Being in a profession where personal connection is such a vital part of our sessions, teletherapy has demanded a different shift in trying to successfully relate and engage our kids through a screen. However, being behind a screen does not have to be the end all when it comes to providing both effective and fun speech services! After many sessions of flashcards and online activities, I felt my creative antsy side start to grow. I thought to myself, what could be a fun and different activity that I can complete with my kids that I wouldn’t necessarily have the opportunity to do if I were in school? Then the idea of the scavenger hunt was born.
Full speed ahead, put on your eye patch and wake up Sally the parrot, it is time for go on a scavenger hunt! This activity is great for students of all ages. I did this activity with preschool (supported by parent) and school aged students to address articulation and language in a fun manner.
Doing a scavenger hunt was not only a motivating and different activity from where we normally do, but it is also a great way for our students to see that their target sounds are all around them. This concepts helps to attach meaning to why it is important that we work on sounds in the first place!
-Prior to the session, I gathered a list of words that may be found within a household that targeted their articulation sound or phonological pattern. At the start of the session, I wrote out the list, sent the list to their parent, and set a timer for 5 minutes. The student and parent had 5 minutes to either take pictures or gather all the items on the list. After the time was up, we reviewed all the items that were found practicing at the word, phrase (“I found a ….”), and sentence levels.
-To make the activity a bit more challenging for school aged students, they were only given their target sound and had 5 minutes to find as many items in their house containing that sound. To up the ante, I would also use that 5 minutes to search as well. We would compare our lists to see who found the most words. The words were then practiced at the word, phrase, and sentence level depending on their goal.
-Students were given several categories (qualitative, function, location) and given 5 minutes to search for items that fell within the provided categories. When they returned after the 5 minutes, they would explain what they found and formulate a description of the items found using a variety of different concepts. Preschool students would express descriptors in words, while school aged students would formulate sentences.
Just because we are behind screens, doesn’t mean we cannot have fun. The laughs and pirate jokes that happened during these sessions (especially with my “ahhrrr” articulation kids) made the learning experience positive and rewarding. Land ho and full speed ahead speech scavenger hunters!
Author: Courtney Penaranda MS, CCC-SLP