Music and games can be used in the speech and language classroom to improve attention, increase participation, foster better communication, and increase memory and retention. Children of all ages and abilities can benefit from music and games. To save you time, we’ve gathered some of the best ideas from the web on how to incorporate music and games into school-based speech therapy.
These games and activities incorporate music and songs into speech therapy sessions.
- Musical Shakers – Whether homemade or purchased, shakers can help speech-language therapists to gauge listening and word identification skills. Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) can help children make shakers out of used water bottles and dried pasta or beans. Thanks to In the Playroom (Twitter: @theplayroomblog) for this idea! Visit their website for additional instructions on making shakers.
- Who Took the Cookies from the Cookie Jar – This song game can be used to develop question-and-answer patterns and is a great articulation activity for speech therapy sessions. The repetitive lyrics are fun and engaging – and easy to learn. Find the words and activity description at Super Simple Learning.
- Drumming – The use of drums in speech therapy sessions can be valuable for fostering enthusiasm and interest in speech therapy while helping children attain goals with retention and word recall. Drums can be used to set the tempo, create and express emotions or indicate commands such as FAST, slow, Start or STOP! For example, an SLP job could be to present emotions through the sound and tempo of the drum and then have the child describe the emotion. Alternatively, the speech therapist can state an emotion and have the child demonstrate that emotion on their own drum.
- Do You Like Pie? – A song compilation for speech therapists, the songs on this CD teach phonemes, syllables and words. Each song is written in two versions, one for children who speak well and one for those who currently struggle. The CD also offers downloads of games and activities to use with the songs. Check out this song on Pam Marshalla’s YouTube.
Traditional games with speech therapy twists, these games can be purchased online or in-store at discounted prices.
- Sound Connect Four – The game of Connect Four Hasbro (Twitter: @Hasbro) can be modified using dot stickers with different target sounds or site words on each piece. Before the child can play a piece, they have to correctly use the sound or say the word. This is a great activity for one-on-one speech therapy sessions. Thanks to Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas for this game idea.
- Guess Who? – Popular among school-based speech therapists, this game, also by Hasbro, can be modified to use for the development and practice of articulation, comprehension, question formation, and more. For example, Speech-language-development.com recommends using Guess Who? in speech practice with /s/, /z/, and/or /r/ by limiting questions and responses to those that use those sounds. Be sure to visit the site to find other ways this game be incorporated into the speech sessions.
- Zingo® – Zingo is a modified version of Bingo by ThinkFun (Twitter: @ThinkFun). Teach Speech 365 suggests writing numbers on the backs of the Zingo cards that correspond to stimuli on a list the SLP has created in advance. When the card is drawn, the child must respond to the stimuli before marking off the number on his or her Zingo card.
- Moustache Smash – Made by SpinMaster (Twitter: @SpinMaster), this game belongs in both the modified and design-your-own categories because there are many ways SLPs can use it in school-based speech therapy sessions. Games include using the cards for sorting, printouts that make “flashcards” fun, and even a style of Go-Fish. Find 7 different Mustache Smash-style games at home-speech-home.com.
Design Your Own Games
These games can be made using inexpensive materials and/or printouts available online.
- Beach Ball Therapy – Using an inflatable beach ball, an SLP writes key questions and stimulus items all over the ball with borders around each item. The ball is then tossed between children, with each child responding to the question or stimulus that their right thumb (or another finger that is decided upon) is touching. This game is a favorite at Crazy Speech World.
- Word Wheel – Create a spinner with different categories on them and a score sheet to tally for each child. The child spins the wheel and responds to the category selected. The child who gets the most marks on the score sheet is the winner. For directions on how to make your own spinner, visit E is for Explore.
- Wind Up Toy Game – Using a plastic basket or inbox tray, insert a printout with squares designated by category or sounds. Have the child wind up a toy and place it in the basket. Whatever square the toy stops on is the category or sound to be worked on for a designated period of time. This activity is great for articulation, grammar, emotions, vocabulary, and much more. Thanks to Speech Time Fun (Twitter: @speechtimefun) for this fun and creative game.
- Wahoo Word Game – This fun game is a free download offered by Teachers Pay Teachers. Played much like the board game Sorry!®, Wahoo Word Game helps speech therapists work with and practice -ar words with their students.
Music and games have been shown to be key parts of any SLP tool kit to engage children while helping them learn new skills and practice current skills. It also makes SLP jobs easier and more rewarding.
What are YOUR favorite ways to incorporate music and games into your school speech therapy sessions? Please comment below!
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