A Twist on Twister

Today as I picked up my second grader for my first group of the day, he said to me, “My mind is asleep. And my muscles.” I’d been wanting to use the game “Twister” in therapy for a while – my mom even got it for me for Christmas because she knew I’d put a call out on Facebook for someone’s hand me down. I used the opportunity to get this little guy up and moving with some Twister, rather than the usual table work.

He and the 5th grade girl that he comes with both work on giving definitions. I made this visual for them, to know what to include when describing/defining items.


It’s been really helpful for both of them. (Download it here on my BoardmakerShare. There’s also some Valentine’s & St. Patrick’s day plurals Bingo boards that I made on there.) The 5th grader has it memorized, because I taped it (the small strip on the right) to her desk. The colors are arbitrary; I made them correspond with a lacing bead set that I have from Melissa and Doug.  The stringing of the beads makes for some added input/reinforcement when teaching the poster/skill.

Today, I laid out the Twister mat on the floor and grabbed a random Super Duper artic deck (/ch/).  We put one card on each circle on the Twister board.

Then, I spun the spinner and gave them a 2 step direction with a lot of qualifiers to pick up a card.  For example, “Use your right hand to pick up a card from a blue circle.”  FYI – I didn’t have them pick up cards with their feet.  If it landed on left/right foot, I just said hand.

The student had to give me the definition of the item on the card.  I had my describing poster on the table if they needed to refer to it.  Then, after they defined it, I gave them each a colored bear manipulative to mark their “spot”.  First one to get 4 in a row won.

Notice the bears on the spots.

I made a rule at the very beginning of the session not to step on the mat (since they had shoes on – yuck! I hate dirt.  And feet.)  They really had fun traversing the perimeter of the mat, especially when they had to reach to the middle for a blue or yellow space.

I plan to do some more Twister stuff with my kindergarten group tomorrow.  Stay tuned!

I also know that many people struggle to find things to do with the more severely language impaired populations.  I’ve written before about the co-teaching OT/Speech sensory lessons I have done with my intellectually disabled students (i.e. the hand print turkeys here).

The OT, Colleen, and I decided to make sensory snow globes today.  We used the “Pod” water bottles because they are easier to grip.

We were planning on using rice, but last night I got the bright idea to use sugar because it looks more like snow.  So this morning I grabbed my big bag of sugar and was on my way.  Before our group, Colleen came and got the sugar from me so she could prep for the lesson.  A couple minutes later I got an email: “Did you mean to bring flour?”  OOOPS!  Haha I burst out laughing because I was SO proud of myself for thinking ahead and setting it out ahead of time.  Oh well; we went with rice as originally planned.

Colleen also had a GREAT collection of “junk” (excuse the term) that we used as the “I Spy” goodies inside.  There was a variety of beads, plastic coils, pipe cleaners, etc.  We added some glitter and voila!  They came out SO cute!  The kids were enthralled by them, too!  We worked on following directions, like “scoop”, “pour”, “put in”, “put on”, etc. We also targeted colors and verbs (“shake”).  Colleen had a variety of cups, funnels, and containers for scooping.  It was great.  Here they are:

What re-purposed games have you used?  Or, how do you get your kids up and moving when table work just won’t cut it?  How do you work with your most serve students – those for whom flashcards just don’t cut it?



  1. says

    Seriously awesome! Love it! Love Twister 🙂 I wish I had a space to do this in.. One of the preschool teachers I work with has Twister, but I don't have my own room to work in, which makes it tricky. Great idea, though, love it!

  2. says

    I LOVE using Twister in my therapy sessions! Even when I didn't have an office, I just did it in the hallway (folded in half of course…no fire hazards for me!). I have been using this game for 10 years in therapy…there are so many “twists” you can do with it! I actually sent a small guest post blurb to Busy Bee Speech about using Twister which will be posted at the end of this month (on the 31st I think)…so check it out if you are looking for more ways to use this super fun game. Of course you'll see my OLD version of Twister since I've had it forever. Ha! Also love the sensory snow globe idea. I made some for my son when he was an infant and he really LOVED them! GREAT for nonverbal kiddos and early development. Nice post!

  3. says

    Thank you so much for posting ideas for kids with severe language impairments. I work with middle school children in a life skills class and really struggle with coming up with activities. I have done gen ed artic and language for 15 years but this new class is quite a challenge to me.

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