Archive for the ‘snacks’ Category

S’mores Crispies Campfire Treats—{with “SpeechSnacks” for a camping auditory memory game}

smores coll

There truly is a day/month for celebrating EVERYTHING!  Did you know June is National Great Outdoors Month! (The President of the United States even made an official proclamation!)… and August 10th is National S’mores Day!! 

So in celebration of  the event, I have a “speechsnack” to share with you that clearly represents the outdoorsy spirit!   One of my family’s favorite summertime foods is a treat we’ve enjoyed at the beach, around a campfire and simply while grilling in our own backyard—-S’MORES!!!  But I also know that it is not the healthiest of treats on the planet either, so I’ve tweaked the traditional recipe just a bit to make myself feel a little better about devouring this sweet indulgence.

I’ve included a quick and simple two -page print out for an auditory memory/listening game that is fun and challenging !  It’s also a great way to learn what important items you would need to bring on  a camping trip.  Did I leave any out?????   It’s a great way to pass the time while driving to your favorite vacation destination too.  

Special thanks to the folks at Smarty Ears—I used their awesome Custom Boards app to create this set of game cards!  Don’t forget to check them out—-an app well worth the price that you will use time and time again!!

Download your set of 24 Camping Cards for Memory Game here!!



I’m bringing a ________________when I go camping!!!!  

  • Cut the cards apart and put them into a pile.  Choose the top card and use it in the sentence above.  The next player takes a card and must remember what you are bringing and add the item on their card.  Play continues until someone forgets what item go bring camping.
  • Players earn mini marshmallows for remembering the camping items when its their turn.  They can thread them onto the uncooked spaghetti strand and it will look like a roasting skewer.  The winner is the player with the most marshmallows on their stick!!



This recipe is extremely kid-friendly, which means that the kiddos can make most of the recipe themselves (with your supervision of course—and you will definitely have to do the first step for them which requires use of the stove to melt the butter)

When the recipe is completed, ask your kids to repeat the steps, recall the ingredients and describe all the tastes and textures they experienced while helping prepare this treat!!


  • 2 cups all-natural graham crackers, (be sure to check ingredients for crackers free of partially hydrogenated oils) broken into small pieces—definitely a job for the young chefs!!!
  • 2 cups puffed brown rice cereal
  • 1 cup Ricemellow Crème—I love, love , love this stuff!!  (available in Whole Foods and other natural foods stores)
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate) of your choice: semi-sweet,
    dark, milk, white, grain-sweetened


  • Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add in the butter and heat until just melted.
  • Spoon in the marshmallow cream, and stir until melted.









Remove from the heat and quickly stir in the cereal and graham crackers










Now for the fun part the kiddos can handle…….










  • Fold in the chocolate with a spoon.—-or if you prefer, USE YOUR HANDS!   What kid doesn’t love playing with their food!!










  • Using a rubber spatula, spread the mixture into an 8-inch square pan
    coated with cooking spray or butter, pressing down to create an even top—OR, again, USE YOUR HANDS!  Let the kids press and pat down the mixture with their hands and fingers..
  • Refrigerate until firm before cutting into bars.
  • Dig in and enjoy your very own campfire treat without the need for an open fire—-and a little less mess!











It’s March! Need some GREEN-spiration?

PicMonkey Collage kale

Well it’s March folks—and the following “green” thoughts come to mind—shamrocks, nature coming back to life, and resolutions.  That’s right, how about those promises you made back in January?  How many of you made resolutions to eat healthier (or get your family eating healthier)  this year? Have you kept your resolutions so far?   Although we always start off with the best of intentions,  many of us find ourselves gradually falling back into some of our old habits and unknowingly breaking those promises we vowed we would keep all year.
I believe that one of the best ways to keep our resolution is to substitute junk foods with healthier (but still tasty) options.   This way, we are replacing, not depriving!  One of the pitfalls that leads to weight gain and other poor health conditions is unhealthy snacking choices.  But what if we were to reach for a snack that tasted good and was packed with nutrients?    Wouldn’t it be great if potato chips were on that list!!  Unfortunately, no such luck.  But there are other snacks that are crunchy, light and taste great that could satisfy our cravings. 

Today I have a recipe for one that fits the bill—Kale Chips!!  They are the latest craze to hit the snack aisle of grocery stores and health food markets.  The prepackaged ones are often made using  a dehydrator and can also be quite pricey!  Here is a version of that snack that you can make at home for a fraction of the cost of store bought.  You can experiment with different flavors and still get all the health benefits of the ones you could otherwise purchase—and best of all they are easy to make.  

Make this treat with your kids.  Get them helping you in the kitchen and you will be amazed by how receptive they might be to this green superfood that tastes super good!!  

And all this GREEN  inspired me to create my latest language building activity, available in my TpT store.  I call it” O.M.G. ” (Oh My Green-ness)  I know, it sounds too goofy, but the kids are going to love saying this funny phrase over and over as they play!   











This fun language game contains a collection of “green things” that can be used in several different ways to address categorizing/classifying and describing skills:

1–for RECEPTIVE LANGUAGE: Give your student THREE clues or THREE adjectives describing an object and ask them to guess the object. (played similar to “I Spy”)

2–for EXPRESSIVE LANGUAGE: Have students form teams (depending on how many are in your group) and require them to give THREE clues or THREE adjectives describing an object.

After making a guess, draw an “OMG” game card from the pile. The player with the most “OMG” cards left at the end of the game is the winner.

3—CATEGORIZATION/CLASSIFICATION: Cut apart the green items and sort them into the correct category on the 12 category mats and one page of blank category mats provided. Use blank mat to come up with your own categories OR ask your students to sort out the cards and decide what categories the items should belong in without using the category mats (more challenging!!)

4—BARRIER GAME: Use the “green things” cards to play a barrier game—using the background provided, place some of the objects in the scene and then describe the location of the items to the other player. Compare your scene to the other player’s and see if they look the same! **use a folder or book to divide your area from the other player’s.




One bunch kale, washed and dried well.  It is always best to choose organically-grown kale to avoid or reduce the presence of pesticides


Tear the leaves off the center rib of the kale and tear into large pieces. Drizzle with olive oil and toss until completely coated.












Let your kids help wash, dry and tear the kale off the stem.  This is an easy, hands-on task and it will make them feel good to be a part of the preparation.   It will also make them more inclined to try a food that may be new to them if it doesn’t seem so foreign and unfamiliar.

Discard the remaining stems, which are tough and fibrous.
















WORKING ON THE /K/ or /G/ sounds??????

Practice these words that contain the target sounds /k/ and /g/ while preparing the kale chips together:



Arrange kale in a single layer on a baking sheet that has also been drizzled with olive oil.











Kids can also help choose the “toppings” or “flavorings” that you add.   Give them a few choices and ask them to help “design” the chips!


Sprinkle kale with store-bought parmesan cheese or hand grated pecorino-romano cheese. I have also sprinkled on garlic powder. The options are endless! You can simply salt and pepper your kale, season with red pepper flakes, opt for onion powder or add a dash of Italian seasoning.










Come up with a list of GREEN foods with your kiddos.  Ask them to name as many as they can before you step in and try to help them.  Then come up with other GREEN THINGS that are not foods.

Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes at 300 degrees, or until crisp. Be sure to place the kale in one layer on the sheet tray. Overcrowding will steam the kale rather than crisp it.










Enjoy this simple and vitamin filled treat in place salty, high fat snacks and feel good about what you are eating!












  • Print and cut out the pictures of the recipe above.  Ask your kids to put them in the correct sequence and retell the steps in the recipe in their own words.
  • Always remember to discuss the importance of eating healthy with your children.  Be a good role model for good health and lead by example!  You are their first teachers and they will emulate what you say and do–remember they are “taking it all in” . 
  • Don’t be discouraged if they reject the kale chips the first time they try them—remember, they say it can take up to 20 trials of a new food for a child to accept it.  Keep trying!  Make the recipe again in a month or two.  See how much they remember about the process of preparing the kale chips and try offering them the finished product again—they might just surprise you and eat the whole tray of chips!!


Health Benefits of Kale

There are many nutrients in kale. Cancer-fighting properties and other health benefits have been linked to members of the cruciferous vegetable family. The health benefits of kale are similar to the many health benefits of broccoli and cabbage. Here are some specific kale nutrients and how they affect your wellness:

Vitamins-  Kale is rich in vitamins A, C and K and contains some vitamin B6 and E. Kale, being a rich source of vitamin K, gives it anti-inflammatory properties. Foods rich in vitamin C rich are known to help with some joint inflammations.

Minerals- Notable minerals in kale include manganese, calcium and copper. These minerals have been already broken down by the kale plant and can be directly absorbed into the cells of the body.

Antioxidants- The antioxidants in kale seem to be anti-cancer, too. Specifically, the antioxidants in kale is its carotenoids including lutein and beta-carotene, which are significant in the realm of cancer prevention and perhaps even treatment. Lutein and beta-carotene are two specific antioxidants that helps to protect the human body from oxidative stress, specifically against such diseases as cataracts, atherosclerosis and COPD and, of course, cancer.

Cancer Preventative- The phytonutrients in kale helps to reduce the risk of several cancers including, but possibly not limited to, breast, bladder, colon, lung and ovarian. The actions of these phytonutrients not only reduce cancer, but in general, help to strengthen the entire immune system.

Lung Health- The presence of vitamin A in kale helps protect the lungs. This is especially important to smokers and those who are exposed to secondhand smoke.

Anti-Inflammatory- The abundance of vitamin K makes kale an anti-inflammatory vegetable.

Heart Health- A phytonutrient called Indole-3-carbinol in kale helps to reduce harmful cholesterol levels in the blood and protect the cardiovascular system.

Diabetes- Kale helps to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. This makes kale an excellent food for diabetics.

Omega 3- Omega 3 is another kale nutrient as kale is a rich vegetable source of Omega 3.

Fiber- Kale is a high fiber food. Of the many kale nutrients, its high fiber characteristic may be the most practical than a lettuce-based salad


SPEECH SNACKS FOR /k/ and /g/ :

Typically most children have mastered the /k/ and /g/ sounds by about 3 1/2 years of age.

I have posted information on placement and production of the /k/ in previous posts, including  Keen About Quinoa  Cowboy Caviar and Cookies For Santa.  Please visit these links to review this helpful information.  In addition, here are a few other tips that will help produce these sounds, also called a consonant pair.  Consonant pair sounds are made in a similar way.  Placement of the articulators is the same for both sounds, however production is slightly different–one is voiced, and one is not.  Place your hand on your throat and feel the vibration when producing the /g/ sound, yet when making the /k/, the voice is “turned off” or uses no vibration.  I will ask students to “turn on their voice” for a /g/ or “turn it off” for a /k/ to help them understand this concept.

Tricks to help improve lingual (tongue) posture for producing the /k/ and /g/:

1. Use a tongue depressor This should be done by a certified Speech-Language Pathologist only!  A tongue depressor can be used to push the tongue into the correct position for a /k/ or /g/ sound by holding the tongue in the correct position and  having the child try to say the /k/ sound.  The tongue depressor will hold the tongue tip down and the child will end up producing the /k/ sound instead of a /t/—which is a common substitution for /k/.  This method is also useful for producing the /g/ sound.  Once this has been established, you can gradually remove the tongue depressor and , with time and practice, the child will be able to produce the sounds without the use of this aid.

2. Practice gargling water  When you gargle water, the back of your tongue is positioned correctly for the /k/ and /g/ sound.

3. Lay on your back on the floor.  By doing so, your tongue typically falls into the back of your mouth.  Try producing a /k/ or /g/ while lying on the floor.




Truffula Trees Food Craftivity for Dr. Seuss Week—and language building ideas!

PicMonkey Collage truffula

Dr. Seuss’ birthday (and Read Across America Day)  is celebrated on March 2nd and Earth Day is April 22nd.  If you are permitted to use food in your therapy sessions, this fun food craftivity will be a big hit with students of all ages in your therapy sessions.   Use this activity to address sequencing, direction following, conversational turn taking, comprehension skills and articulation.  I’ve included some ideas throughout this post for addressing all of these goals including a set of questions that you can download to accompany “The Lorax,” by Dr. Seuss which is where truffula trees originated!

Truffula Trees are super easy to make in the classroom or at home.  Get creative with the tree trunks and experiment with different fruits.   And please send me your feedback and pictures too!!!….I’d love to know how your trees turned  out!



**always check for food allergies before making any hands-on projects  involving food (yes, even fruit!)


I am using blackberries and green grapes to construct the trunks of my trees. I think the textures of each and varied tastes of each fruit make the trees more interesting and fun to eat!



You can find cotton candy in many of your local dollar stores and supermarkets. It looks a lot like the wispy tufts of the Truffula trees. Use sparingly–remember this is pure sugar—and some artificial coloring!

Questions to help elicit conversation while creating your trees in the classroom—-

What else does cotton candy remind you of in nature? 

Describe how cotton candy feels. 

What happens when you put it in your mouth (how does it change?)

What events is cotton candy sold at?

FOR STORY COMPREHENSION: After reading the story with your students, check out these questions   (most appropriate for upper elementary/middle school)

Search the book for words that contain speech sounds that your students are working on.  Have them repeat the words, phrases and sentences containing their speech sounds.

i.e.: for /l/ sound practice I came up with these words:


I used long cocktail stirrers to thread on my fruit. You can also use wooden skewers but don’t let your tree get too tall or it might not stand up for long!

Cocktail stirrers are rounded at the ends and safe for little hands to use!  Toothpicks are sharp so be careful if  you use them! 

No need to make them exactly as shown in the picture—Kids can determine how to pattern the “tree trunks.” 

Take a vote prior to purchasing your materials–ask your students to help you brainstorm a list of possibilities—-the two most popular items can be the ones you purchase–this will keep things simple and cost-effective for you! 

Some “tree trunk” possibilities: red grapes, strawberry chunks, raspberries, marshmallows…use your imagination!!  


I used a thick piece of Styrofoam and inserted my sticks into it to display my forest of  Truffula Trees!  Enjoy this naturally sweet treat with your kiddos while you read and answer questions about the story—and (of course), save the speech sound practice for before or after you eat your tree treat!!!

Can you come up with a list of different types of trees with your students?  

Go online and search for images of various trees.  Print them out and label them. 

Put your print outs into a binder or staple together to make a book of trees.  If your school is located on property that has surrounding trees, take a nature walk with your students (weather and season permitting!)and see how many you can identify from your book of trees.

If you spot a Truffula tree, please be sure to take a picture and send it to me!!!   


Heart Healthy Hummus and a Fruit and Veggie Language and Listening Game


February is American Heart Month!   It is never too early to teach children about how their hearts benefit from a  good diet and lots of exercise.  By reinforcing an active lifestyle and proper eating habits, you can teach  children, by example, how to keep their hearts in good shape.

Fresh fruits and vegetables play a big role in keeping your heart healthy.  Today’s simple hummus recipe is packed full of heart-healthy nutrients that will keep your heart pumping strong—try hummus as a dip with your favorite veggies—or get your kids eating more veggies by accompanying it with this dip !!  American Heart Month also inspired me to create an activity that will get your kiddos moving (through direction following tasks)  and building knowledge about fruits and vegetables at the same time!  Introducing…..

Fruits and Veggies Teach Good Language and Listening—available in my TpT store!

This activity combines 24 naming/vocabulary building tasks related to fruits and vegetables along with good listening skills for direction following.    Playing cards contain  two or three steps.  Students must perform a naming task and then carry out a physical direction (action).

Read the card slowly, remind your student to 1-use whole body listening, 2-reauditorize and visualize the directions, and 3-repeat the directions aloud before carrying out the task.

I couldn’t resist using these very cute and sporty fruit and veggie characters from Scrappin’ Doodles to create these cards!

In addition, cards can be used to play “I’m going grocery shopping for…”  Place all cards face down on the shopping cart.  Players take turns picking cards and using the phrase “I’m going grocery shopping..”  Add on names of fruits/veggies in the correct sequence and continue game until someone forgets which item comes next.


Also included are grocery bags to sort fruits and  vegetables. Blank bags are included to create other categories for sorting by color, size, shape, etc.


Heart Healthy Hummus—-


2 cans (15 1/2 ounces each) chickpeas

1/3 cup freshly squeezed

lemon juice

1/4 cup tahini, well stirred

3-4 cloves garlic, chopped

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Coarse salt

Extra-virgin olive oil, for serving (optional)

Paprika, for serving (optional)




  1. Reserving the liquid from one can of the beans, drain the second can of chickpeas in a colander. Rinse chickpeas well under cold water; shake off excess water
  2. Process chickpeas and reserved liquid, lemon juice, tahini, garlic, cayenne, and 1 1/4 teaspoons salt in a food processor.
  3. Transfer mixture to a serving dish. If desired, drizzle with oil, and sprinkle with paprika.

This can be refrigerated, covered, up to one week. Use it in sandwiches or as a dip for vegetables and toasted pita bread.


Talk to your kiddos about different types of beans—can you come up with a list? (black, white, kidney, navy, lima, cannellini, pinto, lentils.)  Compare the beans before being processed to the appearance and texture after.  Ask them to sequence the steps in this simple recipe or recall all the ingredients used.  Remember to get your kids involved in the cooking process if you want to  see them excited about trying new foods!  Hummus is very mild in flavor and many kids are willing to give it a try—and often LOVE it!!


 Heart Facts for Kids:

  • Your heart is about the same size as a pear. It sits behind your sternum (which is the bone between the two sides of your ribs) and your ribs on the left side of your body just next to your sternum.
  • It has four parts, the left ventricle (say ven-trik-ul) and the right ventricle which are both at the bottom of the heart, and the left atrium (say ay-tree-um) and the right atrium at the top. A wall of muscle called the septum separates them.
  • The heart is two pumps joined together.
  •  The walls of the heart are made of really strong muscles that squeeze and relax to pump blood around the body.
  • It does this about 90 times a minute if you’re a child and 70 times a minute if you are an adult.
  • The main job of the heart is to pump blood to every part of the body. The blood carries oxygen and all the food, vitamins and minerals that your body needs to move, think, grow and repair itself. At the same time the blood picks up stuff that your body doesn’t need and takes it to those parts of your body that get rid of waste (your lungs, kidneys and liver).
  • Your blood is pumped all around your body and gets back to your heart in about a minute.
  • If your heart is healthy it will be able to work for a very long time.
  • It is up to you to keep your heart healthy— exercise every day for 30 minutes!!
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Too much fatty food will block up the arteries with fat and your heart will have to work harder and harder just to do its regular job of pumping blood round your body.
  • Drink lots of water every day rather than fizzy drinks.



“Put a Candle on the Cake” A speechie game and birthday treat for a special day!


As a mom, room parent and a school-based speech therapist, I’ve seen my share of kid’s parties!  As many of us know, food allergies are running rampant in schools and we all need to be careful and aware of the guidelines and  limitations regarding foods offered for  birthdays, class parties and other special days.  Many schools have specific lists of which foods you can and cannot bring into the building for parties.  Some school’s guidelines are stricter than others.

I think I have come up with an idea that might just  meet the approval of the “food-allergy police!”   I call it “Birthday Choco-Pop-Fetti!” It contains NO WHEAT, NO SOY, NO DAIRY,  NO NUTS—it DOES contain popcorn, allergy-free chocolate and sprinkles—that’s it!  I hope you might find it permissible at your next school celebration or as a treat for the special birthday students that you teach!


This week I’ve created a BIRTHDAY ACTIVITY PACKET that you can find at my TeachersPayTeachers store.










This 20 page download includes 3 “Put A Candle on the Cake” game mats. (pgs 4-6) Cut a slot on the white lines  of each game mat.  Insert candles into these spaces for correct answers.

Candles (pgs 7-9)are marked with numbers 1,2 and 3 on the flames.  Candles should be cut and thoroughly mixed up in a basket/box.  Players randomly pick a candle and insert it into their cake mat for correct responses.  Add up all point on the flames to determine the winner!


For best results, laminate the cake mat first, next cut slits where indicated, then glue or staple an  additional sheet of paper to the back of the mat to hold the candles in place.









Target areas include 12 category cards (pgs 10-11), 18‘WH’ Questions (pgs 12-14) and 6 problem solving cards(pg 15).  Use them together or to address one language goal at a time.

Also included is a birthday reminder chart, birthday certificate and open-ended birthday game board. (pgs 16-18)

It’s a great (food-free) way to remember and celebrate your student’s birthdays!!  If you have the time and “green light” from your school, you can also throw in my allergy-free sweet treat as an extra bonus!


Birthday Choco-Pop-Fetti!


***be sure to read ALL ingredients carefully to be sure your recipe will be allergy-free!!!!

4 cups air popped popcorn (without butter)

1  10 oz bag semi-sweet chocolate chunks/chips (dairy, nut and soy free)

multi-color sprinkles

Turn this treat into a language lesson at home or school—this is a very child-centered, hands on activity!!



(There are several brands of allergy-free chocolate available….I received NO compensation by this company for using their product in my post)



Melt chocolate pieces over a low flame, stirring constantly to prevent burning and even melting.

Children should not be left unattended if helping to melt chocolate!!!  Ask them to COMPARE the difference between the solid and melted chocolate.  Ask them to explain WHAT caused the chocolate to melt?  




Spread popcorn on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper

Ask your kiddos what popcorn is made from?  Have them guess the name of the “yellow seed” (kernel).  Ask them why they think the kernel pops?  (When you heat a popcorn kernel, water inside begins to expand. When the temperature reaches 100 deg C (212 deg F), the water tries to evaporate but the outer covering is so strong that it can’t. Instead, pressure begins building inside the kernel just like in a pressure cooker. This causes the kernel to burst!)



Drizzle melted chocolate over popcorn

Fun for the kids to do!!  Think of other words that rhyme with DRIZZLE as you do this! (fizzle, sizzle, chisel) and define the  meaning of these words!  



Add sprinkles evenly over chocolate coating

Let kids help to sprinkle and think of other things that are mulit-colored! (a rainbow, a pinwheel, a beach ball for starters!)


Place cookie sheet into the freezer for 15 minutes so chocolate has time to harden.

Ask your kids to tell you why the chocolate gets hard when placed in the freezer.


Break apart large chunks of popcorn mixture and place in cupcake liners.  Happy (allergy-free) Birthday!!! Enjoy!

















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