Sensory Turkeys

Hi all,

I haven’t updated in 3 weeks – wow, time flies!  I had so many ideas for therapy materials to make and blog posts to write, but then I got engaged.  Suddenly looking at bridesmaids dresses, photographers, florists, centerpieces, and scouring the internet for the perfect yellow shoe has become more fun.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE everything speech and language, but those things are new and slightly more entertaining at the moment.  Now that things have calmed down, I will update you on some of the things I’ve done in therapy the past couple of weeks.

I work with a private client on Mondays.  He is in a self-contained kindergarten, mild apraxic, and also has some artic and language concerns.  This means that basically any activity can be beneficial for him!  He is very into Angry Brids (shocker, I know) and it seems like every week he has a new Angry Birds playset.  This week he had the Angry Birds Star Wars playset and it is absolutely adorable!  I’ve never seen one minute of a Star Wars movie and only have the Angry Birds app as a reinforcer for students/clients, but even I can appreciate this adorable toy!  Here is just one example that I’ve found.  There are other versions of these playsets, too.  If you can get your hands on one, grab it QUICKLY!

The set comes with lots of different pieces to build the “fighter pod” (? I think that’s what it’s called…?).  We used a variety of descriptors when I asked him to request which piece he wanted next: long, green rectangle; short, green rectangle; “T” shape; “L” shape, etc.  (***Other versions of Angry Birds playsets offer other descriptors – there are pieces made of “ice”, “wood”, and more!  I really can’t say enough about these playsets!  The other versions, are cheaper than the Stars Wars one in the link.  I’ve seen them at Walmart for only $15.)  The characters – birds and pigs – also offer a variety of adjectives.  Some wear helmets or goggles and some are white, black, or green.  After he placed his characters in the building, he described to me where he put them: “between the long, green rectangles”, “on top of the letter “L”, etc. The possibilities are endless!

Once all of the pieces were put together and the pigs were in place, he arranged the birds.  We talked about who was first, who he wanted to go next, who came after that, and who was last in line.  This is a great way to reinforce concepts of time/sequence because there are SO many birds that we said, “next …, then …” many times!



Then, we used the “slingshot” (great multisyllabic word – who knew it was actually functional!) to shoot the birds into the structure we had built.  I think it’s technically a catapult, but slingshot works to.  We talked about what we hit, how much of it was broken, who we knocked over, etc.  We successfully made a huge mess, but it was easy to clean up.  We swept the stuff still on the table into the bin and he ran around and found just how far some of the birds and pigs went – under the easel, next to the Elmo chair, next to the desk, etc.

SO much language was elicited and it was all so natural.  Using the pictures I took, I put them into my “Making Sequences” app and we reviewed all that we had done with the toy.  This is a great way to expand utterances.  I hope he gets a new set every week!

On another Angry Birds note, I made my own Angry Birds barrier game with an adorable free printable I found on pinterest.  Here is the link to the pin on my board.  I used Avery brand magnet sheets to print the sheets, cut each piece out (time consuming, but worth it!) and used my barrier board from a Super Duper set I had.  The kids loved it!  It’s cheaper than buying a playset and just as effective.  I don’t have a picture, but you can see the potentinal by clicking the pin.  They came out beautifully!

At my school, we have a very large self-contained, low incidence population.  With one of the classes, the OT and I do a shared lesson.  We try to make it themed/seasonal and love brainstorming ideas to incorporate sensory (touch and smell!) and language.
With our intellecutally disabled class, we made sensory handprint turkeys!
I know, the handprint turkey is a little played out.  But, I promise – we put a new spin on it!  And these kids need the tracing/hand use practice!
We traced ours onto sand paper, then made each “feather” a different texture using common craft items: cotton balls, foam stickers, pom poms, feathers, and homemade glitter glue (which is not yet dry in the picture below).  To save time, the adults in the room cut out the turkeys as we moved to help the next student trace.  Having the OT there helps because with these kiddos we need all hands on deck to keep them in their seats, attending to the lesson, and remaining on task.  There are also 3 other adults in the room (1 classroom teacher, 2 intructional assistants), so sometimes it might work out to be a one on one ratio!

We talked about: colors, how things feel, shapes and used vocabulary like: leaves, feathers, turkey, etc.  These are my most severely language-delayed students, half of which are non-verbal, but they surprise even me with their level of participation when they actually like what we are doing!   This worked so well, I’m going to do a similar version (sans handprint) with some other students.

I hope you enjoyed these ideas and find a way to use them in your own speech rooms!  Have a good short week at school!



  1. says

    Thanks! Ahhh – those are exactly the ones I want! Now I just need to find yellow shoes for the bridesmaids, as well. I don't want to make them all spend $80 on a shoe they will wear once… Payless discontinued their dyeable line 🙁 Any suggestions?!

  2. says

    Congratulations on your engagement! I got engaged last Thanksgiving and married last June…it was crazy trying to plan everything while working, good luck! I didn't involve yellow, so can't be help in that department (sorry).

    Talking With Rebecca

    PS. I love how you involved Angry Birds…my students can't get enough of them!

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