Language Therapy, Random Therapy Ideas

“Block” Out Time for Fun Therapy!

Looking for a great activity to test any or all of the following?

  • Reception and Expression of Locatives
  • Independently Initiated Instructions Produced by Your Peds Client
  • Shape Awareness
  • Color Awareness
  • Ability to Follow Directions
  • Size Differentiation

Start With: 

  • Some kind of barrier (a portable easel works well for this).  In my example I used 2 cook books…perhaps not the ideal barrier, but no easels lying around my house…
  • 2 identical sets of blocks (one set for you and one set for the child).  In each set, no 2 blocks should be the same.  You might include one big brown square block, one small blue square block, one tall red cylindrical block, one large green triangular block, one small orange triangular block, one yellow circular block, etc.  This is all assuming you want to gather information about shape, color, AND size differentiation in the child.  You can just as easily isolate one of these concepts (like shapes) by only including one color of blocks in various shapes, but without any repeats based on size (i.e. one square, one triangle, one cylinder, one circle, one bridge).  Each of the 2 identical sets might look something like this:

The Set-Up: Put the barrier between you and the child, and then distribute the 2 sets of blocks (1 set for you and 1 set for him/her).  Give them a minute to look through their blocks, so they become familiar with each one.  Make sure they know the names of the shapes before you start the activity, or you’ll be double-sad!

Ready, Set, GO: 

  • In stage 1, YOU (the SLP) will be the builder and the client is the listener.  Each time you put a block down, you describe where you put it based on locative terms that are relative either to the barrier or to other blocks.  The client should then follow that direction on their side with their blocks.  An example of directions might look like this:
  1. Put the big brown square next to the barrier.
  2. Put the big brown triangle next to the big brown square.
  3. Put the little yellow circle on top of the big brown square.
  4. Put the red cylinder between the big brown square and the big brown triangle
  5. …on and on until all the blocks are in place
  6. THEN, you remove the barrier and talk about whether the formations are the same or different.  ***REMEMBER*** the formations can be different even if the kid followed your directions correctly.  There’s more than one way to put something “next to” another thing (you can always add in right/left if the client is at that level), so encourage discussion about the fact that they might look a little different, but they still have blocks in the right places compared to other blocks.  See my picture for an example of how this might play out: different-looking formations, but technically both are correct!

  • In stage 2, you let the client be the one giving the directions, and you try to follow what they say.  Once all the blocks have been placed, remove the barrier once again and discuss the outcomes.

Kids are really likely to buy into this activity, and you’ll be gathering all kinds of fantastic data!  Depending on the complexity you choose to imbed into the activity, you can get some rich information about lots of different language concepts!  Enjoy!

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