Crystals! An Instruction Sheet with Speech, Language, and Occupational Therapy Activities

January 12, 2022
Kelly C. Bawden, MS, CCC-SLP
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Crystals are, in a word, cool. It doesn't seem to matter how old you are or how many amazing things you've seen in your life, there is just something about how they grow and their infinite uniqueness that inspires a little bit of awe in all of us. So, whether you're cooped up at home at the moment or just looking for a fun speech, language, and occupational therapy activity that will make everyone smile, we've got you covered with our new magical, mystical Crystals activity sheet! You can download a pdf by clicking on the image below, and here are a few recommendations from our Hello Clinic therapists for what you might work on while doing this project:

Occupational therapy targets to work on while making crystals:

  1. Fine motor: Work on fine motor and bilateral coordination skills via tying strings to the pipe cleaners, twisting pipe cleaners, squeezing food coloring, and stirring.
  2. Time/material management and problem-solving: Sequence a multistep recipe with various measurements and times to keep track of.
  3. Visual perceptual: Increase visual perceptual skills by creating or copying pipe cleaner designs/patterns.
  4. Safety awareness: This project helps children learn about safety in the kitchen and builds skills they will need to be independent in as they grow.
  5. Self-regulation: Sometimes it can be hard for kids to have to wait until they see their finished project. This project indirectly works on self-regulation as it provides delayed gratification and takes patience.

Speech and language targets to work on while making crystals:

  1. Articulation: Practice some challenging /r/ words: crystal, string, jar, borax, pipe cleaner, water, color, measure, overnight, center, reheat.
  2. Compare and contrast: Collect some rocks and compare them to the borax crystal you made. Talk about how they are the same and how they are different. You can sort them in groups and practice vocabulary to describe the attributes as related to size, texture, shape, etc.
  3. Sequencing: As you follow the directions, use key vocabulary words (first, next, then, last) to talk about what you are doing as you follow each step. Cut out the pictures, mix them up, and then put them back in the correct order.
  4. Re-tell: Find a friend or family member and tell them how to make crystals. Bring the pictures for a visual aid, and remember that sandy sequencing vocabulary again!
  5. Inquiry: Go to the library and find some books to learn more about rocks. Some titles to look for include Rocks, Rocks, Rocks by Nancy Elizabeth Warren and Let's Go Rock Collecting by Roma Gans.

Sounds like fun, doesn't it? Grow something amazing!

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