Category Archives: Letter O

O is For Olives – Eating Our Way Through the ABCs

In these days of sensory awareness, I’ve noticed that one medium for learning and sensory experience we often overlook is our taste buds.

Did you know that O tastes salty (olives), and sweet (oranges, Oreos), and mushy (oatmeal) and spicy (onions)?

We worked a bit with food last week while studying the letter O, and we had great fun with olives.


A pretty simple supply list – wooden skewer, styrofoam bowl or Play-Doh, can of whole black olives, and a can of whole Manzanilla (green) olives.

Bella HATES olives, so she wasn’t having any of her taste buds tantalized with these, but I got Noah to at least lick one of the black olives.  He wasn’t too impressed, but he was happy to play with them.  Olives do have a unique feel to them, slick and wet and easy to crush.  We turned this session into patterning practice.

Just take a wooden skewer and poke it through an overturned styrofoam bowl (or you can stick it in a clump of Play-Doh).  Then start the pattern off by skewering a green olive followed by a black one and have your child continue the pattern.  Change this up with more difficult patterns if your child seems ready.

Ah love this (said in my best Southern drawl)!  (Get it – olive this)?

O is for Octopus

It’s always a challenge to keep Noah motivated during anything that resembles a speech therapy drill.  Now that his speech therapist and I have gotten more comfortable with each other, I’m slowly returning to working with him on his speaking words at home.  I can’t claim this idea as my own, but I am at a loss to remember where I got it from.


You know those little reinforcement stickers for patching torn holes in binder paper?  Well, they just happen to be perfect Os.

For this activity, I printed off a copy of an octopus coloring page that you can find here:  I never know how much Noah  is picking up as far as the printed word, but unless I have proof he’s not picking up anything, I’ll be writing out words every chance I get.  That’s why I added O and octopus at the bottom of the page.

If you’re just looking for fine motor or occupational therapy practice, help your kiddo peel and stick the stickers onto the page and you’re done.

But if you’re like me and desperately trying to capture every possible opportunity to multitask, use the reinforcement stickers as a reward during drills.  I had Noah go through his Kaufman cards – he had to say the word on a card three times and then he got to use a sticker.  So, we covered phonemic awareness, fine motor skills and speech drills all in one 10-minute activity.  I just LOVE it when that happens!

Free Printable Number Strips

When children with special needs learn, often they need more practice than their typically developing peers.  Even their typically developing peers often have to do at least a few repetitions before mastering a new concept.

Number Strip 1-5

Here are some simple counting strips – numbers 1 through 5 with dots and numerals.  (Click on the strips for a free printable PDF; and yes, I know I posted one of these the other day, but I wanted to give you a three-pack so you can use all three at one sitting.)  Cut these strips out and use with any manipulatives.  I like to tie the manipulatives we’re using in with the theme of the week.  Since we’re working on the letter O this week, we’re using shells (“Ocean” theme), Fruit Loops (Os) and orange circles.  You’ll find three strips on the page because I find three to be a good number of repetitions when working with Noah (6-Down syndrome).  I gather three sets of manipulatives and have him do three strips per sitting.  One item goes in each square, and we count sequentially 1-5.