Valentine's Day Themed Lesson Plans for Speech Therapy
I can’t believe that it’s almost Valentine’s Day! The pandemic has certainly had an effect on the way time feels, last February feels like a lifetime ago but at the same time, how in the world is it already almost Valentine's Day again?! Valentine’s Day is a fun holiday to target and celebrate in therapy because of its adaptability and it's message! I love teaching Valentine's Day as a way to show kindness to all and bring joy and love to the people who mean the most to us. Here are some of my favorite ideas for Valentine’s Day Lesson Plans:
Heart Sun Catchers: These colorful hearts brighten up any therapy space! I love to make these with my students and I usually make them several times throughout the year to match different seasons, themes and holidays. You’ll need black cardstock/construction paper, scissors, colorful tissue paper, and contact paper. Cut out an outline of a heart using the black paper, and stick it to one sheet of contact paper. I usually prep and cut the contact paper and the shape outlines ahead of time to save time in therapy. Give your students small pieces of tissue paper and have them cover the inside of the heart. Use this opportunity to target different speech-language goals like following directions, speech sounds, phonological processes, “wh” questions, yes/no questions, grammar, vocabulary goals, etc. You can have your students earn pieces of tissue paper as they complete speech tasks, or simply go through some targets while they craft. Once they have filled in their hearts with tissue paper, place another sheet of contact paper over top (sticky side to sticky side) to seal the heart together. Cut out around the black, leaving a little bit of an edge so the contact paper can stick to itself and voila! I tape them up to my window, but I've also hung them around my room using a hole punch and some string. It’s helpful to write the student’s names on the back of the heart in white crayon/pencil before they start so they can remember which one is theirs when it’s time to take them home!
Valentine’s Day Headbands: I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I absolutely adore tiny humans in funny headbands/hat crafts. These Valentine’s Day Headbands are a great way to target articulation and phonology goals while crafting in therapy. Students can decorate and color their headbands while targeting speech sounds and productions!
Q-Tip Hearts: Cut out hearts on construction paper or cardstock, then have your students create designs by painting dots with Q-Tips! You can use white or color paper to start, and have your students choose the colors they want to add. This could be a fun way to target patterns for pre-k and kindergarten students, and can be a great way to follow directions for all students. I love how functional following directions activities can be during crafts, and that you can mix up the complexity of directions easily depending on your students goals or skill levels.
There are so many other Valentine’s Day craft ideas; I would love to hear what you make with your students during the month of February!
Feed the Monster: Bring in old tissue boxes and have your students decorate and create their own Valentine’s Monsters. Use construction paper, googly eyes, fuzz balls, pipe cleaners, whatever craft supplies you have on hand to make the monsters but make sure you leave an opening for the mouth to feed. Then target whatever speech and language goals you’re working on and for correct responses give your students a heart to feed to the monster! Or print out pictures of other food items, or use play food items to see if the monster likes other things besides hearts! My students love to be silly with these types of games to see what kinds of food combinations they can come up with to feed the monster. Sometimes I’ll hold the box and shake it until the monster “spits it out” if it truly is a disgusting combination. Whoever can feed the monster the most food or items wins!
Bean Bag Heart Toss: Place different hearts around your therapy space of different colors, different sizes, etc., to play bean bag toss! You can write different categories, parts of speech, synonyms, antonyms, artic sounds, etc. Smaller hearts or hearts that are farther away can be worth higher point values, or simply make them all the same. Take turns targeting different speech-language goals or tasks and toss bean bags to earn points for every bag that lands on a heart. Keep track of points and see who can get the highest score!
Bouncing Hearts: I recently invested in some ping pong balls to use as snowballs during some Winter and Arctic themed games, but now they can come in handy during a Valentine’s Day game too! Take a box and cut out a heart shaped hole (the bigger the heart, the easier it will be to bounce balls into so cut the size depending on your caseload and student population.) You could paint the box to be festive for this holiday, or even use wrapping paper. I find that Exacto knives are easiest to use when cutting things into specific shapes like a heart. Students can earn ping pong balls by completing different speech-language targets. You can set a designated amount (once all kids earn 10) or set the task for a specific amount of time (however many they can earn in 5 minutes) then take turns bouncing the ping pong balls off the table into the heart. Whoever can get the most balls through the heart wins!
Valentine’s Day Bingo: There are some great free printable options for Valentine’s Day Bingo, but I love this one from Oriental Trading because it allows me to target different Valentine’s vocabulary easily with my students! I’ve used the conversation candy hearts as bingo markers in the past and then let my students snack on them after the game or what’s great about this set is that you can use dry erase markers on it! Makes it super easy to clean in between sessions! Do your students like bingo?! We have at least one bingo day for every major holiday and my students always look forward to it!
Valentine Mail Delivery: Have you ever had those students who were so active and energetic, you had a hard time keeping them engaged during therapy?! Giving students jobs and responsibilities throughout their day can be so motivating and gives them opportunities for breaks throughout their day. Valentine’s Day is the perfect way to combine therapy goals, thematic activities and increase the responsibility for some of our students! I love to have my students create Valentines or letters to send to students or teachers in different classrooms. I keep file folders or big envelopes in my therapy space for each classroom that students can put complete Valentines into once they’ve addressed them. Before we go out to deliver our envelopes we talk about the different pragmatic language skills that we will need while delivering our mail. Teaching students how to interrupt appropriately, gain someone’s attention, and effectively explain what they are doing are areas that I find a lot of my students need extra support with! It’s so much fun to see them put these skills to use in a practical, functional setting and its so much more impactful than acting out different social scenarios in our therapy room. Mail delivery is a job I’ve given to students at all points of the school year. Ever have a day where for no particular reason you just want to pull your hair out and call it a day?! Boom. Go deliver a letter. Write a note that just says something like “You can throw this out when we’re done, but please act like it was vital for my student to give this to you.” I’ve never had a teacher question it. We’ve all had those days right?! We've gotta help each other out!
Broken Heart Puzzles: This is such a fun way to target language skills in a different format and with a theme! You’ll need colorful paper, scissors and a dark marker. Cut out hearts of various sizes and colors. Then cut them in half using different lines, shapes and styles; you basically want to make it into a puzzle piece! Then, depending on your student’s goals, write different targets on each side of the heart. For “wh” questions, write the question on one piece and the answer on the other, kids have to match up the correct question to its answer and in doing so, they’ll complete the puzzle! You could also do this with synonyms, antonyms, homophones, rhyming words, and so much more! If you have students that love games, make it a race! See you can match all of the hearts together the fastest. To make it more challenging, make all of the hearts the same color, that way students really have to look at the language targets to match them together, and can’t sort just based off of the color of paper.
Here are some of my other resources I love to use with a Valentine’s Day Theme:
And check out these fun Valentine’s Day Freebies here: