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A popular question, any time of year….”What can I buy my kid for that will help with his speech?” This post is going to answer that question! I always think that board games are a good choice (next to books!) for gifts because they are interactive, will incorporate basic communication skills, like turn taking, and can provide a child with a language model.
For the past week I have been polling my kids on their favorite games in my room, so I can gauge what they actually like. This, they loved. Although some had trouble narrowing it down and I only let them have one vote. I have two categories of games, open-ended games that can be used to target anything and language based games. First let’s do open-ended games…ready? Let’s go!
So, of course, the most popular game for my littles is Cariboo by Cranium. Which is available on Amazon for a shocking $145. Why? For some reason that I just can’t figure out, Cranium stopped making this game. The kids love it. You can target shapes, colors, and letters with this one, but it also has many multisyllabic words and early phonemes that can be good for reinforcing articulation skills. If you keep your eyes peeled at thrift stores and garage sales, I bet you could find it!
Apples to Apples is the next most popular game that is great for language! I have posted about this one before, which you can read here. I love using this game to work on describing, word relationships, comparing/contrasting, vocabulary, parts of speech, and even carryover for articulation or fluency. There are a ton of different versions available!
Blurt is next, and this is probably my favorite game. This is great for vocabulary, listening comprehension, and word retrieval!! You can read my full post on it here.
Hedbanz is the next most popular choice, and it should be! This game can target a whole gaggle of speech & language goals like describing, asking/answering questions, vocabulary, carryover skills, etc. The kids just love it and it is always a lot of fun. There are also a couple of versions of this one available, even a Disney themed one!
Guess Who? is a classic choice for language that I remember playing when I was a kid! This game is good for asking/answering questions, describing, vocabulary and strategic thinking. I have the version pictured above, but there are a whole bunch of different kinds you can find, including a Star Wars Edition!
I was totally shocked that none of the kids I polled voted for Ned’s Head as their fave, but I know they really like it! This game has a huge head and you have to pull the correct object out of his head to win. The objects are pretty goofy. We have used this to target describing, vocabulary, and categories with the included objects, but it is also fun to put other stuff inside (artic words, your own objects, flash cards, anything!)
Another one that no one voted as a favorite is Rory’s Story Cubes. This game is fantastic for expressive language…you can target narratives and syntax, plus the kids can use their amazing little imaginations. You can use this for just about any age….definitely a must have!
In A Pickle is a great language game that can target critical thinking, word relationships, vocabulary, and concepts of size. I don’t take this one out a whole lot, but it’s pretty fun when we do. It is definitely for your middle & high school kids.
Ok, Round 2 features games that you can use to target just about anything if you have a stimulus or something to practice…just have the student do one before taking each turn.
- This is a great activity for articulation drill practice. Have the child produce a word with their target 5 times or say a target word in a sentence!
- Have fun with their vocabulary & Spelling lists for class…ask them to give you the definition or spell a word from their list.
- Work on following directions by giving the student a simple command to complete, like “Raise your hand and touch your nose.”
- Practice syntax by giving them a word to put in a complete sentence.
- Build word knowledge by having them name objects in a category, synonyms, or antonyms.
That list could go on forever, but you get my drift. Basic board games are also good for working on social skills like turn taking and basic communication. You can also model good language by describing what is happening in the game and engaging the child in conversation. The possibilities are endless! Here are some of my students’ favorites:
CandyLand. Duhhhhhh. This is a favorite that I don’t think is EVER going to go away. This one is also great for working on colors!
Jenga. I have three different Jenga games in my room (all of which are knock-off versions, but we still call them all Jenga). You can also write words on the blocks if you wanted to target something specific…I have one for synonyms and one for antonyms!
Another classic, Uno is pretty popular in my room. You can also target numbers/colors with this one!
Are we on a roll with the classics? Apparently there aren’t many new games that I own! Lol. Checkers is another good one, which can also be used for strategy and higher level thinking for older kids.
Ok, this is a funny story. I bought Poppin Hoppies this summer on clearance at Target…and I had pretty low expectations. So needless to say, this is the new most popular game in my room. I have one 4th grader who asks to play every time he comes to speech. Every. Single. Time. Basically, all the little hoppies pop up and you have to catch them. It is super fun and I have found that kids from Kindergarten, all the way to 5th grade like it. Crazy, huh?
Pass The Pigs is another new one for this year and it is a hit! Who doesn’t want to roll pigs around and score points??? My kids also like learning the names for all of the positions that the pigs can land in!
Those are all of our favorites! Some other games on the chart that got no votes at all were:
They don’t get a ton of play time, but I still like them!
What a list! Are any of your favorites here? What other games do you love for your speech & language students?