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  • Writer's pictureStacy Crouse

Birthday Activities for Teletherapy

Imagine this– You greet your students at the beginning of a virtual speech therapy session when one of them exclaims, "It's my birthday!" Eeek. Wish you'd known sooner. You're feeling a little guilty as you scramble for some way to recognize your student's special day.

So it probably doesn't take a ton of imagining, because like every SLP ever, this has probably happened to you. Student birthdays come around pretty regularly... thanks to the caseload size of most SLPs.

As we SLPs do often, we pivot. We figure out something and make it work. But wouldn't it be nice to skip that moment of struggle and have a list of quick, virtual activities that you can use to give a little birthday shout-out to your student?

Check out these ways to digitally celebrate birthdays in teletherapy with students of all ages! And since these ideas are all just a click away, you can use them on any device for in-person sessions too. In fact, you'll be able to pull them up so quickly that it'll seem like it was ALL part of the plan.

Birthday-Themed Activities for Younger Students

This simple Tiny Tap activity allows students to click through a birthday scene while discussing vocabulary and concepts such as opening presents and singing Happy Birthday. Great for your youngest students!

Preschoolers may enjoy this Birthday Candle Counting activity on ABCYa to find out how old each person is turning. Also on the ABCYa website is this Make a Cupcake Activity!

PBS Kids has a Daniel Tiger Birthday Buddy activity that includes multiple digital activities for celebrating a birthday, including decorating for a party and making cupcakes. The activities actually take the perspective of being a "birthday buddy" to someone that's having a birthday, so they're perfect for including all members of a group!

This Boom Card deck (available on the Boom Learning platform but free for email subscribers) helps you personalize the celebration by adding details like the student's name, date of birth, age, and birthday wish as they follow directions to set up a virtual party– complete with the playing of "Happy Birthday!" to sing along to!

Birthday Boom Card activity on a laptop in a teletherapy session

Digital stickers are a versatile activity for any teletherapy session, including birthdays! Students can work together to plan and set up a virtual birthday party by layering the digital stickers on top of a photo background. To make it even more individualized, you can use a photo of the student's house and add the faces of family or group members too!

Using digital stickers for a virtual birthday party in a teletherapy session

For any of these activities, younger students love it if you're dressed for the occasion! Be prepared with a party hat, party horn, and some balloons in your desk drawer for birthdays. I've even shown my own kids' Melissa & Doug Birthday Cake set on camera before, and this awesome site has personalized birthday songs for thousands of names that you can play!

As with any theme, you can always find a book to coordinate! A few titles to look for include If you Give a Pig a Party, There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Birthday Cake, and How Do Dinosaurs Say Happy Birthday? Use a document camera to show the book, play a read-aloud from YouTube, screen share an ebook website, or display the illustrations as a virtual background if you're super tech savvy!

Birthday-Themed Activities for Older Students

If the above ideas are too "little kid-ish" for your middle and high school students, don't worry. There are a few ways you can bring some birthday fun into their speech therapy sessions too!

The beauty of the virtual setting is that you have the ability to take the party anywhere! For many platforms (like Zoom), you can change the virtual background to whatever you want... an arcade, basketball court, top of a mountain, you name it! All you need is a Google Image search, and you have the party backdrop.

Then allow the birthday boy or girl to choose what else goes in party background, such as people (real friends or family, famous people, or other characters), decorations, and food! Thanks to Jenelle Gococo from @sayspeech for this awesome idea!

If you know me, you know that fill-in-the-blank stories are a go-to for a fun-filled session. Grab a FREE birthday-themed story here, and let the laughter roll as you and your students create a hilarious birthday narrative.

birthday speech therapy activity for older students in speech therapy or teletherapy

Personality quizzes are always a fun way for students to share about themselves and get to know one another. They also elicit so much natural conversation! This one from Scholastic asks a handful of questions to determine a student's "birthday style."

Group Games 101 hosts a huge set of birthday-themed trivia questions, which include answers that are hidden until you click on them. Perfect for screen sharing! This birthday quiz from Beano asks questions about birthday traditions from around the world... and has real photos!

And to go out with a bang– confetti! Chrome extensions make it possible to do just about anything virtually, and throwing confetti is no exception! A couple of examples include Confetti Cannon and Confetti Confetti All Over. The best part? No vacuum required!

We've all experienced the feeling of being unprepared for a student's birthday. Luckily there are tons of teletherapy activities that you can plan to use at the drop of a hat to virtually celebrate birthdays. With a quick pivot in your plans, you can make your students feel special, no matter how old they're turning... or how prepared you are!

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