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My Top 5 Games for Encouraging Language




Happy 2020! I am excited about today’s post, because the topic is a fun one. Today, I am listing my top 5 favorite toys and games to use in therapy. Each of these games can be used to target a variety of language and social skills! I want to share why I like these materials as well as what to look out for if you do use these with your child(ren) or student(s).


CROCODILE DENTIST



What I like about it:

This is definitely a crowd pleaser and my #1 most requested game. I love that this game can be used for so many different targets-making it a great option for group speech. Sometimes, I work on verbs such as open, push, get, and bite, etc. Other times, I use a dry erase marker to color in the teeth and brush the crocodile’s teeth (especially for students who might not want to get bitten by the crocodile, but are still interested in the game!). Students can make predictions for what tooth will cause the croc to snap! They can take turns, ask each other, “are you okay?” or “did it get you?” When students are scared or do not want to play, I model “no” or “don’t want” etc. to teach refusing. Crocodile Dentist is a quick game that can be played several times within a session, which is great for students with limited attention.

What to watch out for:

This game can be frightening for some students! While the crocodile’s bites do not hurt, it does make a noise and bites without warning, which may be upsetting. I always demonstrate the game first before letting students play. Some students are afraid to use their fingers, so I recommend keeping a toothbrush, pointer, wand or other comparable item in the box.


JUMPING JACK



What I like about it:

This is another fan favorite! Jumping Jack is a great game for groups because it provides opportunities for turn-taking. To set up the game, you put carrots into a hill before putting Jack, the bunny, on top. There is novelty in this game because each round, pulling a different carrot will make the bunny jump! I like to target core vocabulary such as in, out, up, pull, turn, jump, etc. This game comes with a spinner that can be used during turns, telling students whether to take 1 or more carrots. This can be used to reinforce mathematical concepts such as 1:1 correspondence or concepts like “more” and “less.”


What to watch out for:

Like Crocodile Dentist, this game can be a bit startling, as the bunny jumps unexpectedly. Some students do not like the “jumpy” tension of this game! However, after a round or two, most of my students are comfortable playing. This game can be difficult to set up at times, causing the bunny to malfunction (though this is a great opportunity to target vocabulary like “broken” or “what happened?, etc.). There are a lot of pieces to this game which can be difficult to manage in a group setting with some students!


SOGGY DOGGY



What I like about it:

Soggy Doggy is a really fun game. It consists of a dog, made out of stretchy material, and a small bathtub with a shower. You fill the tub up with water and give the dog a bath. Pushing the handle of the faucet causes water to spray out of the shower head. Turning the handle occasionally causes the dog to shake, splashing water all over the place! My students love the messiness of this game and the excitement of being the one to get the puppy to shake. This game can target so many different concepts, and I often play it after reading a story about bath time.


What to watch out for:

This game is MESSY(*but it’s only water*)! The dog splashes water all over, and the bathtub is always spilling. While great for sensory/water play, I find that some students are upset by the mess or by getting wet. Some students opt to sit further back and watch their friends get wet. Others prefer to just push the knob to spray the dog without making him shake.


FEED THE WOOZLE



What I like about it:

Feed the Woozle is a game where students feed a monster various “food” items. The unappetizing food items, such as “chocolate-covered flies” and “hairy-pickles,” always create conversation and giggles with my students. We talk about whether we would try the foods or not and what we think they taste like. This game comes with a numbered die which tells you how many foods you must put on your spoon to feed the monster, called a woozle. There is also a spinner that tells you a gross motor movement to do while feeding the woozle, such as spin or do the hula. This is a cooperative play game which helps students build relationships with each other without feeling competitive. My students like to take turns putting the cardboard monster cut out on their faces like a mask and scaring me/each other!


What to watch out for:

This game has lots of pieces but they are mostly cardboard. Some students have trouble holding the spoon, so I allow them to use their hands or hold my hand while I use the spoon. As I mentioned, the food items are gross and this can make some children upset or overly silly. For the most part, this is a simple and fun game that is suitable for all!


GO AWAY MONSTER




What I like about it:

Go Away Monster is a game that includes cardboard pictures of different bedrooms and objects that belong within the room (e.g. bed, lamp, toys, etc.). There are also cardboard cutouts of different monsters. All of the pieces are in a small pouch with a drawstring. Students choose a bedroom (great opportunity to target choice making and colors, as each bedroom is a different color). They then get the chance to reach into the pouch and choose an item. If they choose a piece that belongs in the bedroom, they get to match it to their board. If they choose a monster, the fun begins! They get to tell that monster to go away! I love this game because it is simple, fun, and targets really important skills. We use this game to practice saying “go away” because I truly believe that being able to tell someone when they are too close to you or bothering you in some way is so important for all students to learn. I also love that the objects are in a pouch which naturally creates the opportunity for students to ask to “open” each time they take a turn.


What to watch out for:

Because this game has monsters, some students may be frightened. However, I would say the monsters are more silly than scary, as they are brightly colored cartoons. The game only comes with 4 bedrooms and sets of pictures, so it isn’t suitable for a larger group unless you share or make extra items!



Thanks for stopping by!


As always, you are more than welcome to contact me on instagram @talktomewithaac or via email at talktomewithaac@gmail.com with any questions, comments, or requests for post topics!!




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