Wednesday, February 6, 2013

"Games" and Speech/Language Therapy


“Man, it must be such a blast to be a Speech Teacher.  I mean, all you do is play games all day right?”

How often have you resisted the urge to “school” somebody who says something this misinformed?  We’ve been having our annual observations by administrators and I’m constantly concerned that they might observe a session where I utilize a mainstream game (aka non-therapy product) to target IEP goals.  You see, by the time they reach upper elementary most kids have played the “therapy games” 153 times and are positively SICK of them!  And, to be honest, I’m sick of them too!

I began compiling games for therapy when I took my current position.  Prior to this, I worked with nonverbal students, Early Childhood, etc.  I get most of my games for SUPER cheap at thrift stores.  I frequent those on Saturdays while I run errands.  Some of my games were even the ones I had as a child… free is best right?  I’ve found that sometimes teachers who have kids will have some of the games I’m on the hunt for and don’t have any problem loaning/donating them to your room.


I wanted to share with you some of the games I use and what I use them to target:

Oodles of Doodles – In this game students are given a category in which there are objects/people/events, etc.  When it is their turn, they draw the items on their card on a board with dry erase markers.  Their team/partner attempts to guess what they are drawing.  This game targets expressive language in a different way.  Instead of naming shapes, colors, sizes, function, etc. of an object… they must draw it to get the partner to accurately guess it.  It also reinforces categorization skills and expressive language task of naming objects/events.  Sometimes I allow them to use different color dry erase markers to reinforce color attributes.  Keep in mind that you may need to adjust which cards are available to draw from because some are too difficult for younger children.

Blurt – This game targets the expressive task of naming vocabulary and word-retrieval.  This is one of my favorite games for 3rd grade and above.  Each card has a “riddle” of sorts on it which describes an object, etc.  I am usually the reader and give this clue.  The first kid to “blurt” the answer moves ahead.  There are several ways to vary this game for differing levels.  Again, keep in mind that you may need to “throw out” harder cards.  There are differing levels for this game and it would be appropriate for middle/high school as well!

Headbanz– A speech room classic.  If you don’t have this in your speech room please go get in your car, drive to the nearest Target/Wal-Mart and purchase it!  This is my go-to for younger (well, even older kids love it) students to work on ASKING questions.  I give them prompts and help them as needed.  This also works on students who need work on answering questions.  Students place a card on their head without looking at it and begin asking WH questions to narrow down what they might be (What color am I? Where would you find me?).  The only con is that sometimes the illustration keeps kids from accurately answering certain questions (color, etc.).  A simple “Yes, that’s the color of it on the picture but what can it be in REAL life” helps to change that!  Pro is that this is EXTREMELY motivating… they find it hilarious!

TriBond Kids/Jr. – Occasionally we will pull out this game with my older students as it is pretty challenging.  Students are given 3 things/names/places and asked what they have in common.  It’s great for students working on categorization and vocabulary skills but again, can be pretty difficult.  Be prepared to modify the game to your needs.

Taboo Junior/For Kids – This is one of my favorite games for therapy.  It works on SO many things!  If you’ve played the adult Taboo… this is just the junior version.  Students draw a card with a word at the top that they must get their team to guess… without using the words listed below!  It’s very tough for expressive language kiddos to do this without prompting at first.  Here are some things we’ve discovered Taboo works on: Synonyms, antonyms, functions, shape, size, color, location, vocabulary, and so much more!  For receptive vocabulary it can also be great for identifying the word given through the clues.  There is very little I have to do to adapt this for therapy.  You do need to have readers but typically this game is successful with my 3rd graders and above.

Outburst Junior – Another great one for naming things within a category.  Students are given a category and race against the clock to name as many things in that category as they can.  Their opponents can steal unsaid things at the end!  While the most recent version of this game would be best, I have a 1989 version that is nearly 25 years old.  I have to throw out some cards that are no longer relevant to my kids but other categories never change!

Cariboo– When I found this at a thrift store for 75 cents I nearly died!  It can go for so much more than that on Amazon/Ebay!  I usually use it for a simple reinforcer game but it can be used for identifying colors, numbers, and shapes for Early Childhood kiddos.  You can also easily adapt the cards on it with artic/language cards.  Kids unlock squares to find hidden bouncy balls which are placed in a chute to open the treasure box. (Cariboo Island is a little easier to find and has a similar game structure)

Password Jr. – This game is one I typically use with expressive language kiddos.  It can also be used for artic carry-over etc.  Students try to get their teammate to say the “password” by describing it in only a few words. (Baby: A small human)  I also created a “Secret Word” game that is very similar to Password and will work with the decoders provided in the game (I’ve put it on sale for only $1 until 2/8/13!).  It targets CCSS vocabulary.  Pros – great for describing terms.  Cons – students need to be readers unless you can whisper the word quietly enough which is surprisingly hard to do!

Jenga/Jumbling Towers/Tumbling Towers – This is my most-requested game.  I mainly use it for articulation as seen in this post.  I write artic words on both sides of the blocks and when students pull that block they say the word or put it in a sentence before placing it at the top.  Great for groups, speech centers, RtI, etc!  You can typically get 50+ words/blocks before it falls.  You can increase words said by having them say the words that are on each side of the block on each turn.  I also have them say all of the words on the blocks as we put them back in the box.  This gives me another 50+ words at the end of a session.  Sometimes it’s difficult for my lower kids to understand that they can’t pull certain blocks or the whole thing will fall on the 3rd turn of the game so you may need to prompt them.  I’ve also thought about putting CCSS vocabulary on the blocks for each grade…

Many SLPs have made companions to some of the other games I have.  I use my companion Sorry Synonyms & Apologetic Antonyms with my SORRY! game.  Several SLPs have cards for artic that can be used with Cariboo, Candyland, etc.  But, some of my games (Trouble, Connect 4, Blokus, etc.) are for reinforcement/reward only.  They are games that kids can take turns independently with while I work with the other student in the room.

So the next time somebody says, “Man, it must be such a blast to be a Speech Teacher.  I mean, all you do is play games all day right?” You can say, “Actually the kids think they are playing games but they are really increasing their overall language and articulation skills.  But, yes, it IS such a blast to be a Speech-Language Pathologist!”!

So, what “mainstream” games are in your speech rooms and how do you use them?
(I will pick a random comment to win 1 free item from my TpT Store!)

53 comments:

  1. My kiddos always like Cariboo. And it was good for requesting and pragmatics. I always held the key and made the kids request it using their good speech and language each turn.

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  2. My students LOVE Spot-it from BlueOrange. I use it to target artic at almost every level, response time, turn taking, same and different, sentence formation...I could write a whole post :)
    This is a great list!
    Let's Talk Speech Therapy
    Rachel

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  3. My kids -from preschool on up to upper elementary- absolutely love "Funny Bunny"! I had never heard of it before, but the previous SLP at this school had it and it was left here. There's a hill, bunny pieces, and cards to tell you how many spaces to move- but watch out! Your bunny might fall in the hole that keeps moving around the hill. I can use this for pretty much anything- ask a question, say a sound, respond to a situation- whatever, and then draw your bunny card!

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  4. I use the photo articulation cards from Super Duper for articulation games. The cards come in pairs of two so I use them to play go fish or war or any other card game you can do with a regular playing card deck. I just wrote 2-10 and J,Q,K,A on each card and the kids love it.

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  5. I also use Apples to Apples and In a Pickle with the older kids.

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  6. I like Kerplunk as a quick reinforcer after a few turns (pulling one stick per turn stretches the reinforcer and takes no time at all!). Also, Cariboo has been a lifesaver! I found mine by googling "Craigslist Cariboo," finding a cheap one, and offering to pay more via paypal for their time and shipping costs. Much better than paying 100 on Amazon and you can target so much with it!

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  7. I agree with Rachel, my kids love to play "Spot it" as well. I have also had good success with "Find it".

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  8. I use the game "Whoonu" as a getting to know you game at the beginning of the year, & bring it out periodically throughout the year because it's a ton of fun. I posted about it on my blog (it's the only lonely post there lol).
    http://joanneslp.blogspot.com/2012/11/whoonu-excellent-therapy-game.html

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  9. I love using Chutes and Ladders. Speech sessions are so short we can rarely finish any game we play. I write the number of the space each student is on on their data sheets. Then, we can pick up in the same spot the next time we have therapy. Some times it takes a few sessions, but my students LOVE being able to actually reach the end of a game board.

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  10. I love Cariboo and I think it's the favorite of all of my kids! I've also used Bubble Talk (similar to Apples to Apples, but kids gets cards of speech bubbles and have to pick the best response to a picture), Apples to Apples, In a Pickle, and Cranium's Hullaballoo (good for following directions!)

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  11. This is a GREAT list! Thanks so much for putting it together. My students love all games, but I use Candyland, Guess Who, and Chutes and Ladders a lot! Like people have mentioned, I use them for reinforcers but also to target language goals!

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  12. I use Turtle Picnic to target k/g (I can keep it, put it back, in the bucket), attribute (color + object), my turn, your turn, same and different etc. I also use Ice Cream Scoops to target many, many sounds but mostly sk (Pass me the scoop please, st (strawberry), ch (chocolate). I use Go Fish to target sh or g. I use Sorry with my older 2-3 graders quite a bit. I can use your synonyms/antonyms to address that and just reading the regular cards provides quite a bit of practice for articulation beyond simple sentence level...lots of s,r, practice. Guess What I Am is similar to Headbands but I use if for describing/expressive language. The students put a mask over their face with out seeing it and the other students describe who they are (you are an animal, you live in a zoo, you eat bananas). Also good for deductive reasoning.

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    1. Thanks for commenting! You are the random winner of 1 TpT item! E-mail me at sublimespeech@gmail.com!

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  13. i use Candyland and Cariboo or card games like Uno and Blink games like battelship, hungary hungary hippos, shoots and ladders, and mastermind on my ipad. I try to use games as much as i can because it helps keep my kids interested and the younger ones busy.

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  14. I can't believe I forgot about Guess Who! I have a variation called "Guess Zoo" with animals instead of people. It's a cute twist!

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  15. My kids love "Don't Wake Daddy". We work on colors, numbers, and yes/no questions (Did you wake him up? No!), etc.

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  16. I love Apples to Apples Junior. The students beg for it. They learn adjectives, nouns, synonyms (written on the cards) using more descriptive language. They have to explain why they chose a word (adjective or noun). I also let them take turns being the "judge" and justify their choices.

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  17. My favorite--What's in Ned's Head

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  18. My go to game is Pop Up Pirate as a reinforcer and I love Ned's Head too. I also recently posted about adapting Deal or No Deal on my blog. It's fun to think of new ways to use games. Thank you for sharing your ideas!

    Miss Thrifty SLP

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  19. Yes me too! Whats in Ned's Head is a huge hit and so flexible for anything. Add more sound based objects, use flashcards, do describing and it goes on and on!! Spot it is fun and I want Spot it Junior as well.

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    1. Oh and not a game but Rory's story cubes are great too!

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  20. Great suggestions! I'll have to check them out.

    By the way, Erin F says:
    In addition to the previously mentioned games, I also like to use Hi-Ho Cheerio, Ants in the Pants, Don't Spill the Beans. I use it for my younger and lower-level students for turn-taking, requesting, etc., and sometimes I also use them for my early to mid-elementary kids as a reinforcer. You'd be surprised how many first and second graders request these games. I like them because they're simple but fun!
    (Blogger doesn't like her so she can't post! Weird!)

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  21. This is an awesome list - a lot of faves here! My kids have really enjoyed Pop the Pig lately. Great for artic practice. We also like crocodile dentist as a quick reinforcer. Also Jenga for many areas. For language, we like Guess Who. Thanks for a great post!

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  22. Jenga (because that's my favorite!), Twister (it gets the kids moving...artic, spatial concepts, following directions), Mr. Potato Head, and because it's winter - Don't Break the Ice!

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  23. ok I can add one more to this great listing....Acrobats. A game from the 1980s that involved hanging bats from the archway taking great care not to cause the bat colony to detach from the arch and come crashing down.

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  24. One of my favorite games is Backseat Driver. Great for descriptive language and listening and following directions.

    An oldie but goodie Is Secret Square.

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  25. Hullabaloo is a great game too! You can target following verbal directions, vocab, and describing all at the same time!

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  26. I have to confess that when I buy games for my own personal kids I ALWAYS think in the back of my mind "is this something I can use in therapy when they outgrow it?"! My students of all ages love Zingo..can be used in lots of ways.

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  27. I use HedBandz to work on attributes, categories, and asking/answering questions. I substitute my own cards when needed and model questions until students can ask on their own.

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    1. I also use Jenga with words written on each side!
      Patti T.

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  28. This is a great post. I thought I'd join in the sharing, too. Here are a few games I like to use. With younger kiddos: Jumping Monkeys. This is great for artic - say your sound 3x then you get to launch your monkey at the tree. Sometimes I put artic cards all around the base of the tree so if the monkey misses the tree and lands on the table, it's another way to get more target sounds in. You can also incorporate all kinds of carrier phrases depending on the kids' target sounds, like for CH "launch" the monkey, or for G "go" monkey, etc. For older kids: Scattergories (the card game version), 20 Questions for Kids, Brainbox (fast-paced memory game where kids have to remember facts about the states). I use all of these more as reinforcers.

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  29. I use Cariboo regularly, as well as Pop-up-pirate, don't break the ice, monkeying around. Mostly as reinforcers, but also to have students use their words to request turns/colours/etc. I am on the hunt for candyland right now :)

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  30. I just bought Cariboo at Goodwill today for $2.99! I was so excited! My older kids love Blurt. They ask to play it often :)

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  31. I use artic or language cards with candyland or a super duper board game.

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  32. I use Candy land for both articulation and language goals. Chutes and ladders are good for cause and effect. My older elementary student really like Apples to Apples.

    Thanks for the great ideas!

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  33. I like using Sequence Junior. It's great for groups where everyone is working on something different. The kids can describe the animals that they pick, and talk about real and make-believe animals. Also, if the kids pick up a dragon card, they can remove another player's token, and so it's a good opportunity for kid's to practice being good sports :).

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  34. Number one choice: guess who...any language and easily adapted for all ages..Mr. potatoe head is one of my students favourites...endless ideas! CANDYLAND...I tell my grad students that no practice can begin without these three items and any Popping toys...feed the pig, pop'up,pirate , don't wake daddy..ever use Ned's Head?

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    1. Noticed no name appeared. Lisa Maislin Takefman.

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  35. I like Rory's Story Cubes, Headbandz,Scattegories, Taboo, Apples to Apples and Uno.

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    1. And one more favorite-Bananagrams!

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  36. I use shoots and ladders. I also love outburst junior! I love to use games in therapy! Thanks for this great post and so many more ideas!

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  37. For my little guys I use Candyland, shoots and ladders, for older kiddos, taboo, jenga, twister (for all ages), and even outburst. Also I love trouble, headbandz, apples to apples and in a pickle as appropriate! LOVE to show kids how language and games are all one in the same!

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  38. This is a great list, thanks for sharing. Jenga is requested pretty much everyday, especially with the older kiddos.
    ssjvarga@yahoo.com

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  39. Zingo for confrontation naming and artic. I give the kids a carrier phrase with their sound or grammar target. Dignity Dog for preschoolers for following directions, vocal output or early language.

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  40. My kiddos love headbandz and guess who!

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  41. I love Go For the Dough --- the kids are always saying "can we play the pizza game?"

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  42. I love Mystery Garden! It is great for a number of things including expressive langauge skills, descriptive questioning, prepositions, functions, categorizing, colors, etc. and the list goes on and on! It works well with both my regular ed kids and my self-contained kids!

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  43. Guess Who (for formulating questions and targeting attributes) is one of my favorites!

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  44. Nice article, thanks for the information.
    Anna @ sewa mobil jakarta

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  45. I have this Spongebob board game book that my kids NEVER get tired of & I just have a zillion cards I can do anything with it. UNO is my fave for artic, I make kids say the color & number & "skip you back to me" & so on. Any suggestions on games that maybe promote "social skills" besides the obvious?

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  46. I am maria Hernadez From USA, all the topics are very nice. I want to share my experience about Voice Therapy.Anyone can visit my site:
    http://www.speechlanguagetherapy.in

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  47. I use Strawberry Land http://www.ebay.com/itm/Strawberryland-Strawberry-Short-Cake-Hide-and-Seek-Board-Game-/171192983235 (little girls love it) - mostly as a reinforcer after they take their turn with whatever language/artic goal we are working on but also possessive pronouns - when they flip a card over and the item belongs to the other person's character - "Oh that's YOURS, it's NOT MINE", etc. if you have multiple people, it can be HERS, HIS, etc. I also use Candy Land and Snakes & Ladders a lot for reinforcing turns with language/artic goals. Games like these are always great for reinforcing things like who is 'ahead' who is 'behind' or 'in the lead', etc. I also recently got "Take the Cake" http://www.gamewright.com/gamewright/index.php?section=games&page=game&show=248, which I have used for shapes, colors vocab, matching - same/different, also auditory memory with multiple elements when you play with the cards and ask the other person for the items you need that are on your card, etc.

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    1. PS - had to say I also would put Cariboo at the top of my list and Pop-Up Pirate - it never gets old! When my daughter had speech and an itinerant DHH teacher as a young girl (she's now 16) she loved these so much we bought our own and I still use them with my students to this day and it's been about 12 years since we first purchased them. I would say these two are top - oh and a good Barrel of Monkeys (the thick ones if you can find them).

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