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Using Movement in Teletherapy

Updated: Jun 4, 2022

Those of us who work with little ones including EI, preschool, and early elementary kiddos know how beneficial it is to incorporate movement into our in-person sessions. With the shift to virtual learning and the dramatic increase in seated screen time, opportunities to move around during sessions have become even more important.

Here are some free videos and ideas for encouraging little ones to get moving during teletherapy sessions and distance learning. Some of the following can be used for movement breaks between activities while others pair movement with actual speech-language activities.

Super Simple Songs is an awesome YouTube channel! There are tons of songs like this one, What's Your Favorite Color? that include opportunities to teach basic/opposite concepts and other vocabulary. You can pause the videos to work on answering questions, describing, and using prepositions. Some of the videos like Pizza Party can also be used to work on sequencing

steps in procedures.

"Dance Dance Dance" by Mr. Elephant is a very catchy song featuring dancing

puppets! It's perfect as a movement break and also includes one-step directions to follow like "jump," "stand on one foot," and "wiggle." I love that it includes the concepts "fast" and "slow" and that ends with having the studetn sit down again!

Learning with Yaya/Aprendiendo con Yaya is a YouTube channel by bilingual (English/Spanish) SLP, Yael Herszkopf Mayer. It includes videos with original songs that teach speech-language skills and concepts (ex: spatial concepts, categories, actions) in both languages while promoting interaction and movement!

Shake Break is another great movement song that includes a variety of actions like "shake," "jump," "turn," and "swim." In addition to having dancing puppets, there are also real people who demonstrate their "shake breaks."

Cosmic Kids Yoga demonstrates yoga moves in a way that is fun and engaging for kids. Videos include cool themes like Sonic the Hedgehog and Halloween as well as cool backgrounds and surprise animations. There are stories that accompany yoga moves so videos can be used to address goals like listening comprehension, retell, and describing!

@mrsmcspeechie, a PROMPT certified SLP with great motor speech insight, has been posting movement ideas for SLPs to try with students. In addition to ideas for incorporating movement during virtual and in-person sessions, she also provides (much needed!) suggestions for SLPs to get moving and reduce teletherapy fatigue. Plus, you'll love

her funny and relatable TikToks!

Most of you have probably heard the song "Can't Stop the Feeling" from the first Trolls movie. The super upbeat song is fun to dance along to as a movement breaks or the video can be paused periodically to describe the scenes or answer "wh" questions! There is also another version by GoNoodle that has dance moves for kids to copy.

Speaking of GoNoodle, they have some of the best and most fun dance videos for kids and you can view many of them here. The video pictured, Danger Force is especially cool because it almost looks like a video game-- kids pretend to run down a road and have to move side to side to collect gumballs that they see.

"Fruit Salad Salsa" by Laurie Berkner has been one of my favorite kids' movement songs ever since grad school when I helped teach in our clinic's language-based preschool. In addition to including category items (fruits), there are actions such as putting one arm out, shaking, and spinning as fruits go into the bowl and get mixed around.

"Going on a Bear Hunt" is a classic! The animations in this version are super cute and I love the funny voices that really convey the singers' emotions. Kids can follow along with the song by performing actions like walking, looking through binoculars, swishing their arms, and splashing through the river.

The YouTube channel Songs for Speech was created by an SLP and includes songs for speech therapy and ELD. In addition to incorporating music and movement, it includes language concepts like opposites and grammatical structures so you can target speech-language goals while the student moves.

Texas Speech Mom has a store on Teachers Pay Teachers featuring resources that address speech-language skills (including articulation!) while encouraging movement. Check out her Speech Boot Camp and Thematic Movement Break resources.

Playing Simon Says can be a great way to work on listening closely and following directions that involve actions. If the student is working on multi-step directions, you can add more than one step (ex: "Simon says touch your nose and spin around.") While a video isn't necessary, there are some good Simon Says songs on YouTube like this "Simon Says Song for Children" by Patty Shukla.

Freeze Dance is always a great option and can be played during any song of the child's choice. Kidz Bop has kid-friendly versions of popular songs that SLPs and educators won't mind dancing along to. Kidz Bop is even releasing Daily Dance Break videos and dance-along versions of many songs. There are YouTube videos that are designed for Freeze Dance like this one and have the freezes already built in. If the child likes Disney songs (who doesn't?) you can pause the video and have them freeze, then ask them "wh" questions about each picture scene or work on other skills before you press play.

PBS Kids has a ton of free games and a few of them involve movement like Daniel Tiger Dance Party and Pinkalicious Pinka Dance which also includes a Freeze Dance option. Clicking the picture at left will take you to all of the PBS Kids games that include music.

PBS has a series called Kids in Motion with video specials of students doing a variety of different exercises. These videos are unique in that most of them have themes like vacation, game show, and birthday.

If there's anything I forgot to mention that you think belongs on this list, please let me know in the comments or reach out on Instagram! Keep up the great work-- we've got this!

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