BEST Stopping Speech Therapy Activities To Try

If you are a speech language pathologist working with children who have articulation disorders or phonological disorders, chances are you’re always on the lookout for engaging stopping speech therapy activities! Keep on reading, because this article provides suggestions for stopping phonology activities, as well as some tips and tricks to try out during speech therapy sessions while working on communication skills.

stopping speech therapy activities and ideas for speech-language pathologists

What is Stopping?

Stopping is a phonological process, which falls under the umbrella of a speech sound disorder (reference: american speech-language-hearing association). Phonological errors involve rule-based error patterns, versus a single sound error. Fronting is an error pattern that SLPs may encounter often, especially if working with preschoolers and kindergarteners. A child’s speech intelligibility can be impacted when a phonological disorder is present.

What is stopping? Stopping is a phonological process. It occurs when a stop sound replaces a fricative or an affricate.

Speech Language Pathologists are trained to diagnose communication disorders, and this includes phonological disorders. SLPs may administer informal or standardized assessments. Test results may provide detailed information about which phonological processes are considered “active”. These assessments can be helpful in determining a treatment approach and plan.

Stopping – Phonological Process

Stopping occurs when young children substitute “stop” sounds (such as p, b, or t) for fricatives or affricates. Examples of stopping include ‘toe’ for ‘sew’ or ‘pan’ for ‘fan’.

Stops include p, b, t, d, k, and g.

Fricative sounds include speech sounds such as f, v, voiced th, voiceless th, s, z, sh, zh, and h.

Affriacate sounds include ch and dj.

Reference: Selected Phonological Processes. (2022). Retrieved 10 December 2022, from https://www.asha.org/practice-portal/clinical-topics/articulation-and-phonology/selected-phonological-processes/

Other examples of phonological processes include consonant cluster reduction, fronting, weak syllable deletion, and final consonant deletion. Read more about all of the different phonological processes.

When Should Stopping Be Eliminated?

The phonological process of stopping should be eliminated by or before 5 years of age.

Reference: Selected Phonological Processes. (2022). Retrieved 10 December 2022, from https://www.asha.org/practice-portal/clinical-topics/articulation-and-phonology/selected-phonological-processes/

How To Treat a Phonological Disorder

Speech therapists have research-based phonology treatment approaches available to try in speech therapy.

To learn more about various approaches, keep on reading!

Research-Based Phonology Interventions for Speech Therapy

Choosing an appropriate intervention strategy can make a huge difference when treating phonological disorders! There are several options that speech pathologists can use to treat this type of communication disorder. Luckily, this article from The Informed SLP deep dives into all of the speech sound production intervention strategies that can be used to treat articulation and phonological disorders! SLPs will also love the handy download that pairs with the article. Some interventions discussed include the complexity approach, the cycles approach, and core vocabulary words. If you are having a hard time deciding what approach to take, this is a great starting place.

The Complexity Approach

Speech pathologists may find this article on the complexity approach useful. The complexity approach may be combined with maximal oppositions, which are pairs of words that differ by multiple elements. Targets may include more complex, later-developing sounds or clusters. This approach can be helpful for highly unintelligible children who are demonstrating a moderate to severe phonological disorder. It is a great way to increase a child’s intelligibility!

The Cycles Approach for Phonology

The cycles approach was developed by Barbara Hodson. Check out this CEU course to learn more about how to use this approach.

Phonological processes are targeted in a “cycle”. The focus may be on one specific process (such as stopping), for weeks, so a lot of time is set aside to ensure success and understanding. The next pattern addressed might be gliding.

Auditory bombardment is used in each session. Auditory bombardment involves reading a list of words or a book. The SLP would read a list of words to the student with the target sound, or pattern, for that session. When implementing the cycles approach, the SLP chooses a small set of 3-6 target words to address in a speech therapy session. Those targeted words are practiced throughout the session, using play-based, interactive activities. The speech pathologist would provide modeling and cues throughout the session, then finish by probing for the next session’s targets.

Childhood Apraxia of Speech vs a Phonological Disorder

Both CAS (childhood apraxia of speech) and phonological disorders are types of speech sound disorders.

Childhood apraxia of speech involves difficulty with planning and programming the movement gestures for speech. It is considered a motor speech disorder.

A phonological disorder involves patterns of rule-based errors.

They can co-exist, and a speech pathologist will need to determine the appropriate treatment approach based on clinical judgment and severity. A child with severe CAS, for example, will need a treatment approach based on planning the movements needed for speech.

Articulation Word Lists

Speech-language pathologists often find having ready-to-go articulation word lists helpful to use during a busy day! Bookmark these f sound word lists and s articulation word lists for speech therapy. These lists include consonant sounds at the word level in single-syllable words, multisyllabic words, and consonant clusters. They can be very helpful for data collection. An SLP might try using the easiest words on the list, depending on a child’s needs.

How To Use Minimal Pairs in Speech Therapy

Minimal pairs therapy can be very beneficial for students with articulation or phonological disorders. Minimal pairs differ by only one sound or feature. Sound contrasts can be very useful and help some students make significant improvement. A picture cue paired with each target word allows the student to realize he is actually saying a word with a different meaning when sound errors are made. For example, “leaf” vs “leap” are minimal pair words that have very different meanings. Read more about simple ways to utilize minimal pairs in speech. Minimal pairs can help draw attention to incorrect productions.

stopping minimal pairs activity for speech therapy- ch vs t minimal pairs
Minimal Pairs Activity

Stopping Minimal Pair Words

Enjoy this list of minimal pair words to use in speech therapy! They are perfect for students with articulation disorders or phonological disorders. Also, try these ready-to-go minimal pairs with visual prompts.

F vs P Initial Minimal Pairs

  • fan vs pan
  • feet vs Pete
  • fall vs Paul
  • feel vs peel

F vs P Final Word List- Minimal Pairs

  • beef vs beep
  • leaf vs leap
  • puff vs pup
  • laugh vs lap

S vs T Initial Minimal Pairs

  • sell vs tell
  • sew vs toe
  • sub vs tub
  • sick vs tick

S vs T Final Minimal Pairs

  • base vs bait
  • nice vs night
  • mice vs might
  • miss vs mitt

SH vs T Initial Minimal Pairs

  • shy vs tie
  • show vs toe
  • shop vs top
  • shell vs tell

SH vs T Final Consonants Minimal Pairs

  • fish vs fit
  • mash vs mat
  • push vs put
  • cash vs cat

CH vs T Initial Minimal Pairs

  • chick vs tick
  • chin vs ten
  • chair vs tear
  • chew vs two

CH vs T Final Position Minimal Pairs

  • ouch vs out
  • peach vs Pete
  • coach vs coat
  • match vs mat

TH vs T Beginning of Words Minimal Pairs

  • thick vs tick
  • think vs tink
  • thigh vs tie
  • thank vs tank

TH vs T End of a Word Minimal Pairs

  • bath vs bat
  • myth vs mitt
  • path vs pat
  • math vs mat

TH vs P Final Minimal Pairs

  • math vs map
  • moth vs mop
  • cloth vs clop
  • Keith vs keep

BEST Stopping Speech Therapy Activities

It is important to have fun and provide motivating activities for young children to address a target pattern! Speech-language pathology often involves hands-on, interactive activities to review targeted skills.

Minimal Pair Stopping Speech Therapy Activities

Here are the best stopping speech therapy activities to try using with your speech and language students!

NO PREP Minimal Pair Worksheets

These minimal pair worksheets are perfect for the busy slp who doesn’t have a whole lot of extra time to plan therapy sessions. SLPs in the school setting will be able to use these stopping activities in small groups! A speech therapist can spend an entire session using these no prep minimal pair phonology worksheets.

These fun minimal pair activities can be paired with play dough, a magnetic wand and chips, or a game. If there’s no time to laminate, simply place the desired pages in sheet protectors. This will ensure a high number of trials during each therapy session. The picture stimuli provided are clear, and the page is organized. This product is very effective for students who are having a difficult time with a variety of speech patterns and simplification errors.

speech therapy activity for stopping
Minimal Pairs Activity for Stopping

To use these worksheets, first, choose the target process and sound. For example, perhaps you are working on stopping, and wanting to focus on the s sound at the ends of words. After choosing this sheet, you would first read the list of auditory bombardment words to your student. Your student would not need to repeat these words; this is a listening activity.

Then, your student can practice an auditory sorting or discrimination activity. They can point to the picture visual to let you know what sound they heard after you say each minimal pair word.

Finally, your student can practice saying the minimal pair words! A fun follow-up activity is to then smash play-doh on top of the target word.

Send these pages home with your speech and language students. Family members can easily review the targets with students since clear instructions are provided on each page.

MAGICAL Themed Minimal Pairs

Knights, dragons, wizards, unicorns, and more! These fun minimal pair activities have a magical theme that is sure to engage younger students! This resource is available on teachers pay teachers. It includes ready-to-go activity sheets and play doh smash mats that target a variety of phonological processes, including stopping. There are also activities provided for cluster reduction, initial consonant deletion, final consonant deletion, voicing, devoicing, fronting, and backing.

Here are stopping minimal pairs targeted:

  • f vs p initial
  • f vs p final
  • s vs t initial
  • s vs t final
  • sh vs t initial
  • sh vs t final
  • ch vs t initial
  • ch vs t final
  • voiceless th vs t initial
  • voiceless th vs t final
  • voiceless th vs p final
stopping speech therapy activities for f vs p minimal pairs
MAGICAL Themed Minimal Pairs Activity

How to use this resource:

Simply print out the page you would like to use with your student! These pages pair with play dough and magnetic wand and chips. These interactive stopping speech therapy activities are highly motivating for young learners!

Articulation Picture Card Activity

Speech therapists will love these speech sound cards for students with articulation and phonology difficulties! Not only do they address a variety of speech sounds, but you can simply flip between cards to EASILY find the speech sound mouth visual you need! These unique articulation cards provide a nice change from traditional drill cards. Plus, your students will be pretty excited to see articulation picture cards that are in the shape of lips! This will be the perfect visual reminder for your student. These single words chosen provide more simple syllable structure options.

The speech sounds targeted are:

•k initial, k medial, k final

•g initial, g medial, g final

•sh initial, sh medial, sh final

•ch initial, ch medial, ch final

•j initial, j medial, j final

•f initial, f medial, f final

•v initial, v medial, v final

•s initial, s medial, s final

•z initial, z medial, z final

•voiceless th initial, voiceless th medial, voiceless th final

•l initial, l medial, l final

•r initial

articulation task cards for speech therapy
Articulation Mouth Cards


Stopping is a phonological process that may be treated in speech-language pathology treatment sessions. A phonological process is a speech pattern simplification. Stopping occurs when young children substitute “stop” sounds (such as p, b, or t) for fricatives or affricates. Examples of stopping include ‘toe’ for ‘sew’ or ‘pan’ for ‘fan’. Other examples of phonological processes include consonant cluster reduction, fronting, weak syllable deletion, and final consonant deletion. Read more about the different phonological processes.

Speech-language pathologists will love using these stopping speech therapy activities:

  1. No Prep Minimal Pairs
  2. Magical Themed Minimal Pairs
  3. Articulation Mouth Cards

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