There are certain toys and tools you hear about in grad school and run out to get them. You just HAVE to have them in order to be a fun and effective therapist. Then there are some things you learn about as you practice and wonder how you ever got by before them!
Generally, the toys and games you buy will depend on the age of the population with which you work. I have found that the majority of these items are necessary for any age client! ***This post contains affiliate links.
1. Non-Stick Scissors: No matter where your career has taken you, you’re likely using hook and loop fastener. Whenever possible, I use the coins. (Find my favorite, inexpensive coins here!) There are some times, however, that you need a longer strip or a small piece. For these times, we end up cutting the strips. I swear, the glue on there could stick to the moon! I used to have a pair of scissors with a piece of tape on the handle, which I designated as my “Velcro scissors”. I’d clean them (with a greasy substance, like WD-40 or Goo-Gone) every 3-4 months but, between cleanings I would endure the carpal-tunnel-causing cutting motion. Then I found non-stick scissors!
They REALLY WORK! I’ve cut many sticky substances and they’re still sharp and gunk-free!
2. Two-hole Punch: I originally needed a two-hole punch to punch my data sheets and attendance calendars that I keep in each student’s folder. Then I realized how useful they are for other things!
I use it to bind allllllll of my interactive books. They’re also great when you’re making banners (either to hang in your speech room or for your own private events at home!) because then you know the string is threaded evenly on all of the pennants.
3. EZPZ Craft Mat I learned about this mat at ASHA. They make one for feeding that was developed by an SLP. The rubbery material makes it non-slip while working on a table. I work with preschoolers and don’t do feeding therapy, so I find the “Flower Play Mat” to be the most useful. It fits a standard sheet of paper on it and has little bowls for all of the embellishments that you will need.
Inevitably when crafting with my preschoolers, they reach across to put glue on top of the paper, their sleeve catches their paper, and everything moves. This mat prevents that! The bowl can hold paint, glue, googley eyes, buttons, glitter, paper cutouts, and anything else you might need. It’s a real game-changer in terms of crafts.
4. Circle Punches I do SO many crafts with my students. Many of them require that I pre-cut paper. Whenever I need to cut out circles, I make sure to use my circle punches! This isn’t your standard hold punch that you use to add a book ring; these come in a variety of sizes. (They’re sold at every craft story in the scrapbooking aisle.) My most used sizes are the 1 inch and the 3 inch. I’ve used them to cut out coins for my pirate treasure chest, various sized snowballs for snowmen, and dots for a ladybug craft.
There are punches for a variety of shapes, not just circles. But, I find circles to be the most versatile! (And they’re a pain in the butt to cut by hand!)
I hope you’ve found some new tools to add to your SLP bag of tricks. Is there any “secret” material/tool that you use that you think we SLPs should know about?! Leave a comment and let me know!