from a pile, stack each emotion in a deck and students can take turns requesting the emotion card they want.
  3. It is never too early to start introducing your students with autism to vocabulary for emotions. You can use a simple game like this to work on any IEP goal while still helping your students learn basic emotions.


Clouds with different colors, sizes, and shapes add DESCRIPTIVE WORDS to their language!  


Tips for Mixed Group Activities 

Try using tape or fun-tack to attach other pictures to the back of the cloud shapes. In the picture, I have pieces to a Sesame Street puzzle attached to use as a puzzle token board. The student knew that when the puzzle was completed, the task was done.

Give each student a set of their own clouds with their specific targets. Place the free cloud page that you downloaded in a page protector so students have to cover all of the shapes.

  • SPEECH SKILLS- Tape pictures with the target sounds on the back or write the word using a dry erase marker on the clouds if they are laminated. Easy!
  • LANGUAGE SKILLS- It doesn’t have to be fancy. Just cut out the pictures from a worksheet that you can give for homework and tape them on the back to practice first!

Book companion for It Looked Like Spilt Milk, speech therapy, preschool, special education


There are so many more fun activities in my book companion. Besides giving little ones an easy way to start using the strategy of looking back in the text to recall story details, there is a cute open-ended game board, and rhyming and phonology activities, too. 


But I think my favorite is the cloud shape matching boards! Check it out here!



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I’m Linda, an SLP who loves helping you build effective communication skills for your students using strategies and visuals. Pictures are time consuming, so let me make your life easier!

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