My favorite therapy material is a water balloon pump! These can be found at a variety of stores, but I linked the one I have from amazon here ($14.99).
What goals can I target?
You can target almost ANY goal with this simple activity!
Joint attention: Cause and effect toys and activities are a great way to target joint attention. When you push the handle, the balloon gets bigger!
Requesting: The child can request the color, size, what they want to do with the balloon, and if they want to make another balloon.
Ask the child, “Do you want pink or blue?”, “Should we make it big or small?”, “Should we tie it, or let it go?”.
Increasing MLU: Expand the student’s utterance into a longer one:
“I want blue”, “Make it big”, “Make it bigger”, “Put it on”, “Tie it please”, “Let it go”, “Let it fly”, “I want more”.
Colors: Make different colored balloons
Size: Make a big balloon and a small balloon
Length: Stretch the balloon before blowing it up to make it “long and short”
Direction: When pumping you have to pump “up and down”
Positional: Hide the balloon- where is the balloon? “Under the table”
Speed: Pump it “fast” or “slow”
Articulation: Say the target word each time you pump
Verbs: pump, blow, pop, throw, push
Following directions: “Put the balloon on the table”, “Bring me the pink balloon”
These are just a few ideas, but there are endless ways to incorporate this activity!
Use in person or over teletherapy!
I was working with a preschool student that refused to participate and shut down if asked a question or if he was provided with a task. After four weeks of working with this student via teletherapy, I could not elicit a sound, word, or gesture. I tried the balloon activity with him and he spontaneously said “GO”! I was close to tears and so was his mom. This activity follows a play routine and elicits language in a fun and natural way!