Being in a school-based SLP job is a rewarding – albeit, challenging – career choice. Children, quite naturally, have shorter attention spans and difficulty focusing than adults. As they proceed through developmental stages into mature adulthood, they will grow to see the value of hard work and perseverance. In the meantime, childhood is focused on fun and games, and you can meet students where they are by selecting appropriate therapy games during treatment sessions.
Here are six speech therapy games that can engage your speech therapy caseload in a fun, light-hearted way, and help them learn as they play:
- Storymatic (available for $23.99 plus shipping on Amazon as of 4/6/2016)
Storymatic is a fantastically fun writing prompt game that aims to teach vocabulary and communication while tapping into students’ creativity. There are 360 cards with different words (as well as some blanks for you to fill in!) that you use to craft unique tales. Besides vocabulary enhancement, Storymatic helps provide building blocks for crafting stories and putting words to ideas in a fun, easygoing way. There are several variations of the game; for school-based therapists, The Storymatic Kids! version can be particularly useful.
- Zingo (available for $17.50 plus shipping on Amazon as of 4/6/2016)
Consider Zingo, a vocabulary and word association game, “bingo with a twist.” The objective is to match all the pictures or words on your card with ones that come out of the “zinger,” which holds all the tiles. It can be a faced paced and competitive game and comes with two levels of difficulty. Whether you are an elementary school SLP or an early intervention speech therapist, Zingo is sure to capture the attention of any child and help build vocabulary, recognition and matching skills.
- Blurt (available for $27.55 plus shipping on Amazon as of 4/6/2016)
Just from the title, you might guess that Blurt is loud and fast-paced – and it’s an excellent way to help special education students develop build the speech and language skills using a therapy game. Blurt has sold well over a million copies, and there is definitely a reason for it; school-based SLPs will be elated at student response when introducing a therapy game that targets word retrieval, auditory comprehension and pragmatic language skills…and is fun! The game involves players reading hints aloud off cards, while other players try to be first to answer correctly, blurting out the response quickly. Blurt promotes healthy competition and encourages students to engage in an experience that weaves together solidarity, learning and amusement.
- Rory’s Story Cubes (available for $3.99 plus shipping on Amazon as of 4/6/2016)
Rory’s Story Cubes are similar to Storymatic, but this therapy game uses cubes instead of cards – each featuring a different image or symbol. Nine cubes with varying images on each side results in 10 million possible combinations to construct stories. School-based SLPs can use this therapy game to help students build expressive language skills, interpreting images and concepts while using appropriate syntax. A number of speech therapists have experienced success in using the cubes in therapy sessions, testifying the therapy game has helped in vocabulary development, listening stills, articulation skills, language skills, storytelling, sequencing and more1.
- FitzIt (available for $1.70 plus shipping on Amazon as of 4/6/2016)
This game seems like it should be a staple in any speech therapy job environment where SLPs help students hone their receptive language skills. FitzIt, a card game helps school-aged children in 6th grade or high use word association and critical thinking. Players are dealt cards with spatial and/or visual descriptions (e.g. can fit in a drawer). Each student tries to think of something that correspond to an initial card – and then as many cards as possible in the SLP’s hand. Although it is not as fast-paced a therapy game as Blurt, FitzIt does require thought and creativity. The genius of FitzIt is its open-endedness – empowering students in therapy sessions to be as creative as possible. This is an excellent game for individual speech therapy or group speech therapy in school settings.
- Guess Who? (available for $9.87 plus shipping on Amazon as of 4/6/2016)
Guess Who? is an easy game that helps SLPs in jobs serving school-aged children use descriptive language, interpret information and form questions – all while building articulation skills. Each player’s board displays pictures of people; each player draws from the deck a card with one of the faces. Players will take turns asking close-ended questions about the image on the other players’ cards (e.g. does your person have green eyes?). The questions continue to narrow down the choices. This therapy game serves as an excellent aid for school-based SLPs as they seek to engage students in speech therapy.
Have YOU used any of these games in any of your speech therapist jobs? If so, we would love to hear about it – please comment below!
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