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How to use Open Ended Scenes with Mini Objects in Speech Therapy

Open ended scenes can easily become one of your go to speech therapy activities because this no prep activity is so versatile and engaging for students of all ages.You can use open ended scenes to target a variety of goals and in a variety of ways.

All you need are some open ended scenes and some mini objects. Use your favorite erasers, mini objects, pom poms, game tokens - anything you wish!

TIP: I get my mini erasers from Amazon, Dollar Stores, Walmart, and Michaels!

You can target goals by talking about the scene or about the mini object you are using. Not all suggestions will be appropriate for every students. Remember to use your clinical judgement as to what is suitable for your speech therapy caseload!

  • Once the scene is complete, play “I Spy” and describe items on the scene.

  • Incorporate goals while putting away the mini items (e.g. saying the word again, identifying by describing)/

  • Use as a barrier scene by printing two copies of the scene. You will need two of each mini you use. Place a barrier between you and the child. Take turns giving directions and completing a scene. Use the concepts/goals that you are targeting. Compare your completed scenes.

  • Place mini items in a bag and pick them out, one at a time.

  • Create a mini sensory bin, using a small plastic container and any sensory bin fillers you have. Your student can pick items out of the bin to place on the scene.

  • Create a story about the scene once the mini objects are in place.

  • Place minis in fillable eggs or boxes. Once opened, place the mini on the scene.

  • Place minis around the room. This is great for following directions (e.g. find two minis), spatial concepts (e.g. find a mini that is ON the book), for verbs (CRAWL to find a mini), or just for a movement break! Once you find them, place them on the scene.

  • Use TWO scenes to sort items into scenes or to create a story with different settings.

There are so many speech therapy goals you can target while creating and setting up your open ended scenes. I have included some ideas for expressive language goals and receptive language goals for you!

WH Questions: • What is it? • What is it? • Who uses it? • Who wouldn’t like it? • Where do you find it? • Where is it on the scene? • When do you see it? • When do you use it? • Why would we need it?

Categorizing: Use the open ended sorted mats OR use two scenes to sort objects (e.g. spring items vs. winter items)

Describing: Prior to placing a mini item on the scene, ask the student to describe it. Once the scene is complete, play “I Spy” and describe items on the scene. Place a few minis in front of you and have the student describe the mini they want.

Spatial Concepts: Place the item_(on/near,etc.) an item on the scene. Place the item _____ another mini object. Ask the child ‘where is the mini object?’. Ask the child ‘where is ____ in the scene?’ Find something in the scene that is _(on/ near,etc.) an item in the scene.

Pronouns: Give a mini to the the girl/boy/animal in the scene. Depending on how you ask the question, you can elicit the pronoun you are targeting (e.g. WHO wants it? She does. WHO is eating? She is.)

Speech Sounds: Choose mini items that include your student’s speech sound targets.

Compare/Contrast: Choose two+ minis to compare/contrast with each other or something in the scene.

If you are looking for a huge variety of open ended scenes (and visuals to go with them), make sure to check out my Mini Object Open Ended Scenes. I included scenes for holidays, seasons, special themes and more.

Interested in more play based therapy ideas, access to freebies (like the ones below) and special offers?

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