Food Theme Lesson Plans
Real talk: planning for tele-therapy is HARD! Planning for tele-therapy while also planning for in-person therapy that meets COVID safety measures is also HARD! Being a SLP during this unfamiliar, ever-changing school year is HARD! And that is why I love thematic therapy; it helps me have creative, engaging sessions with students even on days when I don’t feel my most prepared or most organized. It’s why I am so excited to share my lesson plan ideas for this theme... Food! (What is more functional than food?!)
It offers so many opportunities for carryover to the classroom, the cafeteria, to student’s homes, to restaurants, birthday parties, the list goes on and on! For those doing tele-therapy, it is a great opportunity to model language use around this theme and topic for parents who might be unsure of how to address speech-language goals at home with their little ones. It also doesn’t require families to have certain toys or books because food is already incorporated into their everyday routines. Let’s jump in!
This week’s theme: FOOD
For all grade levels, I’ll be using my Food Themed Unit because it targets so many different goal areas.
To start, I might use one of the vocab mats and have the students go on a scavenger hunt around their house! If parents don’t want student’s going through the fridge or pantries to find foods from different categories (understandable right?!) I’ll use the appliance vocab mat to see how many items students can find in their kitchen. Anything that gets kids up and moving during a day of remote learning is a huge win! It’s a great opportunity to use carrier phrases like “I see a…” or “I have a…” and also use descriptive language to talk about differences in color, size, function, etc. Then the students can annotate to color in the items they see at their house, and if they can’t use that feature I’ll have them direct me how to color it, creating more great opportunities for language use!
If you are not providing tele-therapy, a great in-person warm up could be the Core Vocabulary Sorting Mats. I like to prep and laminate the pieces ahead of time, that way they can be cleaned and used by multiple students, but it could also be a great cut-n-paste activity too! These mats can be utilized by multiple ages too; I might use the fruit vs. vegetable mat with my Pre-K or Kindergarten students, but work on edible vs. non-edible with some of my older students (these also are included in the free Boom cards in the unit!)
After a warm-up and some vocabulary review, I would introduce our book for the day. One of my favorite books that fits with this theme is Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin. Are you familiar with this story?! I absolutely love this book because 1) who doesn’t love tacos?! 2) It’s the perfect amount of silly to keep kids engaged and excited during tele-therapy, and 3) Because it is FULL of amazing language targets! I’m talking adjectives, synonyms, antonyms, and homophones on almost every page! If you have students with vocabulary goals this is a perfect book to incorporate into therapy.
Below are links to a reading of the story as well as my book companion resource that targets vocabulary, “wh” questions, grammar, basic concepts, comparing and contrasting and more! I have always been able to use this story and resource in multiple therapy sessions throughout a week because there are so many different ways to target language goals.
RESOURCE LINK: Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin, Illustrated by Daniel Salmieri
YOUTUBE READ ALOUD LINK: Click Here
Tele-therapy TIP: Make this full screen by downloading onto your computer, opening with Adobe then selecting Full Screen Mode under View at the top. That way, when you’re screen sharing the students can easily focus on just this activity.
Talking about what the Dragons from the story like and don’t like is a great transition into this BOOM deck!
These BOOM Card sentence strips are great for tele-therapy and can be used in so many different ways, but the “I Like” (Food) set goes perfectly with our theme this week. Students can sort through the sensory bin to find different foods hiding, then they can sort them into foods that they like, and foods they do not like. Depending on my students, and their engagement at this point in the session I might start putting unusual combinations together to amp up the silliness, and keep them talking. Sure most kids like pizza but would they like pizza covered with watermelon?!
For my older students, I might use the Real Life describing pictures activity from my Food Themed Unit resource. These pages utilize real photographs and target describing based on grouping, function, appearances, taste, smell, and more! And each picture is linked to a video about that food item which has been so helpful for tele-therapy. My students love learning more about each item, how it is made or what it’s made of.
Food is such a great theme for therapy, that can be used at any time of year! It has so many applications to real life, and familiar routines no matter the skill level of my students. Here are some other great resources to utilize in therapy:
100 Taco Trials from Peachie Speechie
Fast Food Language Search by Stacy Crouse
Core Deck: YES Food Theme by Speech Without Limits
Pizza Preschool Language Unit by Itty Bitty Speech
Fruits and Vegetables by Primary Punch
A Trip to the Grocery Store by The Speech Banana
READ ALOUD BOOKS:
Seven Silly Eaters by Mary Ann Hoberman (better for mid-elementary, lots of great sequencing opportunities, reading facial expressions)
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (perfect for PreK & Kindergarten, target basic concepts, quantitative concepts, labeling, etc.)
Elementary: Koo Koo Kangaroo All I Eat is Pizza
I hope this post was helpful, and that you now have lots of new ideas for Food Themed Speech Therapy! Comment with any of YOUR favorite food themed activities!