By Peter Kao
Using art and craft projects in your therapy is a great way to keep kids engaged while they practice their speech and language skills. Creating visual art has been shown to increase verbal output and nonverbal communication, specifically in children with autism spectrum disorders (Round, Baker, & Raynor, 2017).
Recommended age: 6 years and up
To create this Crafty Creation, you will need the following materials (most of which should be available at your local craft store):
Prefabricated craft foam gingerbread figure cutouts
Assorted 3-D rhinestone stickers
Assorted colors of decorative tape*
Googly eyes (optional)
* Certain kinds of tape don’t have enough adhesive to stick to the craft foam. Colored electrical tape, decorative duct tape, or drawing with markers can be good alternatives.
Below is a list of how speech and language skills that can be targeted using this craft.
Articulation / Phonology: Every 5-10 productions adds a decorative item to the gingerbread man.
Expressive Language: Labeling body parts, requesting, using descriptive language (describing where items are placed, what the gingerbread figure looks like).
Upper elementary, middle, and high school students may create a story about their gingerbread characters.
Receptive Language: Following multiple step directions.
Literary tie-in: Read or watch a telling of the classic folktale, The Gingerbread Man.
This would be a great extension for students working on retelling stories , answering wh-questions, identifying main idea, and inferencing/predicting.
Round, A., Baker, W. J., & Rayner, C. (2017). Using Visual Arts to Encourage Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder to Communicate Their Feelings and Emotions. Open Journal of Social Sciences, 5(10), 90
Peter Kao, MS, CCC-SLP is a speech-language pathologist working in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His interests include early childhood language, fluency, and voice disorders. You may contact Peter on LinkedIn.