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Guest Blog: Playing With Boogers and Dog Food in Speech Therapy

By: Erik X. Raj, CCC-SLP
Copyright 2011. Reprinted with the express permission of the author as it appeared on his blog Artic Brain

Remember when you used to have numerous magazine subscriptions and every single month the good ol’ mail carrier would bring you a brand spankin’ new magazine to read? Well, if you’re like me, you cancelled all of your old subscriptions because you finally realized that you can obtain all of your favorite current events, news, and celebrity gossip from various internet sources (blogs, podcasts, etc.) for a fraction of the cost. So, what can we do with the hundreds of old magazines that we have sitting in our closest? Is there a way to incorporate those random magazines into our speech therapy sessions? Pshh, OF COURSE THERE IS and I am going to tell you all about it. Get ready to have a fun (and yucky) time!
Break out the yucky sticks!
All you need to do is bring in a bunch of old magazines and grab a handful of green and brown markers (no other colors, just green and brown). For this session, I call those markers YUCKY STICKS. What is so special about yucky sticks, you ask? Well, they have the ability to instantly add boogers and dog food to any magazine page you want! Now if that doesn’t sound exciting, I don’t know what does!
Boogers and dog food on pizza?
Let’s say that you and your students come across an advertisement in your magazine for a pizza brand that features a happy family smiling and enjoying what seems to be a pizza with extra cheese on it . . . that is until YOU use your yucky sticks to yuck up the scene! Encourage your students to scribble their hearts out by adding green lines (boogers) and brown dots (dog food) all over the slices (and the faces)!
Or let’s say that you guys stumble upon a cereal advertisement that is promoting the fact that it now has over 50% more raisins in each box. Funny up that advertisement by adding 100% more bits of boogers and chunks of dog food into the bowl! Man, when we all use our imagination, those yucky sticks sure are powerful, huh?
Perfect for anyone
This hilarious speech therapy idea could easily be manipulated to fit into any student’s communication goals and objectives. Here are the two most recent ones that I have tried.
I used this activity for a client who was working on perfecting his medial R sound. He loved to say the word, “boogers” and we were able to move from the word level to sentence level effortlessly by practicing sentences like, “The family was eating a pizza with boogers on top of it.”
Auditory memory
I used this activity to work with a client who needed practice with remembering and repeating sentences that gradually got longer and longer. Here are some we created together.

  • The boy was eating cereal. (5 words)
  • The boy had dog food in his cereal. (8 words)
  • The boy with the red shirt had dog food in his cereal. (12 words)
  • The boy with the red shirt had brown bits of dog food floating in his cereal. (16 words)

In closing . . .
I know it might sound wacky, but you’d be surprised how excited and motivated my students get when I let them squiggle in magazines with green and brown markers. Do you think that this activity could bring some great giggles into YOUR next speech therapy session? Can you think of some other ways that we can tweak this activity to make it even more fun? As always, I would LOVE to hear from you.
Our Featured Guest Blogger: Erik X. Raj
Please support our contributors and visit Erik’s blog Artic Brain
Erik’s Book, “One Seashell, Two Seashell, Flap, Flap, Flap” is now available for order!
Erik X. Raj is an innovative speech-language pathologist who has provided direct patient care to pediatric, adolescent, and adult clients who exhibit a broad spectrum of communication difficulties. He currently works for the Hamilton Township School District in New Jersey where he administers diagnostics and provides therapy to school-aged students with speech, language, voice, and fluency disorders.
In addition, Erik is the author of the award-winning children’s book, “One Seashell, Two Seashell, Flap, Flap, Flap,” and the founder of ArticBrain, LLC, a speech therapy product development company. With all of his original creations, it is Erik’s mission to provide each youngster with a positive experience that inspires a passion for learning and helps to build competence, confidence, and courage to pursue his or her dreams.

PediaStaff hires pediatric and school-based professionals nationwide for contract assignments of 2 to 12 months. We also help clinics, hospitals, schools, and home health agencies to find and hire these professionals directly. We work with Speech-Language Pathologists, Occupational and Physical Therapists, School Psychologists, and others in pediatric therapy and education.


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