If you’re a regular here at the Wholesome Harmonies blog, you know I LOVE a good themed session plan.
We’re getting to that time of year when theme ideas abound: there’s Harvest, Fall, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Wintertime. I love all of it!
I find that when planning for my sessions, starting with a theme unlocks my creativity and allows me to come up with unique ways to help my clients meet their goals.
I also find that when I come into a session excited about what I have planned, my clients feed off that excitement and are more motivated to work towards their goals in the session.
Here are the steps I go through to come up with session ideas based on a theme:
Step #1: Choose a theme around on an upcoming holiday, season or time of year.
Step #2: Write down all the things associated with that theme. For example, for a Halloween theme – bats, pumpkins, spider webs, candy, costumes, Trick-or-Treating, etc.
Step #3: Choose a domain. I write down the main domain areas I’ll be focusing on with those clients: motor/physical, sensory, communication, social, cognitive, etc.
Step #4: Combine Steps 2 & 3. I look and see how I can use the items I came up with in Step #2 to address the needs of my clients in a specific domain area (Step #3). How might I use a cotton spider web to provide tactile stimulation? How might I use pumpkin seeds to work on counting? How might a use a song about bats to work on articulation of the ‘b’ sound?
Here’s a specific example of a theme I’m working on right now:
Step #1: Choose a theme – I love to do an Apple Theme in the month of September.
Step #2: Things associate with the theme – Apples, seeds, color red, color green, letter A.
Step #3: Choose a domain – There is a new group I’m working with that has needs in the cognitive/academic domain, specifically color identification and counting.
Step #4: Combine Steps 2 & 3 – Here are a few ways I can use those items in Step #2 to address the specific academic goals from Step #3:
- Song about identifying colors of the apples (red or green)
- Songs about: counting apples, identifying numbers on apples, or concepts of more or less apples
- Song about adding or subtracting apple seeds
- Book and Songs to apple books – “Ten Apples Up On Top” by Dr. Seuss, “Manzanas” by de Ann Burckhardt, “From Seed to Apple” and “Apples” by Gail Gibbons are my faves to use.
- Song about the Letter A
Those are just a few examples of how we can start with the theme of apples, and use that to generate ideas for addressing various academic concepts.
As a side note, if you have clients with sensory needs, apples are fantastic for this domain area as well. You have the smell of apples, the taste of applesauce, the feel of the smooth apples, and the crunchy sound of the apple, just to name a few ideas!
I can’t wait to dig into some new themed session ideas for the Fall and Winter.
Here are a few to get you started:
You can also check out Sensational Songs & Activities: Sensory-Based Ideas for Music Therapy. In this E-Book I share multiple themed session plans. A Spooky Halloween, Winter Holiday, Fun in the Sun, A Trip to the Farmer’s Market, and It’s a Jungle Out There are a few of my favorites. Check out everything that’s inside the E-Covers right here: