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Little Friends, Music, Products

How to Build YOUR Old MacDonald Packet

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Thank you for your for stopping! You have found a tutorial on how to make my latest (and favorite) song packet. I put hours upon hours of thought and love into this product. I hope this step-by-step pictorial helps simplify your experience. Cheers!


1. Print the desired pages


2. Cut out the animals, lyrics pages, and fence. only cut the fence along the DOTTED line.



3. Laminate everything.

file2-1   file1-2


3. Fold the fence and background along the SOLID lines and place under heavy books.

file3-1    file7


4. Make the pocket. Line up the creased fence with the bottom of the background. You can wrap the edges around as well for added security.


5. Glue the folded portions of the fence to the back of the background.



6. Velcro anything you want and go to town!




Thank you again for purchasing my product. I hope your kids get a kick out of it and much learning is had. As always, I welcome your feedback! Happy singing, everyone!

Articulation Therapy, Language Therapy, Little Friends, Music, Products

How to use Old MacDonald to Build Language (E-I-E-I Love This Song)

For kiddos with language delays, songs are pure magic. They provide an excellent avenue to use scripting both in the therapy room and in the home. This verbal routines are easy to implement because families and kids have probably already heard them. Score!

Let’s take Old MacDonald, for example. If I had a nickel for every time I sang Old MacDonald… I could buy a private island. Maybe. Probably not. I could buy a nice purse though.

There’s a reason that little farmer is so popular and can be heard ringing throughout my clinic on what seems like a daily basis. Not only are animals super fun, but the song itself is very flexible to suit a specific child’s needs.

That’s why I created a leveled companion product to go along with Old MacDonald. It’s designed to add layers of complexity to guide your little friends through child language development. My kids LOVE this activity! This puts them in control of the song. It’s portable and ADORABLE! With or without this packet, though, we will break down what Old MacDonald has to offer.




The packet contains 6 levels of visual lyrics:

  • Lyrics Level One: Vowels (9 to 12 months)
  • Lyrics Level Two: Nouns and Environmental Noises (12 months old)
  • Lyrics Level Three: Prepositions (12-24 months old)
  • Lyrics Level Four: Third person pronouns (31-34 months old) and third person possessive pronoun (35-40 months old)
  • Lyrics Level Five: irregular past tense (43-46 months old) and articles (43-46 months old)
  • Lyrics Level Six: full lyrics

Each new level adds additional visual supports to aid your chid reach his or her goals. Yay scaffolding!


The above picture is a prototype for Level One- to give you an idea! You can click here to see updated previews. Bonus: the little fenced in area lets us get in (and out! and on the paper!) some bonus prepositions! Double Bonus: you can use your own animal toys instead of the 3d animal setup and this becomes a NO PREP activity!

Enough product placement for the moment and back to my undying devotion to Old MacDonald. We can use this song (with or without extra visual supports) to take us even further through child development…

  • Promote gross motor imitation:
    • Gross motor typically comes along before fine motor. For this reason, if a kiddo will not imitate your actions, he probably will not imitate your sounds, much less words.
    • So clap along! Point to things! Exaggerate your movements and facial expression and make it S-I-L-L-Y. Adults being goofy is the BEST. You will feel like the most hilarious person in the world (assuming this kiddo has joint attention).
  • Produce Vowels:
    • This one’s pretty obvious, I suppose. E-I-E-I-OHHHHHHH
    • Although, for the animal sounds I sometimes take the consonants out to make them more manageable for my friends. Kiddos are much more likely to imitate (or at least attempt) if the task is “bite-sized”. So many of my kids won’t try unless they think they will be successful. Even a tiny two-year-old doesn’t want to fail! Scaffold for them. Make it doable and they will DO. I cannot recommend the Kaufman Kit 1 CV1CV 1 cards enough for this. I LOVE how they break words down and they pair great with this song.
  • Produce Consonants (and moving on into syllables):
    • We can modify the heck out of those consonants to work towards an individual child’s goals.
    •  For example, I have a little bitty late talker on my caseload right now who is working on mastering bilabials. No problem! We can talk about pigs, of course. Other animal names are a little tough but we can work out our meow, peep, baa, and moo. My little friend loves that “they” can participate!
  • Build Vocabulary
    • Again pretty obvious. I love working on naming animals with my kids. Animals are fuzzy, cute, and fun.
    • Once kids learn the party trick of telling people “what a (ANIMAL NAME HERE) says”… forget about it! They are the coolest kid on the block.


Thank you again very much for your interest in a product (and song) that is so near and dear to my heart. Please feel free to contact me with any questions! I hope you consider downloading the packet.

Happy, singing!



Articulation Therapy, Most Popular, Older Friends, Products

Teaching Retroflex R

I have so so many R kids on my caseload right now. Which sometimes makes my head feel like jelly and sometimes I secretly enjoy. (keep that between us- I don’t want our schedulers to send me every R kid)


For my sanity, I began to develop a systematic approach to teaching the R. Before you read any further, let me clarify that I am specifically discussing retroflex R in this post but the same principles can be applied to bunched R.
If you are unsure of the types of R (bunched vs. retroflex), you can check out THIS helpful video.

As a part of my quest to conquer the R, I began to develop various visuals and handouts to help my patients, their parents (and me) along the way. I’ve compiled some of these resources in my handy dandy R packet. You will see a few previews from this packet, as well as a few helpful youtube videos, in this post.

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PHASE 1: Make sure your kiddo can HEAR and SEE the difference between a correct and incorrect retroflex R. If a child can’t discriminate auditorily or visually, there is really no point in going further. This step is a must! Many kids will fly right through this.

Phase 2: Teach AR in 3 steps: tongue flat (“ahhh”), curl tongue slowly, close jaw a little bit. To help kids grasp this, go nice and slow, give them lots of modeling, perhaps even bust out the ol’ mirror and flashlight. I also like to use my hands as a cue (either by counting or mimicking what movement my tongue is making). I’ve demonstrated this in yet another video– yay!

Phase 3: Shape AR into ER. First we produce AR using our 3-steps, then we FREEZE on the 3rd step and say ER immediately after. Continue practicing in this progression until the child is comfortable enough to produce ER without an “AR warm-up”. You can check out this helpful video for further explanation. I find once we perfect our AR, the rest typically comes more easily. I want slow, careful, intentional movements. If a kiddo misses a step, I want them to know exactly which one was in error. When children become “their own therapist”, they are better off!

Phase 4: Use ER as our springboard for ALL THE REST! You heard me. If a kiddo can consistently and independently produce ER, then we are well on our way to saying the remaining vocalic R’s (ear, air, ire, or), initial R, and even R blends.The slide show below gives a little glimpse into what I’m talking about here. The general concept is the “er” sound we have been teaching now simple represents R in the remaining forms. For example, each vocalic R turns into a little equation. OH + ER = OR and so on. Start practicing this segmented and slow so the vowel doesn’t distort the lovely retroflex R we have achieved. Smooth it out over time. Same goes for initial R (red becomes “errrrrred”) and try becomes (“terrrrrry”). We can speed things up once the articulators are consistent.


To help teach the oh-so-tricky medial vocalic R, I created a few visual-heavy and tactile resources to help your kiddos out. My Teaching R Packet mentioned above has almost 100 pages of worksheets designed to help overcome every obstacle the R may throw at you.

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I also developed these R puzzles to help tactile and visual learners remember that no matter what R word we’re saying- they can’t get sloppy! If they have R in isolation, they can do it in any word. It’s amazing how much these little things have helped my students.

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Finally, I have some super silly tongue twisters to help with generalization. These contain materials for word, phrase, sentence, paragraph, and structured conversation level practice. These are a great challenge for those older kids still working on R!


To check out these 3 resources in a growing bundle you can click HERE! To check out my whole R category click HERE.

That about sums it up! Keep in mind every kid is different. This method is simply something I have had a ton of success with (as have so many others!). Feel free to take and leave whatever you find useful to your individual students or patients. Be sure to follow Speechy Things on instagram for more therapy ideas as well! My email newsletter might be helpful to you as well (and you will get some freebies!).