We all love the Olympics for many reasons, but as a speech therapist or a parent, the Olympics provide wonderful opportunities for enriching our therapy activities!
There is just so much to talk about. Here are some fun ideas for therapy activities this week.
I hope this will get your mind moving, because honestly this is just the tip of the ice rink. (Get it?!)
Use this list of 16 Olympic events (8 summer and 8 winter events).
Cut each event out and place two side by side. Have the children compare and contrast the difference between each sport.
(Example: team vs. individual, cold vs. warm, using objects vs. just using your body, etc).
Get two paper cups and write "winter" on one and "summer" on the other. Using the same list of Olympic events, have the child organize each event by placing it in the correct cup.
Have the children look at a map of the world and talk about the different countries that compete in the Olympics. Use this picture of athletes from different countries; cut each person out.
Have the child place each athlete where they belong on the map (using tape if the map is hanging, or the map can lay flat on the desk).
These are also great problem solving/executive functioning activities.
This is my FAVORITE of all these Olympic activities!
There are websites that keep an updated list of medal counts per country, in a perfect little easy-to-understand table, they can be found with a simple Google search. (This gets me all excited for the plentiful therapy opportunities!)
And this website has free flag printables for every country. YAY!
So...use the top five or ten countries, print their flags, and have the children put them in order using the table as their guide.
You can write the names of the countries right on the flag because most likely the children won't know which flag is which (and most likely I won't either!) haha!
You can send a few flags for homework and have the children figure out with their parents where each country is placing that evening.
There is often so much emotion in the face of an athlete!
This is a great opportunity to discuss emotions and pragmatics. Pictures of athletes competing in the Olympics are plentiful on the internet and in magazines!
Use the pictures below or find some of your own which portray emotions on the athletes faces and ask the kids how they think the athletes are feeling.
Images courtesy of Yahoo! Sports
With or without the use of pictures, use the following questions with children who have expressive language goals (describing/explaining as well as answering open ended questions) and emotion/pragmatic goals.
This website is a great resource, filled with Olympic facts and downloads. Read and/or discuss facts about the Olympics with your students based on their ages and abilities.
Then have the student write things that they learned inside the rings in this printout. Send home for homework to work on retell/recall.
Have the children stand up. Tell them they are Olympians for the day! Give them the following directions...
Of course these are ideas; tailor the directions to the level of the student you are working with!
And if you have more space in your room, you can have them do things like somersaults and cartwheels. (Or simply move into the hallway for more fun!)
I saw a very cute pin on Pinterest which had an ice cream cone standing flat on the table with cheetos coming out the top.
It looked just like an Olympic torch, and you could use the cheetos as a reinforcer.
Also, you could make the students their own medals using foil (they have gold foil at most stores!) and give them their medal for being such a great student.
You could even make necklaces during therapy using fruit loops as reinforcers throughout the session and the medal in the middle.
The ideas are endless!