Summertime and the Fishin’ Is Easy

My family just returned from the beautiful mountains of NC.  We spent a week hiking to waterfalls, swimming in the river and lots and lots of fishing!  I know I’ll be reminded of this trip frequently during therapy, because all of “my” kiddos love to fish.

Fishing is a typical artic activity (see below for tips for a language transformation tips)—easy, engaging and universally beloved by young clients.  Don’t have this yet?  Follow the instructions below and start reeling them in!


Materials:  Dowel (18-20 inches); String (32-36 inches); small suction cup; round magnet

Drill a small hole ½ inch from one end of the dowel.  Not good with a drill?  Skip it.

Thread the string through the hole and tie to the rod.  You will want approximately 30 inches of string hanging down.  If you decided to skip drilling, simply tie the string tightly onto the end of the rod.  Wrapping masking tape several layers thick around the end will help prevent it from slipping off or you can “cap” the end with clay.

Tie the dangling end to the small suction cup.  Suction the cup to the magnet and, voila, your pole is ready!




Materials:  circular ends of metal cans (*I use an OXO can opener which gives smooth safe edges); Sharpie pens; poster board; glue or glue dots; artistic skill or clip art of your target words

Trace the cans on a piece of poster board.  Cut slightly within this line and it should tuck perfectly inside the lid edge.  A glue dot will make it more secure.  Either paste the clipart of your target or draw your own.  Written prompts only are generally too advanced for the typical age of this activity.  On the opposite side, draw a fish with a Sharpie.  I usually have 8-10 fish/target sound.  You’re all set!


How to Play:  Scatter your lids, fish side up.  The child can hook a fish easily with the magnet.  To maximize the number of trials you can run through the words as you place them on the ground (in the “lake”).  Then guess what they might hook.

Therapist: “Ooo I think you’ll get “lip”.  What do you think it will be?”

Child: “Lip” (Child catches the fish and turns it over) “Lip!”

I allow kids to sit on the table (“dock”) when we fish which, I think, is one of the reasons they find it so appealing.  It gives a whole new perspective to the room when you are sitting up high.  You might also consider sitting on the end of the table (“boat”) and dividing your fish between the two sides.  This allows you to add some trunk rotation/crossing midline to the activity.

Add a sensory component by having the child stand on a Bosu ball or mini trampoline “riverbank”. (A cheaper alternative might be a flat pillow or thick piece of foam)

And really there is no reason this has to be an articulation activity.  Use vocabulary words and switch it to a language activity.  You can even put a bucket(s) next to the child to add some prepositional or descriptive concepts.

Therapist: “ Ooo.  You caught the rabbit.  Put the rabbit in the bucket”; “Look! You caught the snake.  Put him under the bucket”; “It’s a frog!  Let’s put him in the small bucket”

Fish on!


This Post Has One Comment

  1. Ginny Marie

    What a great idea! I think I need to invest in the OXO can opener. I used to teach 2nd grade and now I teach preschool. This game can be adapted to use with a lot of different skills! I’ll be at Bloggy Boot Camp Chicago — I hope to run into you on Saturday!

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The views expressed in this blog are my own and are intended to inspire other speech-language pathologists in their own practice. If you are a parent, teacher or other educator, these ideas are not intended to take the place of treatment by a certified clinician. Read full disclaimer here.