The ’90s truly were a fantastic time for many things. The music was second to none, the movies were top-notch, and don’t even get me started on the food. Wait. Yes, get me started on the food! This particular decade contained several foods that were nothing short of magical, and if you don’t believe me, check out this article that I just stumbled upon titled 38 Discontinued Foods We Wish They’d Bring Back.
Such fun foods! Am I right?
After I read that article, I asked myself, “Erik, is it possible to somehow pay tribute to these fabulous ’90s foods by incorporating them into a speech therapy activity?” Well, the answer is YES and I’m going to share with you some ideas that I came up with for my kiddos. Because, we need to keep the memory of these wacky 90s foods alive and what better way to do so than by introducing ’em to a new generation. Haha!
Open up your very own grocery store.
As you can see in this picture of mine, I printed out a few of the pictures from the article, cut ’em out nice and neat, and then I set them up on my speech therapy table. I told my students that they were to pretend that our speech room was a grocery store, but not just ANY grocery store. This grocery store was one from the year 1990! And ALL the foods in this grocery store have since been discontinued, so that is why the foods may not look familiar to them.
One of my 4th grade students even made a great connection by stating, “Oh, Mr. Raj, when foods are discontinued, that’s kinda the same thing like when an animal goes extinct right?” I praised him, nodded my head, and told him that he was on the right track. I explained that when a food is discontinued, no one can ever see or enjoy that food again because the company chose to no longer make or manufacture it.
Talk about the food while we go shopping.
I allow my students to explore the various food pictures and I encourage them to attempt to explain what they think certain foods might have tasted like. “Eww!” screeched one of my 5th graders.” This one breakfast cereal is called Kellogg’s OJ’s! I see it has oranges on the box. And it says here that it tastes like orange juice! No wonder it was discontinued.”
Another student started laughing while she mentioned, “Wow. This one soda is called Hubba Bubba Soda and it says that it’s the original bubble gum soda. That probably tasted delicious. Why would they possibly discontinue that?!” This is where it got interesting because another student disagreed by interjecting, “Um, are you serious?! Bubble gum soda? You’re crazy! That sounds gross to me.”
From this back and forth dialogue, I was able to work on a lot of social language goals and objective because there’s always a right and wrong way to disagree with opinions shared. Together, myself and this group worked on polite ways to disagree, such as more appropriate word choices and using a kinder sounding tone of voice (because it isn’t always what you say, but HOW you say it, right?). I love pragmatics.
Paying for the foods at the grocery store.
I have fake money in my speech therapy room, and it’s always neat when I introduce the cash into an activity like this because some of my students’ views on how much something should cost are a bit . . . off. For example, one of my 4th graders believed that the Batman cereal should have been at least $30.00 a box. This was an eye opening response because it helped me to realize that he didn’t have a clear reference point as to how much cereal typically sold for in the first place. So together, we went on Google and were able to search and find out that the typical price of cereal in the United States ranged from $2.50 to around $4.50. This is such a functional and real-world thing to know, right?
In addition, since this student was working on perfecting his (medial) /R/ sound, we came up with some great money-related sentences for him to practice.
- The Batman cereal is three dollars.
- The Vampire Secret ice pops are three dollars.
- The Cherry 7up gum packs are three for three dollars.
In closing . . .
So, do you think this speech therapy idea will cause your taste buds to stand up and cheer? Do you think that exposing your students to foods that have been discontinued would cause them to ask a bunch of insightful questions? And most of all, do you think you can actually do this speech therapy idea without having your tummy rumble and say, “Hey you! All this chatter about food is making me hungry! Feed me!” Haha! Good luck with this little idea of mine, and as always, please let me know how it goes. I always enjoy hearing from each and every single one of you.