Well, I had three cancellations today which allowed me some extra time to get a Starbuck's and cruise through Dollar Tree for fun therapy tools/toys. Dollar Tree is, hands down, one of THE best places to find things to use for feeding or speech/language activities. Today, I was on a mission to find fun food tools for our spring Much Bunch group(s).
Here is what I found today; drink parasols, bunny "picks", plastic multi-colored appetizer(because I have no idea how to spell the French word for this and am too lazy right now to look it up) "toothpicks" , Easter muffin cups,a green harmonica, and multi-colored crazy straws. How will we use these you ask? I'm happy to tell you....
For tomorrow's Munch Bunch, we are having a "rainbow of foods" complete with pot of gold (gold foiled Reese cup) at the end. The green "picks"(in honor of St. Patrick's Day) will be used to skewer some of our rainbow foods for FUN and also because some kids just don't like to picky up wet, textured, slimy foods. :) Plus, food just looks so cool when it is served on a skewer!
The crazy straws will be used for children needing to strengthen their "suck", tongue retraction (tongue moving back), lip rounding (important for many sounds) or just to help some of our kiddos "prepare" for eating by working the mouth a bit by waking it up. Different shaped straws work the mouth in different ways (the more twists and turns the harder the work) and are a great, inexpensive and fun way to get your child to do their "speech" homework.
The Bunny "picks" will be used, closer to Easter, to skewer foods. A fun idea is to make a sandwich on a stick....cut small pieces of bread in a shape and then do the same with cheese and meats. Have the child assemble their "sandwich on a stick" using the bunny "pick." Who wouldn't want to eat a sandwich served on a cool bunny stick? Bigger sandwich? Use a bamboo skewer or Shish Ka Bob skewer.
The Easter muffin cups will be used to serve our foods for our Munch Bunch activities. Why? Because food looks way cooler and less scary when it is in a muffin cup. Further, food that comes in a muffin cup is usually very yummy and not scary at all. Probably why I LOVE cupcakes and all kinds of muffins! :)
The harmonica will be used in a therapy session with a chid who needs to work on cause/effect, respiratory control (breath control) and oral motor awareness (figuring out how their mouth works). Horns are great tools for these skills. They don't necessarily help someone to "talk" but they CAN increase awareness of the mouth which you definitely need before you can form sounds for talking.
Lastly, I really don't know how I'm going to use the drink parasols yet.....they just looked really, really neat and I thought I'd figure out some way to use them other than the obvious!
So for a grand total of $6 I have feeding and therapy tools to share with clients that they will actually use. :)
How about you? What fun things do you get at Dollar Tree that you use in therapy or at home?