Thanksgiving is right around the corner … and buckle up, because here comes the holiday season – a time of year when it can be especially challenging to keep students engaged and interested in their academic and therapy activities.

For the month of November, incorporate some Thanksgiving-themed elements into your therapy plans. Besides being a lot of fun, they can be perfect for targeting fine motor, gross motor, sensory development and other critical skills.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

Play Thanksgiving Yatta

When children play Yatta, they often forget that they’re learning at the same time. You can change the Yatta theme to align with any season of the year – and use it for almost any type of skill training. “See it, say it and find it” is a great way to improve in areas such as letter/sound fluency.

Write with “Turkey Feathers”

Begin by talking about and imagining life in the day and age of the Pilgrims, when there were no pencils or crayons, and people used quills to write. Provide some “turkey feather” quills for your students to work with. The novelty will pique their interest as it helps them hone their skills.

Use Story Beads

Story beads make learning and therapy a lot more enticing. Use them as you focus on the Thanksgiving story. When you’re finished, students can take their bead bracelets home and share their school experience with their families.

Talk Turkey!

Use magnifying glasses to let students play “Turkey I Spy.” They can look for and then pronounce words from a picture of a turkey or other Thanksgiving image. Then, give them a black-and-white version of the same image that they can color and work on at home.

Have Fun with Play-Doh Mats

Play-Doh is a terrific motivator for students to work with their hands and strengthen their fine motor muscles. Use mats with pumpkins, leaves and other seasonal themes. Tie in a little math and have children make Play Doh balls and solve equations; for instance, 13 balls + 7 balls = 20 balls. The mat can also have large numbers printed on it, so students can roll and shape Play-Doh into the correct shapes.

Use Your Sensory Table

For the month of November, reserve your sensory table for shucking corn and working with acorns. This is an excellent use of fine motor muscles. Add some scales and magnifying glasses, so students can further explore, compare and measure the acorns and ears of corn.

Tell a Turkey Story

Give students some simple prompts and have them tell a Thanksgiving story. For example, you could print out coloring pages, stick puppets or clip art images related to the holiday.

Make Memory Matches

Create a Thanksgiving themed memory game where students can help color in the pictures. You can add in some Bingo fun and use this as a great way to reinforce vocabulary and related skills.

Need some additional ideas to keep your school-based therapy plans fresh throughout the year? Or, are you looking to take your career to a new level? Either way, turn to the expert team at Cobb Pediatric Therapy Services. Read our related posts or contact us today to learn more.

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