Home Private Practice A Dozen Ways to Use Muffin Tins in Sessions

A Dozen Ways to Use Muffin Tins in Sessions

by Klaire Brumbaugh
written by
Modern clean muffin tray with narrow depth of field

Looking for new activities? Limited space? No time to prep? No problem.

Just grab a muffin tin and gather small objects or print little images to add 12 simple activities to sessions.

A muffin tin serves multiple purposes for a variety of skill levels and ages on your caseload. I use muffin-tin activities to target articulation, phonology, expressive and receptive language, vocabulary, and more.

Try one or more of these activities :
  1. Focused stimulation. Use small objects or pictures with targeted phonemes. Have the child identify the targeted object/photo from the field of 12 after producing the target word.
  2. Production practice using targeted objects or pictures. Ask for three productions each time the students places the object in the tin—or takes it out—resulting in 36 productions. Complete this activity three times and the client or student has 100 productions.
  3. Reinforce. Metal muffin tin? Flip it over and use magnets to reinforce for correct responses, correct productions, or attending to the lesson.
  4. Matching attributes. Can you put together two or more sets of like items? Great! Let’s get matching!
  5. Sorting. Organize each row or column by a specific category according to class, color, size, or other attribute.
  6. Patterns. For our preschool and early elementary students, working on patterns supports their educational goals. You can use a muffin tin to work on a variety of patterns—like ABABA, ABCABC, ABBABB—by placing items in a sequence in each tin. You decide based on your client’s goals.
  7. Prepositions. Over, under, beneath, behind, in, between. So many opportunities to practice following commands or giving verbal instructions using prepositions.
  8. Segmenting three and four phoneme words based on the orientation of the tin. Use an item to mark each spot as an individual sound. For example, turn the muffin tin vertical to work on CVC words. Each tin holds a “sound” for them to place a manipulative as they mark each phoneme “d-o-g.”
  9. Story retell visual cue. What happened first, next, and last? Place numbers or questions in each muffin tin. This will prompt the student to sequentially retell a story with prompts and allow them to touch for tactile input.
  10. Synonyms and antonyms. Place words or objects in each tin and ask the child to generate a synonym and antonym for the target that they select.
  11. Association. Place objects and/or pictures in the tins and have the child describe how the targets are related (or unrelated) to one another.
  12. Play “I spy” with a limited set of options to encourage more creative and less-obvious descriptors. For example, place a variety of animals in each tin and develop statements that target specific goals, such as identifying objects when given size attributes or two adjectives (for example, I spy a large, orange cat).

Read more on simple session strategies:
Target articulation and phonological awareness while incorporating fine-motor skills with muffin tins.
3 Steps for Using Wait Time to Improve Treatment Outcomes
One SLP uses a “Why Rainbow” to increase motivation by asking 5 “why” questions. 

By using structured play, the clinician remains in control of the target selection while the child is actively involved. The muffin tin allows for clearly defined expectations of the number of trials, which also may motivate the child to stick with the activity even when the concept is difficult.

Klaire Brumbaugh, ClinScD, CCC-SLP, is an assistant professor in the communication disorders department at the University of Central Missouri. She is an affiliate of ASHA Special Interest Groups 1, Language Learning and Education; 10, Issues in Higher Education; and 11, Administration and Supervisionbrumbaugh@ucmo.edu

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