Game Nights: Facilitating Speech and Language Skills in the Home
I often have parents and caregivers ask me about recommendations for games that they can purchase and play at home in order to help facilitate speech and language skills, piggy backing on speech therapy goals. Below are just a few examples of games that are able to be easily modified depending on a child’s age and/or skill level. Board games not only address language skills and speech therapy goals, but are also a great way to address turn-taking skills and sportsmanship. All of the mentioned games are available for purchase at most retail stores.
- Headbanz: Headbanz requires the child to “guess” the noun on their “headband” by asking the other players a variety of questions. The game provides sample questions for the child if they have difficulty asking questions or benefit from visual prompts. The game can also be modified in order to address descriptive concepts by having the child describe what is on the other players ‘headband’ without using the target word or giving the answer. It is also an excellent game in order to address grammar and using complete sentences that include descriptive terminology. The game includes a timer; however, I often play the game without using it. This game is also available in a Disney Edition, which includes Disney related characters and objects seen in movies.
- Zingo: Zingo is a picture version of Bingo. Instead of matching numbers, it uses pictures of a variety of objects/nouns. This game is excellent for naming and expanding expressive vocabulary. It is also works on the concepts, same/different, matching and can be used for articulation practice as well.
- Chutes and Ladders: This game is great for counting, sequencing, and cause and effect relationships.
- Candyland: Candyland is an excellent and fun alternative to working on colors and matching. I will sometimes play this game while addressing articulation skills using a color-coded system that will include a color that indicates a number (i.e., red = 5, yellow = 3, etc.), and the color that is chosen is the number of times that the child has to practice a target word/sound.
- Playchest Games Go Fish: This game is also excellent to address counting, matching, and taking turns. It requires the child to “catch” a fish that will be matched to his/her boat. Most fish have numbers on them; therefore, this is a great way to target articulation. Practice at home by having the child practice a target word the same number of times that is on their fish.
Practicing speech and language skills at home can be fun and targeted during play activities. It is important to remember that most games can be modified for a child’s individual needs. Feel free to ask your child’s therapist for any further game recommendations!