Raise your hand if you run mixed groups! If you are a school-based SLP, mixed groups are inevitable. They can be tricky and overwhelming. As SLPs, we have to manage behavior, plan an engaging lesson, and teach multiple goals at the same time. Don’t worry. I have you covered. I’ll share with you some great ideas and even give you the Amazon [affiliate] links to conveniently purchase anything you need to make your mixed groups an overwhelming success.
You Aren’t The Only SLP Struggling With Mixed Groups
It takes a lot of failed activity attempts to make mixed groups work. So, if you think you are the only SLP struggling to succeed in this setting, you are not alone.
Structuring Your Mixed Groups Around Games
One way you can tackle mixed groups is by grabbing a generic game like Candyland, Sneaky Snacky Squirrel or Pop The Pig. (Affiliate link.) Then, grab the task cards, stimulus items, word lists, etc. for each of your students. While you are playing the game, every student is able to practice their goal during the game.
This approach probably sounds familiar, right? This is my definite go-to when I have everyone working on a drill type of activity. It works well.
Today, I am going to share some fresh, open-ended, speech therapy games for mixed groups in therapy. In addition to these fun activities, I will also share some mixed group games that have language already embedded, so you can target language naturally during the game.
Open-Ended Speech Therapy Games For Mixed Groups
This DIY popsicle stick game is cheap to make and can be used with any mixed group. Write different numbers on each of the Popsicle sticks; include some Zap 1, Zap a friend and Zap all in the mix. Put them all in a can and have students pick a Popsicle stick after each turn. The student with the most points at the end wins. If you need a rule cheat sheet, you can download this one HERE. Need more ways to get higher articulation repetitions with your articulation sound students? I have lots of ideas including how to use this Zap It game HERE.
You can call this game whatever you want! Basically, it is a point-based game using magnetic chips and wand (Amazon affiliate link). I always tell the kids that at the end, everyone gets to use my “magic” wand to pick up all the chips. You just need a die/dice and magnetic chips. Kids roll the die and then pick up the same number of chips as the roll on the die. You can change it up a bit by adding bonus rules for rolling a 6–steal 2 chips from a player–or roll a 1 and you lose a chip.
Easy Low-Prep Games For Mixed Groups
I like speech therapy games for mixed groups that are easy to prep and can be used across several grade levels.
Race to 100 is a great reinforcer game that works with any goal! For your articulation students, it is a great way to get 100 trials. Everyone in the group can play the “game” and when it is their turn, they can practice their target skill. Check out my blog post on the game HERE
Kiwi Speech has some open-ended mystery tile games that can be played with any speech or language target, which means this game is great for mixed groups! Students take their turn: saying a word with their sound in it, defining a vocabulary word, identifying if a behavior is expected/unexpected – anything! Then, they reach into a box and pull out a tile. They match the picture on their tile to a picture on the board. If they already have the picture – they put it back and their turn is over. The first person to fill up their board will reveal the mystery phrase and wins the game!
Vocabulary Games That Can Be Used For Mixed Groups
This game is great for working on building vocabulary, beginning inferencing and describing nouns by attributes. You can use this with articulation students by picking mystery words that have their sounds. After the students guess the noun, ask students wh-questions about the noun, or make them use in a sentence. Students working on social skills have to work on keeping their body and brain in the group. Read more about this game HERE.
Students can work on describing nouns in this minute-to-win-it game. This vocabulary game is organized by articulation sounds, so you can use it in your mixed groups. This is a great game to play when you want to see how your students do with their articulation or language during an unstructured activity. This is a game that will make your session more FUN and still be working on your students goals. Check out the game HERE.
More Language Games That Can Be Used For Mixed Groups
Create dice games that you can use with mixed groups. This game idea is from SLP Natalie Snyders. Write down six attributes and number them 1 through 6. Pick items or pictures that match your articulation students sound. The kids can roll the die and whatever number the student lands on, that is the type of attribute they need to share about the item. To read about more dice games, you can check out Natalie’s post HERE.
Play “Where’s the Treasure?” with this DIY bottle cap game. Take old bottle caps and put velcro on the tops. Put articulation or language pictures on top. Hide a penny or a treasure item under one of the caps. Whoever finds the treasure wins! You can read more about how to make this game HERE.
Boom Cards Category Picture Activity from Looks Like Language is free and can be a game used in mixed groups. All the cards have /r/ stimulus words, so you can target /r/, while teaching categorizing, answering wh-questions, use in a grammatically correct sentence and negation.
This next game is a twist on my mystery word game. I found it from Hallie at Speech Time Fun. You just need a paper bag (any bag or container will do) and items around your speech room. You can work on story telling, describing nouns by attributes, following directions with basic concepts, basic inferencing, and using the items in grammatically correct sentences (fluency students can practice their strategies). Pro tip: Pick items that have your students speech sounds to place in the bag. Now you have a carryover activity! Check out more details on how to use in your speech room HERE.
Share Your Mixed Group Games
What mixed group games have you created for your speech room? If you have a game you created specifically to rock those mixed group sessions, email me pics and directions at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to feature your game on my blog!