*AAC inclusion: Make sure you have appropriate language programmed into your devices. We even like to have a print out for each activity to help give visual choices and examples for all of the kids. To guide your planning, think about the general ways in which kids would be asked to participate (commenting, answering questions, descriptive words, story retell, requests, etc.).
Story time - The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin
This SLP favorite, written by Joe Troiano, is a story about a cube ("square")-shaped pumpkin that can't roll around and play like all of the other pumpkins. One night, a storm causes a turn of events which leads to Spookley saving the day. After the farmer finds out, he uses Spookley's seeds to grow a whole field of pumpkins of all sorts of shapes and colors. I love the message even more than all of the great break-out activities that go with the book. The original book comes with a CD that has a recorded reading of the book - unfortunately, those tend to get lost over time - but fear not! There is now an app that does exactly that. The app not only reads the story, but also has sound responses when different objects in the pictures are touched. This can offer a way for verbal and non-verbal children to participate and/or comment during the reading. Right now it is on sale for $.99, check it out here.
BREAK OUT ACTIVITIES:
Using a ball/sphere and a cube, try rolling them to explore what the book describes. Have the children make predictions, describe the results, play out the story, roll them different ways, etc. I like to start with the two shapes, and then add others (pyramids, cones, all of them)!
DIY Pumpkin Patch
Have the children each build their own unique pumpkin with cut outs of paper. Let them choose their own shape, color, size, and either draw or paste on faces. I like to attach them to a "Pumpkin patch" along the wall in the therapy room (letting the kids choose the perfect spot for their pumpkin), but you could also have them create their own on one sheet of paper to take home. You can work on facial features (eyes nose mouth), requesting, pragmatics (everyone's choices are different), descriptive words, language expansions, executive function (give them all materials and let them plan out the steps), and so much more!
I love getting gourds to play within October - not only are they super cool, but they are perfect exemplars of real life pumpkin diversity. I got these gems at Trader Joe's, where they were being sold for $.69 or $.99 each, depending on the variety. Gourds are perfect for working on descriptions and comparisons, basic concepts, categorization, following instructions (following rules for passing around the pumpkins, finding the described pumpkin, placing the pumpkins according to instructions, etc.). You can have fun rolling pumpkins ( which rolls better?), playing pumpkin bowling, and making play-dough faces on the pumpkins.
We would love you hear about your favorite fall activities in the comments!
“Autumn carries more gold in its pocket than all the other seasons.”
― Jim Bishop