I think almost every kid I have ever worked with has loved activities involving COOKIES! I have made pretend cookies with play dough, engaged little ones by pretending to bake and eat plastic cookies and tailored functional communication lessons with decorating real cookies. I have even nicknamed a little guy “cookie monster” because when we did my requesting items “decorating sugar cookies” lesson, he would do WHATEVER I wanted to get the cookie. He even spontaneously asked for a cookie at least 5 times trying to get seconds. Needless to say, “cookies” are motivating for kids. Heck! They are motivating for adults too. You will always find me lingering in the staff lounge when some has brought COOKIES to share! Today, I wanted to share a very cool game that I use in therapy called The Cookie Thief Game by The Speech Bin.
One of the great features of this game is that is has 2 variations to play. The game comes with 6 double-sided game boards, 72 cookies, 12 cookie thieves, a spinner, and a cookie jar. The first way to play, you hand out a cookie plate with the empty side facing up. As the student practices their speech or language target, they get to spin the spinner to see how many cookies they get. They either get to collect 1-3 cookies or STEAL 1-3 cookies from another player. All the kids love it when they get to STEAL cookies. The student with the most cookies at the end of the game is the winner.
The second variation to the play the game is to give a game board to each student with the cookie side facing up. Put all the cookies and the cookie thief cards in the cookie jar. After the student has completed their articulation or language target, they get to pick a cookie out of the cookie jar. If they pick a cookie thief card, they have to put a cookie back! The player to get all their cookies matched on their plate is the winner.
Ways to use this in speech therapy:
1. Articulation-Have your student’s practice their target sound at the word, phrase or target level before taking a cookie. At the end of the game, the student has to say their target sound for every cookie they collected!
2. Language- for the little ones you can work on matching and the concept “same”. You can also work on counting and practice teaching the concepts “more”, “less”, and “most”. This is a great game for your low functioning students to practice requesting a cookie, a chance to spin, a game board, etc. It is a great reinforcer game to play along side any language card deck to work on vocabulary, idioms, or grammar targets. As the students are picking a cookie from the cookie jar, you can teach the students “adjectives” for describing the different cookies. A pre-lesson to playing this fun game could be to practice sequencing how to bake cookies and discussing other food items that would fit in the same category as a cookie. You can use the cookie game pieces and have on of the student’s be the “cookie thief”. Have the student hide the cookies around the room and then students have to ask questions using prepositional phrases to figure out where the cookie is hiding such as “Is the chocolate chip cookie under the book on the shelf?” You can do an activity where the students have to guess who the cookie thief is. Give clues such as “the cookie thief brings people their food and works at a restaurant.” If they can guess the correct occupation, they get a cookie for their plate. You can even make up clues about people they know like their teacher, yourself and the kids in the group. This task can work on teaching occupations and/or adjectives for describing people.
3. Fluency- It is a great reinforcer game to play with students while they practice using a fluency technique in sentences from any fluency program. You can also have your students practice using easy stretches or slow speech in carrier phrases such as “I stole your cookie.”, “Can I have a cookie?” or “I want a yummy cookie.”
4. Social Skills- Students can practice the skills of winning and losing a game. They can help work on problem solving when they don’t get the cookie they want or when someone steals their cookie. I have a couple of Asperger students who get upset because they lost the game or they don’t want students to steal the game. We are able to address how to “handle” that problem in a natural game situation. This game is great for some of my students on the spectrum to work on waiting their turn, requesting a item by using eye contact and initiating conversation.
5. Behavior management- The game does give some ideas on how to use this game as a behavior management tool which is really cool! A student can earn a cookie for their cookie plate as they complete work during the day, stay seated in their desk, transition smoothly to the next task, initiating conversation to ask for help or assistance or using appropriate behaviors in the classroom. Once they get all their cookies on their plate, they can earn a positive reward such as 5 extra minutes on the computer or stickers.
I love the versatility of this game and the fact that it gives you two ways to play. The graphics are very colorful and real looking! I have used the game pieces for other activities, so it is very functional beyond just the “game” set. You can buy this game at School Specialty or try to win a free copy of this game by entering my GIVEAWAY below, thanks to the kind folks over at School Specialty. Check back for more giveaways, tidbits and therapy ideas during my Speechy March Madness Month!