At Communication Works, we love to embrace holidays and special events as teachable moments for speech, language, and social/emotional goals. With Valentine’s Day coming up, we wanted to share some creative ideas from our CW therapists:
From Brianna: In my social groups, I do a lesson on compliments for Valentine’s Day. We talk about what the word means, why people like to give and receive compliments (i.e., perspective taking or putting oneself into another person’s shoes), and how to give a compliment that’s personal (but not TOO personal! ). Then I give the kids small slips of paper with hearts drawn on them, and they write anonymous compliments to their classmates, which I read for the class. It’s an enjoyable and feel-good lesson for everyone.
Paper Hearts Template
From Elizabeth: I like to teach the concept of “paying it forward.” The idea is to repay an act of kindness that someone has done for you by helping someone else. It’s a way of promoting compassion and caring by taking concrete action. To develop the concept of paying it forward, we read the book Have You Filled a Bucket Today? A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids by Carol McCloud. For more information on bucket filling and free downloads and resources, visit BucketFillers101.com.
I also gave students Pay It Forward cards to encourage them to practice doing nice things for others and then asking those other people to pay it forward with a thoughtful act of their own. These exercises are perfect for Valentine’s Day and every day of the year.
Pay-It-Forward cards by BusyKidsHappyMom.org
From Jillian: Using holiday-themed books in your therapy session or at home can be a lot of fun. My favorite Valentine’s Day book is The Day It Rained Hearts by Felicia Bond. This book is filled with great ideas for both articulation and language-based goals. I always go through a book and find words that have sounds that my kiddos are working on for their articulation goals such as /k/ for kiss. I come up with fun activities that target those vocabulary terms. I truly think that when Ms. Bond wrote this book, she had speech therapists in mind. She includes so many different uses of language (including past tense verbs, irregular verbs, sequencing, and predicting) that can be used in both small- and large-group instruction. Pictured are some ideas showing different ways I use this book to help add Valentine’s fun to your family time or therapy sessions.
The Day it Rained…Initial/k/Words by Jillian Carlson
Other FREE Downloads
Speech Sprouts – 30 Valentines Day Speech Therapy Freebies You’ll Love!
Teachers Pay Teachers – Valentine Conversation Tracker
We hope parents and therapists alike will try out some of these ideas with the children in their lives. Have a sweet Valentine’s Day filled with kindness and learning!