Hello everyone, welcome to another blog post! 

Today, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite winter/holiday themed interventions, as well as ways that you can adapt these interventions for your virtual sessions. I’ll also share the goals that you can target with these interventions as well! 

  • Build a Snowman

This is an intervention that you can use with both individuals and groups! You can choose to use this intervention for attention and listening goals, or adapt it in any other way to best fit your clients’ needs.

In person session: Print, cut out and laminate various parts of a snowman. I used three 8×11” pieces of paper as a snowman’s body. For groups, I pass out different parts of the snowman, and within the song, different parts are called, and the client is supposed to hold up the correlating part of the snowman, and then they’re able to put it on the snowman. The parts are held on with velcro, so that they are able to easily detach and reattach. You can do the same thing with an individual client, but have the various parts of the snowman spread out, and then they find the correct part. With lamination, you can also easily sanitize the materials afterwards. I have included a photo below of the end result of doing this intervention with one of my in-person groups (pre-covid)! I have also included a photo of the lyrics I use to help facilitate this intervention that is piggybacked off of Frosty the Snowman

Virtual session: Create a power point with options of various parts of the snowman on each slide. You can choose to use a field of 2 or 3 depending on the needs of your client. I have included a photo below as an example. After your client chooses each part of the snowman, you can copy and paste the chosen part onto the blank snowman slide. You can also copy and paste the entire slide of the snowman each time your client chooses a new item to add, so you don’t have to start from scratch every time. 

  • 12 Days of Christmas (piggybacked)

In person session: This is another intervention that I have created for my groups of clients that also focus on attention, sequencing and listening goals. I took the melody from the 12 Days of Christmas and changed it to the “10 Days of Winter”, and changed the lyrics so that each day is a different winter related object. Some objects I included are mittens, hot cocoa, fireplaces, snowmen, etc. I printed out photos of each object called, with one taking up an entire 8×11” sheet of paper, and then I pass them out to the clients. I explain that during the song, when their objects are called, they are to hold up the picture. This works great with bigger groups as well, because even if they do not have a picture, I prompt them to point at the picture of the object that is called. For example, when I sing “On the fifth day of winter, [facility name] gave to me, 5 snowflakes!”, the person with the picture of 5 snowflakes holds up their paper, and everyone else gets to point at the picture. 

Virtual session: There are many ways to adapt this intervention depending on your client and their needs! One way that you can facilitate this intervention while using virtual sessions to your advantage is if your client is working on counting as a goal. For example, “On the fourth day of winter, [client] gave to me, four fuzzy mittens!” Afterwards, you could present a slide with a total of 5-10 mittens, and have them click on prompted number of mittens. This is especially great for Zoom, as you can give them remote access, so they can click on the objects themselves. On google slides, you can choose to have pictures on each slide fade in and out, which can be great for one-on-one correspondence! 

  • Holiday song fill in the blank 

Holiday songs can be a really great tool to use to help facilitate speech and work long-term memory. If you are familiar with the NMT technique called MUSTIM, this is a great technique to help facilitate both of these goals. As always, it is important to use client-preferred music, so make sure that you are aware of client preferences and familiarity before facilitating Christmas themed music. For example, in the song Rudolph, there are clear phrases and ends of lines. You can choose to leave off the last word in each line for clients to fill in, or make it more challenging by pausing in the middle of a line. For example, “Rudolph the red nosed reindeer had a very shiny _____, and if you ever saw it, you would even say it _______”. This is a great intervention to scaffold as well, and you can even scaffold it so by the end, they are able to sing the song entirely independently while you provide an accompaniment. 

  • Pass Rudolph 

This is a great intervention that we used pre-covid in groups, to allow clients to have the opportunity for a leadership role, and to work on listening skills. This intervention can be done with really any song, but in this case, we chose to use Rudolph because we had access to a stuffed Rudolph that we used as a prop. Clients are prompted to pass around the stuffed Rudolph, and when the therapist stops playing/singing, whoever Rudolph lands on, that person gets the chance to have a solo. The solo can be done with drums, tambourine, or any other percussion instrument, and they can even sing as well. The other clients are instructed to listen to the other person as they do their solo, and then to clap for them at the end. The therapist can provide an accompaniment on guitar/piano while the client has their solo, and can improvise words based off of what is happening in the moment to the tune of Rudolph. 

There you have it! Some of my favorite winter/holiday interventions. I would love to hear from you all- what are some interventions that you’ve done? 

Happy holidays and see you in the next post!

  • Juliana Hsu