Get up and Move Series-Paper Cup Articulation Tower

In December my students are so excited about the winter break that it is hard to keep them at a table top activity for 30 minutes.  I try to get my students out of the chair and moving around the therapy room as much as possible.  For the next few weeks my posts will focus on activities that veer away from sitting at the table playing a game and focus more on getting my students moving!   Let’s GET UP AND MOVE!

Paper Cup Tower

This idea came from a blog post that I saw almost three years ago on Sublime Speech.   I took it a step farther and turned it into a game.

First I picked out words that include the target sound my student is working on.   (For this post /r/).   I wrote the words on folder labels and stuck them to the bottom or inside of the cups (see pictures below).  This way if I wanted to use the cups again for a different sound I could.  (You can use a label maker, write them on the cup, or use pictures for students who can not read).  For this activity I used Webber Jumbo Artic Drill Book Add on Volume 3 to generate words but you can also use Speaking of Speech.

It turns out that my speech intern had recently found the Sublime Speech post too  and used a Pringles Tin to keep her cups in.  She also used the smaller bathroom paper cups while I used regular sized paper cups.  Either one works.

IMG_8874 IMG_8875 IMG_8877

How to Play:

1.  The students build a tower.  Every time they put a cup on they have to say the word on the cup.


Regular size paper cup tower


Smaller size paper cup tower

2. The students pick a ball from my basket.


3.  They stand behind the line at the opposite end of the therapy office.


4.  The first person throws the ball at the tower.


5.  The student collects the cups they knocked down and keep them in a stack.

6.  The next student goes and does the same thing.

7.  Students continue until they have knocked all the cups down.

8.  The students then each take turns saying the words on their cups.

9.  The students count up the number of cups they have in their stack and the one with the most cups win (Since we often play this game more then once we try to see who can knock down the most cups during the whole session.)  **Some of the cups have stickers on them.  If a student gets one of those they can get an extra point.  Sometimes the rule is if you get a sticker then the student has to come up with a word on their own that contain their targeted sound.  This month, to get the students doing movements, instead of having cups with stickers on them, I have cups that have an exercise instead (5 wall push ups, 10 arm circles, 5 jumping jacks, body wiggle, etc).IMG_8884

10.  Usually we are able to play this game 3 times in a 30 minute session. This is great because it gives me over 100 opportunities for students to practice their sounds in one session.

My students love this activity and it does not take that long to make.   Today a student said, “THAT WAS AWESOME! Can we do that again next week?”  This is also a great activity for parents to do at home to work on carryover skills.


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