Speech Therapy Activities for Preschool & Grade School (PBS Edition)

Speech Therapy Activities for Preschool & Grade School (PBS Edition)

Speech Therapy Activities For Preschool And Grade School From PBS Kids

We’ve been spending way too much time on PBS Kids in order to find the most useful speech therapy activities for preschool and grade school children in the hopes that you don’t have to. 

If you’re unfamiliar with PBS, it stands for “Public Broadcasting Service” and it’s a public broadcaster based in the United States, committed to providing the highest quality ad-free programming to the public. You might know them best as the TV distributors of shows for such as Sesame Street, Teletubbies, The Magic School Bus, and Downton Abbey.   

PBS Kids focuses on positive role models and age-appropriate, curriculum-based programming on new and traditional platforms to support children’s imagination and learning. (Source: PBS Kids).

Check out these picks for the best speech therapy activities for preschool and grade school students on PBS Kids. 

This list is non-exhaustive and will continue to be updated. If I missed any of your favorites, please leave a comment at the bottom of the article, it’s always appreciated!

List of Speech Therapy Activities for Preschool:

  1. Sesame Street Grover’s Rhyme Time
Speech Therapy Activities for Preschool & Grade School (PBS Edition)

A fun speech therapy resource for preschoolers and kindergarteners is Grover on the rails as your kids choose the rhyming word, out of three choices, in order to choose the correct train tunnel move on to a game.

The game requires the preschooler or kindergartener to move right and left on the screen with a train car in order to catch falling coins; this activity might work best when students are able to control the screen.

Also, note that there is a significant amount of game time as compared to rhyming questions in Sesame Street Grover’s Rhyme Time.

  1. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, My Fish Tank

Help Daniel Tiger feed the fish. Among other things, the speech therapy activity can be used to:

  1. focus attention, 
  2. expand on expressive language and with 
  3. comparisons (i.e..,  what’s the same about the fish and what’s different about them).

This game is very simple and works well as a remote speech therapy activity for preschool and young kids.

  1. Daniel Tiger’s Guess the Feeling

Daniel Tiger’s Guess the Feeling is a fun, interactive activity for preschool and younger kids targeting social emotional learning. Focusing on the identification of feelings is the first step toward children learning to understand and effectively manage their emotions (Source: ASHA).

In this remote speech therapy activity for preschool, the characters act out the emotion on their “feelings cards.” The different feelings play-acted by the characters include mad, frustrated, sad, brave and happy.

From the PBS Kids website:

“Being able to recognize and name feelings is the very first step in helping children manage their feelings. This game gives children the chance to act out what different feelings look like.”

Daniel Tiger is mad here!! (He then goes on to sing a song about taking a deep breath and counting to four when you’re mad).

Story Creation & Story Retell Speech Therapy Activities 

  1. Pinkcredible Story Maker

First, kids get to choose a main character: Pinkalicious, Peter, Jasmine or Rafael. Additional characters may be added later.

Then choose a scene for the beginning, middle and ending of the story. The choices are: Pinkalicious’ front yard,  bedroom, backyard at night, Main Street, Fairyland Sunrise or the forest.

Kids then choose a character “feeling” for each scene, along with props to aid in their story creation.

Once all three scenes are chosen for the beginning, middle and end of the story, the student is prompted to tell their story, complete with characters, setting, and character feelings.

  1. Sesame Street Storybook Builder

With more structure for your younger students’ story retell, Story Book Builder is set up like an upgraded “Choose Your Own Adventure” book.

Sesame Street’s Story Book Builder is also great for focusing on rhyming words, Story Grammar Elements, character feelings, problem solving and calming strategies. 

First, your kids choose their main character: Elmo, Abby or Cookie Monster. Then the player is prompted to choose a setting: the beach, the carnival, or the park. 

Your student then decides on one of three activities for the main character. Sometimes, things can go wrong (e.g., Abby decides she’s not too sure about the ferris wheel after all!), and the player is asked to choose a character feeling (e.g., nervous or brave). 

Next, your student decides the character’s action, often taking a deep breath or counting to three in order to calm down. Story Book Builder then provides the ending to the story.

When the kids are done, you have the option to reread the story.

As an added bonus, Sesame Street’s Story Book Builder is full of rhyming words too.

And, if you’re working on identifying Story Grammar Elements, you can review the characters, setting, problem, feeling, action, ending and end feeling, of course. 

Or, you can also focus on pragmatics and social emotional skills like deep breathing for anxiety or anger and problem solving strategies. 

  1. Arthur Puppet Theatre: Cinderella 

For another “Choose Your Own Adventure”  method of story-building, check out Arthur Puppet Theatre’s unique rendition of Cinderella.

Students get to choose which character plays each part, the “Main Role,” the “Fairy Helper,” “Prince Charming,” and “Narrator.” 

In Arthur’s Puppet Theatre’s version of Cinderella, students can decide to send Cinderella to the ball in a pumpkin rocket ship instead of the pumpkin carriage and meet Prince Charming OR Prince Megastar, among some other modern and quirky takes on the classic.

The play itself is a bit long, but it can be a useful story retell practice for your more attentive Arthur fans. 

Also, you have the ability to replay the play that you created at the end if your students are really attentive.

You can also check out Arthur Puppet Theatre Goldilocks and the Three Bears and Arthur Puppet Theatre Little Red Riding Hood for additional speech therapy story retell practice.

Vocabulary Speech Therapy Resources

  1. Martha True Stories

Martha Speaks has several “True Stories” on the PBS Kids website which are perfect for practicing vocabulary in context. 

The books are all interactive and nonfiction, and can engage interested students in learning new facts and targeted vocabulary words. Students can tap or move objects in the story books and click on highlighted words for a definition.

At the end of each story, there is a fun, animated quiz to reinforce the targeted vocabulary words.

Also, this list from PBS Kids contains a chart of all the Martha Speaks True Stories, as well as helpful information on how to maximize your lessons. 

  1. Mystery Meat Word Girl Interactive Comic Book Activity

In this interactive comic, follow Word Girl and Captain Huggy Face as they stop their nemesis, the vocabulary-challenged Butcher, from stealing an ancient diamond from a museum.

In addition to vocabulary, the lesson can focus on additional language goals such as Story Retell and Story Grammar Elements, problem solving, prediction and making inferences.

  1. Create Your Own Storybook Adventure

In another “Choose Your Own Adventure” – type of interactive activity, choose from one of three books, above.

Click on the underlined, purple, words to hear a definition. Kids get to choose an object to fill in the blank on each page.

Speech Therapy Resources for Other Language Skills, Working Memory and More

  1. Dinosaur Train Dinocar Designer


Help kids design the perfect, most comfortable, custom, traveling accommodations in each individual train car for six separate dinosaurs in Dinosaur Train’s Dinocar Designer.

The varied train car props include an aquarium, a plant, a wooden shelf, a hammock made out of a leaf and a cracked dinosaur egg.

Depending on your speech therapy targets, you can practice several different language concepts with the kids such as describing, categorizing, labeling, practicing locatives (e.g., on the shelf) and expanding utterances, among others. 

To learn more about the PBS Kids show, Dinosaur Train, which seeks to “celebrate[ ] the fascination that [kids] have with dinosaurs and trains [and] encourage[ ] basic scientific thinking skills[,]” check out the PBS Kids Dinosaur Train About Page.

  1. Arthur’s Treehouse Designer!

Arthur’s Treehouse Designer is very similar to Dinocar Train and enables kids to design the inside and outside of three separate treehouses for three separate Arthur characters. 

Treehouse Designer also incorporates an additional descriptor term to guide each design (i.e., “Buster wants a treehouse that is fun, let’s make that part of your design”); an additional feature which may be helpful in your speech therapy sessions. 

As with Dinocar Train, you may target following directions, expanding on utterances, locatives and other language goals.

Once your student or child has designed all three treehouses, everyone gets a very cute tour of the fully-designed homes. If your student or child added any decorative lights to the outside of any of the three treehouses, they glow in the final version.

  1. Wild Kratts’ Animal Match 

Wild Kratt’s Animal Match is a classic memory card game that can be a great reinforcer for fans of the show and/or for targeting working memory goals. 

Your student or child will choose a continent (North America, South America and Africa). Images of animals from the chosen continent are featured in the game.

As a bonus, kids can watch a Wild Kratts video to learn more about any unfamiliar animals featured in the memory card game using Wild Kratts’ Creaturepedia

Working memory techniques that might help with Animal Match or any memory card game include

  1. Visualization: Involves the creation of a mental image when something is heard. Memory Card games work on visualization without even trying since a picture is provided on the card. To maximize this technique using Animal Match, ask your student to say the animal on the card out loud. Then ask the student to make a mental image of the animal. Visualization is assisted by the actual picture of the animal on the card. 
    • By saying the name of the animal out-loud and by visualizing the animal, the child has two ways to recall the information; through the visual image and through the auditory message.
    • Note that the second card is turned around very quickly in Wild Kratt’s Animal Match when a match is not found. This may be a good opportunity to utilize the visualization technique, saying the name of the animal out loud and encouraging the student to create a mental image of the animal.
  2. Rehearsal: A memory technique whereby something is repeated over and over again, especially out loud. (Source: Speech Therapy Talk Services).

For more information on treating working memory challenges in students, check out this article by Bonnie D. Singer and Anthony S. Bashir in ASHA Wire’s LSHSS, “Wait…What??? Guiding Intervention Principles for Students With Verbal Working Memory Limitations.”

Note that for students with more challenging working memory deficits, Wild Kratts’ Memory Card Game will likely be overwhelming and it would be best to begin with many fewer cards.

Hope this list helps save you time and directs you to some fun and effective speech therapy resources for your preschool and school-aged caseload! 

It is our goal to support you; for additional speech therapy tools and ideas, check out our growing list of resources at Speech Therapist Tools.

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