We might be occupational and physical therapists, but we can spot a great language activity from a mile away! We’re very lucky to work with some incredible speech language pathologists who amaze us by working speech, communication, social, and cognitive skills into unique, creative activities for kids every day. Today’s activity was created by one of our dear friends, speech language pathologist Julianne Wolf. She came up with this cute speech therapy rhyming activity called The Rhyming Reindeer game as one of her speech therapy activities for the holidays.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED: Clothespins, small “googly eyes”, brown pipe cleaners, small pompom noses (multi-colored), hot glue gun, markers (optional), printable word/picture cards
WHAT TO DO: Make up several clothespin reindeer ahead of time, each with a different colored pompom nose. Glue “googly eyes” toward the bottom of the clothespin and a pompom nose at the tip. Wrap a brown pipe cleaner around the top of the pin to look like antlers. To begin the activity, hand a reindeer clip to each child in the group. Tell the kids that these aren’t just any reindeer…they’re Rhyming Reindeer! The Rhyming Reindeer need to fly and clip onto to the picture of the object that rhymes with the color word of their nose. Show kids how to use their Super Fingers to squeeze their clothespins! Call on one child to go first and hold up two picture choices (e.g. if the child’s reindeer has a red nose, hold up a picture of a ball and a bed). Have the child find and clip his clothespin to the picture that rhymes with the color word of his reindeer’s nose (e.g. red/bed). Continue until all children have had a turn, or if playing with only one child, until all of the reindeer clips have been used.
HOW TO CHANGE IT UP:
-Warm up before the activity by handing out the reindeer clothespins and having kids fly the reindeer to different body parts or in different directions (“Fly your reindeer to your feet! Fly your reindeer to your tummy! Fly your reindeer up! Fly your reindeer down!”)
-Warm up using the following poem, moving the reindeer to match the words:
Reindeer, go, Over the snow, Fast, fast and never slow;
Up and down, Thro’ the town; Go, reindeer, Go, go go!
Reindeer, fly, Up in the sky; Where stars are twinkling high;
O’er the hill, Smooth and still; Fly, reindeer, Fly, fly, fly!
Knee-Jogging RhymeTranslated from the Norwegian Nursery. Adapted By: Terry Kluytmans, 1999. KIDiddles.com
-If kids are not ready for rhyming, the activity can be modified to work on more simple concepts like color matching (clip reindeer to matching color card) or picture identification (have the child clip his reindeer to the requested picture).
-Examples of words used for picture cards: red/bed, green/clean, white/kite, blue/glue, black/back, brown/crown – see printable
-Have kids make their own reindeer clothespins as a crafty lead-in to this activity!
-Don’t have mini pompoms in your craft stash? No problem! Just color with a different colored marker on the back of each clothespin.
SKILL AREAS ADDRESSED: Positional concept terms; receptive identification of body parts, colors, pictures, objects; phonological awareness (rhyming); fine motor skills, visual perceptual skills, cognitive skills
Julianne Wolf holds a Master’s Degree in Communication Disorders from Bowling Green State University. She has been a school-based speech-language pathologist for 4 years and also works as an adjunct clinical educator at the Baldwin Wallace Speech Clinic in Berea, Ohio. During the summers, she splits her time between the Baldwin Wallace Speech Clinic, where she facilitates a camp for children who are non-verbal, and clinical work at the Middleburg Early Education Center in Cleveland, Ohio.