Early Language DevelopmentSchool Based Speech TherapySeasonal Activities

When Life Gives You Lemons…Make Lemonade!

By April 10, 20124 Comments

Any and all speech therapy sessions (arctic, social skills, grammar, etc.) usually involve talking about what words mean.  One should never assume that a child already knows the meaning of a certain word.  A therapy session on one particular day, led to a discussion of the word ‘sour.’ I decided to bring in some lemons so they could experience this taste and because real life experience is invaluable.  We also decided it would be fun and a great language opportunity to make lemonade.  Here is what a group of very enthusiastic, second-grade boys, and I did.  We had a blast!

I always define or give a brief (or sometimes not so brief) description of any words we come across.  One day we were talking about the food group of fruit.  We began naming and describing different types of fruits when we came to…lemons.  Using a graphic organizer, we described as many things as we could about a lemon.  When we came to describe the taste my students said…”sweet.”  I had to take action.  Solution?  Bring in a lemon for them to taste!

I knew they just needed to “experience” a lemon to fully grasp what it was.  A lemon in theory is just not the same.  Does this happen to you?  So many times, I wish I could incorporate more life experiences into my little therapy sessions.  It is the best way to bring words to life and help these kids add them to their mental dictionaries!  There was just no way around it, I had to bring in a real lemon for them to taste.  Since I was already bringing in lemons, how fun would it be to make lemonade!?

Side note***

Cooking is such a great way to build language skills.  Following a simple recipe is a great way to build both receptive and expressive language skills such as;  following directions, vocabulary, memory/recall, sequencing, etc.  

I told my students that I would bring in a lemon for their next session and that we would make lemonade.  They were so excited!  Gosh, who knew a group of second grade boys would be so thrilled to make lemonade.  Warms my heart.
Well, sure enough, the working-nursing-mother that I am, (I still have pregnancy brain, by the way), I forgot.  It really was in my mind to get everything together, but the days just got away from me.
Group time came for my “lemon group” and it went like this:

Student: “where are the lemons for making lemonade, Mrs. G?”
Me:  “Oh “student,” I’m so sorry, but I forgot to get them for today!
Student:  “Why don’t you write yourself a note? That’s what I do when I have to remember something.”
Me:  (holding back my laughter) Thank you “student”, I will do that now.  What a great idea!
Do you see why I LOVE my students.  Oh my.  They just make my day.  If you only knew the things they sometimes say…

Well, I did write myself a note on one of my yellow stickies and put it on my wallet so that I would not let myself forget!  Thank you, student!  The next week, our lemon-tasting and lemonade-making session was so much fun.  It was amazing to see how excited they were as they followed the recipe to make their very own lemonade.  They actually could not stop eating the lemons.  Don’t worry, I didn’t let them go too crazy.
And as a result, I don’t think they will ever forget that lemons do indeed taste pretty sour!


Listening, following directions, vocabulary, quantity concepts, memory/recall, and sequencing
I used Boardmaker (my favorite go-to program for creating so many of my articulation home practice sheets and just about everything I create for my speech kids) to type up a recipe and some activity follow-up questions.  You can easily find a recipe online or make up your own.

Let me know if  you ever “cook” or have your kids follow the steps needed to create something in your therapy sessions.  What have you made?


  • Emily says:

    Heather, This is such a great idea!!!! I can’t wait to do this stuff with Kyla, and I didn’t even think of all the ways the kiddos can learn from a recipe! Brilliant 🙂 xoxo

  • Tish says:

    I love this idea! I recently did an activity with a 2nd grade group of girls where we had cheese, celery, apples, and crackers. After going over the plan and what each of us would do, they closed their eyes and described all of the sense aspects of the foods they were feeling, smelling, tasting, etc. They had to guess what they thought each sample was. They LOVED it! And while they used great descriptors they learned some new ones as well. Lots of vocab learning with this one. Love you site too. Thanks for sharing.

    • Heather says:

      That is such a great, multi-sensory learning idea! I love how you brought in all those foods for them to experience! Such a great way to build vocabulary. Thank you for sharing! Love it!

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