FREE Mystery Word Speech Therapy Language Game

FREE Mystery Word Speech Therapy Language Game

This week, in speech therapy we played a REALLY fun word game that targeted LOTS of describing skills.  I even found a way to adapt it for some of my articulation students.  Word games for kids are the best way to get engagement with vocabulary building.  When you say “game,” the kids feel like they are having fun and not realizing how much thinking they are doing!  Today, I am going to share this free mystery word speech therapy language game that will help you cover articulation and language goals 

Word Games For Kids- Mystery Word


Use this free mystery word game to cover your speech therapy language groups!

I used picture cards from my HedBanz Game (amazon affiliate link) to help my younger students think of a noun for the mystery word.  There are also these really cool Learning Resources Basic Vocabulary Photo Cards (amazon affiliate link included for your convenience) that would be awesome to use as well!  For my older students, we just brainstormed without pictures.

I made a detective game board to keep track of each player’s points.  You can assign one of the students to be the “points keeper”. These Reusable Dry Erase Pockets are amazing because I only have to print one game sheet to use over and over.

How to play the Free Mystery Word Game

To play this word game, the clinician and/or one of the students in the groups is in charge of choosing a mystery word. Pick a word and write it down where the students cannot see it.

Then, give clue #1 to the group.  So if we picked “donut”. Clue #1 would be “dessert group”.  Each student can take a guess of the mystery word item.  Praise the students who make a “smart guess” for guessing a word that is in the correct category.  Quiz the students if a guess such as “pizza” would be a smart guess and why it would or would not be a smart guess. Give clue #2 such as “You eat it.  You can deep fry it.  You can put frosting on it.”  Allow for students to make a guess.  If a student’s smart guess is correct, then they would earn 4 points.  Continue giving clues until someone in the group guesses correctly.

The person with the most points at the end of the session wins!  Have the student describe the noun in complete sentences after the mystery word has been revealed! 

I adapted this game for my students working on /s/ by having them say the carrier phrase “I guess the item is……….” to work on final /s/.  With my /r/ students, I only picked words that contained /r/! How could you adapt this game to make it funcitonal for your mixed groups? Share in the comments.

speech therapy language games for mixed groups

Use this Speech Therapy Language Game in Teletherapy

Use this free speech therapy language game to cover vocabulary and describing goals!

You can also use this game digitally in your teletherapy sessions using the Google Slides™ presentation included in the free download (click the pink button above to grab.)

You can use the Mystery Word Game as your weekly warmup lesson. Pick a word of the week and students can what the word is based on the clues. Or, you can create many mystery words and have it last as a digital game for weeks!

The Google Slides have linked buttons, so it is easier to navigate the Clue slides during the game. If you are wanting techy tips on how to use Google Slides, check out this YouTube tutorial with all the tips!

Watch the YouTube video below to see how to add images to the Google Slide presentation.

Need More Mixed Group Games?

Using games with your mixed groups can be hard because you are wasting time in your sessions with all the turn taking. So, I rounded up some of my favorite games that get in lots of good practice and don’t take up lots of time in between turns. For more of a language game that also incorporates a lot of movement, try doing I Spy around your speech room or in the home using vocabulary items. 

A fun SLP game that is free and great for mixed articulation and language groups.

Share the Speech Therapy Game in Action

I would love to see your games in action! Make sure to tag me on Instagram @thedabblingspeechie

This game should increase that engagement in your sessions and you don’t have to feel guilty that you are playing a game because it is working on their goals!

Looking for more Google Slide Game Templates? My digital speech and language Google Slide templates include as a Memory, Tic Tac Toe, and 4-in-a-row templates so that you can customize for your caseload. Check it out in my TPT store (there are also templates included to help you plan therapy, organize your materials digitally, and make digital speech and language folders for your students. 

FREE ‘I Spy’ Language Game for Parents

FREE ‘I Spy’ Language Game for Parents

With school closures happening around the nation it is extremely stressful for parents to educate their children at home. One way you can help your children work on language at home is by playing games. This ‘I Spy’ language game is engaging because it allows your child to move around and there are a lot of ways you can work on your child’s speech and language goals.

For speech therapists trying to figure out lesson plans for an entire caseload, this activity can help you give actionable therapy ideas because the free parent lesson plan includes ways to use this one activity to target a wide-variety of goals.

You can coach your parents each week with how to adapt this game to build vocabulary.

How to Play the ‘I Spy’ Language Game

'I Spy' language game to use to build vocabulary while homeschooling.

Directions for activity: Print the ‘I Spy’ check-off sheet and give it to your child. Have them go around the house looking for different items that are in the category groups or noun-functions. Once your child finds an item, they can check it off. If the things are small, your child can put them in a box or container as they see the item. Your child is finished with the ‘I Spy’ game when they have spotted everything on the list. If you have multiple children at home, you can break them up into teams to see who can finish the list first. They can look for these items in their toys, rooms of the house, or in their yards.

How the ‘I Spy’ Language Game Will Build Vocabulary

The research continues to show that children build stronger vocabularies when they build a depth of knowledge with a word. This means when they attach several associations with the word, they will have a stronger understanding of what that word means. So, when we work on attaching category groups to words, it helps children understanding how words go together. This is a handy skill for word finding, explaining similiarities and differences and organizing language. Check out this blog post about categories HERE.

At home, you can play this ‘I Spy’ language game to work on categories and noun-functions while also working on articulation, speech fluency, social skills, grammar, and vocabulary. It will help you feel confident that you are engaging your child in a low-tech educational game that is helping them grow.

There are also strong links to building vocabulary and reading comprehension. So, even though your child isn’t practicing reading they are building foundational skills that will help them with understanding what they are reading.

'I Spy' language game to build vocabulary at home and work on other speech and language goals. This speech activity can be used to help coach parents during distance learning.

Coaching Parents on How to Use This Game

'I Spy' language game to help parents work on speech and language goals from home during distance learning.

For SLPs that are trying to provide lesson plans for their caseload, this free download will help you plan easily.

You can send this home with parents and include the parent lesson plan. It shows all the different skills they can target, so you can guide your families based on your students goals.

This activity can be played many times, so encourage your families to not just play once! Coach them with how to adapt this game to continue to work on their child’s goal. Or, show your families easy ways to extend the activity. For example, after the child plays the ‘I Spy’ Language game, give the parents tips for teaching how to compare/contrast two items in a category group.

Make sure to download this free lesson plan by clicking the pink button below.

Speech and Language Skills to Target with ‘I Spy’ Language at Home

Articulation – have your child find items that have their sound. Then, have them practice the word 10x with their correct sound production. Make a silly story with the items using their best sounds!

Vocabulary – compare and contrast two items in that category group by how they are similar and different.

Grammar – create sentences by adding in an adjective about the item or talking about “where” the item belongs such as “A pillow belongs on top of my bed.”

Social Skills – work on having your child initiate questions and comments. Model social language during this activity. Give pause time to see if your child will nonverbally or verbally initiate a message.

Speech Fluency- have your child practice their strategies when saying the things they found or when using the item in a sentence.

Oral Narration – Have your child create a story about one of the items they found. Or, make up a story with all the items!

Your kids will be having FUN while they are learning. As much as we want our kids to be diligently working on worksheets and math problems, your kids need activities that will inspire them. Let me know how it goes by tagging me on Instagram: @thedabblingspeechie

‘I Spy’ Speech Therapy Home Packets for you K-2 caseload

'I Spy' Speech Therapy home packets to support students with distance learning. Use this 'I Spy' around the home to build speech and language skills.
'I Spy' language game for parents to use with distance learning in speech therapy. Coach parents each week with a new type of game.
'I Spy' around the home speech therapy game for parents to use during distance learning.

If you love the idea of sending home movement types of speech and language resources during school closures, then this extended ‘I Spy’ Speech Therapy Home Packets will serve your students well. This full version has additional types of games such as ‘I Spy’ colors, shapes, adjectives, outdoors, rooms of the house, categories, and noun-functions. There are visual supports for your students with Autism or significant language impairments, so they can participate with more success using this game.

'I Spy' speech therapy game to send home to students. Each game set has parent handouts to guide the parents through the activity as well as ideas for ways to expand the game to work on speech goals.

Click the image above if you need a resource that is easy to prep for a bulk of your caseload, engaging for kids, and makes coaching parents a breeze during this stressful time. You don’t need to add more work to your plate to create customized lessons when you have this resource in your speech therapy stash!

5 Visual Supports Your Speech Students Need

5 Visual Supports Your Speech Students Need

Early on in my career as an SLP, I knew that many of my students benefited from visual supports to comprehend speech and language tasks. There were many sessions when I was scrambling to scribble out visuals to help my students understand a concept. You can relate, right!? In the early days, I didn’t always have the visuals, or the time to make the visuals I wanted. With more years of experience, and the help of the internet, I have developed or found visual supports that are staples for my speech sessions.

Benefits of Using Visual Supports 

Visual supports help our students process information presented orally. They can also help reduce the cognitive demands placed on the brain when trying to comprehend or expressively use a new language skill. Visual supports can also help our students be able to better communicate when they are upset or don’t have a strong expressive skills to let us know what they are feeling or thinking.

Visual Supports for Students to Help With Articulation Generalization & Self-Awareness

#1 Articulation Carryover Visual Supports for Students

Many of my students working on 1-2 sound errors struggle with monitoring their speech productions. I have started incorporating self-awareness tasks to help students be more accountable for their productions.

At the start of each session, we do a Yes/No visual check-in. I either produce the sound correctly or incorrectly  in isolation, syllables, or words. The student then judges my production. Then, the student produces 5-10 sounds/words and judges his/her production. We do this before jumping into drill practice.

As my students progress to the sentence and conversation levels (multiple sentences, reading, structured conversations, etc.), I incorporate self-reflection time into my sessions. We also fill out conversation scripts for specific times, places, or people that they may need to use their correct speech. Check out my info about artic carryover HERE. If you need more practical strategies for generalization, I have a blog post HERE you can read.

#2 Articulation Production Feedback Visual

It isn’t super helpful to tell articulation students whether or not their production was correct. I notice a lot of my students get discouraged if I say a lot of “try again” or “nope, wasn’t quite right.” When I give more specific feedback about their production, the student can see when they are on the right track, but may need to adjust their production slightly.

I really love Speechy Musings’ production feedback visual that you can download for FREE here. I have used it in therapy and also sent it home for parents to use with the student as well. I love using file folders to make home programs. You can check out how I make a home program using a file folder and this visual HERE.

#3 Visual Sentence Strips For Speech & Language

Having visual sentence strips or sentence frames for my students has helped so much when learning a new skill. You can read more about how to use sentence strips in therapy HERE.

My visual sentence starter strips have been handy for my mixed groups because I can easily find the sentence strip for different students. They include articulation strips, fluency, grammar, language, and social skill strips. No more writing on sticky notes!

#4 Visual Supports for Social Inferencing

When working on inferencing skills, I like to incorporate visuals. Many of my students with social pragmatic weaknesses or language disorders struggle with making inferences. Some of my students can make inferences, but then have NO idea how they got their answer. So, I like using sentence frames to break down the skill. We first work on what we “see” (concrete details), then talk about what we “know” (accessing scheme and background knowledge). Then, we each make a “smart guess” about what the person could be feeling/thinking or answer a higher order thinking question. 

Many teachers are wanting their students to use more academic language when explaining their answers, so I like having those visually displayed, so my students can start to practice using those vocabulary words in context. Need this free visual support? Head over to my TPT store.

#5 Visual Supports for Behavior

I have a lot of students working on following routines and expectations. Many of my students benefit from having a working for chart, first/then visual, and visual reminders for what their bodies need to be doing in a session. That’s why I decided to put all my frequently used visuals in one place.

I just printed it out, glued it to a file folder, and laminated the file folder. Then, I could re-use the visual supports using a dry erase marker. I love that I can use this for multiple students at one time. 

If you need this visual, hit the pink button below for this free download. Need more ideas for using file folders? Check out this blog post, HERE.

What Visual Supports Do You Love Using in Speech Therapy?

I would love to know what visual supports you have found helpful for your clients or students. Share the visual in the comments or tag me on social media at @thedabblingspeechie.

How to Teach Categories To Build Vocabulary

How to Teach Categories To Build Vocabulary

Have you had a student on your caseload with category goals? Do you feel limited with the resources you have for teaching categories? Do you know where to start with how to teach categories? Incorporating category activities in your language therapy will build your students’ depth of knowledge with vocabulary. Today, I will share why teaching categories are essential for building vocabulary and give you a list of speech therapy category activities for your caseload.

Why are teaching categories important?


Teaching categories in speech therapy is essential for vocabulary development. When we teach vocabulary words in “groups,” SLPs can create a schema for the students to understand those words. Grouping items by similar features provide a familiar setting for students to organize and understand related nouns.

Students who put words in “groups” learn to associate other words for that specific group. Someone with typically developing language may associate waves, sand, seagulls, beach towels, and sand castles with the group “beach.”

When students know the category group nouns belong in, they have one more way to describe that noun. For example, when teaching depth of knowledge for the word apple, you would explain, “An apple is a fruit.”

How to Teach Categories – Category Hierarchy Example

It is crucial to get a baseline of where your student is performing with their understanding of word relationships. If students can’t name categories independently, you can gather other information by assessing sorting skills and matching identical objects and pictures.

  • Match identical objects and pictures
  • Sort a group of objects or pictures into two similar sets
  • Sort a group of things by one feature
  • Choose an item to match a given category description or name
  • Sort into 2 and 3 categories
  • Name categories
  • What doesn’t belong and why
  • What goes together and why
  • Name multiple items of a given category
  • Express similarities and differences

Further down in the blog post, I share resources you can use that would go with some of these category hierarchy examples so you have materials to implement those skills!

Considerations When Deciding Where To Start With Teaching Categories

Some of our students may struggle with understanding category groups because they have yet to experience the vocabulary in real life. If your student has yet to go to the beach, then your student may not know to associate buckets, umbrellas, and boogie boards as items in the beach category.

When thinking about what categories to start teaching first, you will have to think about your students’ exposure to those words or add in additional time to increase their background knowledge of those category groups.

Taking a baseline assessment can help with narrowing down where to begin. Based on your probes, you can see what category groups your students understand and don’t understand. Also, consider introducing those early developing categories such as shapes, colors, and food for students struggling with categorizing.

If you need a resource that has progress monitoring tools to help you find a baseline for determining your student’s understanding of category groups, check out the Level Up Categories Activities Bundle. You will have activities to help you with teaching categories, but also determine your student’s current level of understanding with word relationships. 

How To Teach Categories – What Level To Start With Students

Let’s say your student can sort a group of objects or pictures into two identical sets with 80% accuracy without prompts. When you asked them to sort a group of things by one feature, they needed visual cues at 40% accuracy. Since mastery is below 80% accuracy, sorting items into groups by one feature probably is an excellent place to start in therapy. As your students increase their accuracy, you can move to more challenging category activities or change the group objects to new category groups.

Keep reading the blog post for materials you can use to teach categorization confidently!

Free Category Visual Printables

You need to make an I Spy sensory bin for a fun category game. Your students can go on the hunt to find mini trinkets for the list of category groups. Head to this blog post to grab the game printables.

category activities to build language

You need to download my free category visual printables to make category activities more interactive. You can Velcro them to bins, have kids sort mini trinkets on the mats, or put them around your room for kids to find and name items in the category group.

Materials To Help You Teach Categorization

With students exhibiting moderate-severe deficits with their receptive and expressive language skills in categories, breaking down word relationships is essential for your students to understand the skill.

You can use the Level Up Category Activities Bundle to have students sort by one category feature, choose an item to match a given category description or name, name a category group, and name multiple items in a category group. 

For working on matching pictures or sorting pictures into one category group, having a set of noun flashcards is excellent!

Here is a set with many pictures for basic categories (Amazon affiliate link included.) Check out this set for various nouns, verbs, and adjective flashcards

Whether you need digital category activities, printables, or crafts, I have some resources that could work for your caseload.

Category Boom Cards

Category Flipbook Printable Version

Category Wallet Craftivity

No Prep Category Worksheets


Category Activities With Apps

Categories From I Can Do apps-I love using this app to get baseline data for how students are currently doing with identifying what doesn’t belong and which items go together.

Smarty Ears Go Together APP– This app works on categorization through matching. You can also have the students explain why the items go together after matching them up!

Smarty Ears Categories Learning Center– This app is great because it has different levels to differentiate for your students. You can make things more difficult as your students progress in the categorization levels!

What resources do you have that you love for working on categorizing?

How do you teach categories to your students?

What resources or techniques have you found helpful in teaching your students categorization? If you have a strategy or material you love using that isn’t listed in this blog post, share it in the comments!

Windsock Craft For Kids In Speech Therapy

Windsock Craft For Kids In Speech Therapy

During the spring and summer seasons, making a FUNctional craft in speech therapy that can be used outside is a great way to keep your students engaged. A windsock craft for kids can be adapted easily to cover a lot of goals. In addition, to all the goals you can target while making the craft, there are LOTS of ways to play with the windsock craft while targeting important speech and language goals. Did I mention that this craft is also super engaging for students as well? When I do this craft, I bring in a completed windsock so that my students can see the cool things they can do once they finish theirs. Furthermore, the main part of the windsock craft has an entire blank piece of paper which is prime real estate for working on their goals. This blog post will show you how to make a windsock craft for kids and also, teach you how to adapt this craft for younger and older students!

Windsock Craft For Kids is Easy to Prep

Once you have all the materials for the windsock craft, prep for this craft is pretty easy! Some of my groups I just made the craft during the session. For my groups with younger ages, I prepped parts of the craft, so we could get enough practice in during the session. I have used this craft with LOTS of different ages and all of them loved it, especially my kinder-second grade students.


Materials You Need To Make A Windsock Craft For Kids

How to make a windsock craft for kids and also target speech and language goals while making one!

How to make a windsock craft

Take the construction paper and attach together with tape, glue or a stapler (I used a stapler), so that it looks like a cylinder. You can have your students glue their speech or language stimulus cards to the paper first before attaching.

If you have paint daubers, students can put dots all over their construction paper every time they say their speech sound or language target. Then, after they are finished, they can put the craft together.

Punch holes at the top of the construction paper. Tie yarn or string in the holes. Cut the party streamers into strips. Then, have the students attach the party streamers with tape or glue (I went with tape, it was the less messy option).

Your windsock is complete and ready to use in speech therapy!

Make this easy to prep windsock craft for kids and target speech and language goals in your mixed groups.
Make this easy to prep windsock craft for kids and target speech and language goals in your mixed groups.

Ways To Adapt The Windsock Craft For Speech & Language Goals

Making the windsock craft provides a lot of opportunities for language. For example, your students working on initiation can make requests for the different craft parts. Furthermore, after student’s finish their windsock craft, you can have them explain the sequencing steps they took to create the craft.  Here are some more ways to adapt the windsock craft:

Use this Craft in Your Mixed Groups Easily

  • Have students decorate their white paper with dot paint daubers. Every time they say their speech sound or language target, they can add a dot to their paper.
  • Students can glue their speech sounds or language targets onto the construction paper. After they finish the craft, they can practice their goals using the pictures on the windsock. I use my Any Craft Companion Pack to adapt this ONE craft for my whole caseload.

Take Your Windsock Craft Outside

  • Take the windsock outside to teach vocabulary words. You can target high, low, around, twirl, flutter, fast, slow, and windy.
  • Have your students show different preposition words using your windsock such as near, far, under, above, below, around, on, in, and between.

Easy Ways to Use the Paper for Grammar Therapy

Specifically for grammar, you can use the white paper to work on building grammatically correct sentences. I love using the framework for who, did what, and where to incorporate prepositional phrases and syntax. This also allows me an opportunity to target verb tense and noun-verb agreement. You can use these digital grammar Boom Cards™ and have your students write their sentence out. 

Use the Windsock to Work on Social Communication

Teach turn-taking, waiting and thinking about others by only bringing out one windsock to play with. Students have to request a turn using their peer’s name, and wait their turn. You can have students do an action that another student requests the student do to work on thinking about other people.

You could make a conversation script or visual to help a student initiate a request for a student to run with them using the windsock. Additionally, your conversation script could have fun comments that the student can use. If you need more information about using conversation scripts, head to this blog post

For your students working on expanding communication functions or learning CORE vocabulary, you can work on GO, STOP, WANT, LOOK, LIKE, or MORE.

Adapting The Windsock Craft For Your Older Students

If you have older students with goals to work on main ideas, orally retelling a passage, using context clues to identify vocabulary meanings, or summarizing, learning about how windsocks work can be a great lesson because pilots use windsocks to land planes. This gives students insights into the job of a pilot, and the science behind understanding the direction of wind.

  • Your older students can write a narrative about spring or summer on the white construction paper. You can give them a challenge by providing a list of themed vocabulary words or adjectives to use in their story.
  • Have your students write sentences on the construction paper. Your students working on grammar can write more complex sentences while your articulation students can write sentences with their target words (perfect mixed group activity right there.)
Use a windsock craft with your older students in speech therapy to target main idea, summarizing, tier II vocabulary and answering wh-questions

Learn How a Windsock Works

You can use one of the YouTube videos above to discuss how a windsock works. They can share the main idea and details from the video. Pick target vocabulary to discuss from this video and then go test out a windsock outside. Additionally, if you want to add in a writing component, you can have students write a paragraph summarizing how a windsock works. You can use a main idea graphic organizer to help with developing the topic sentence, details and conclusion.

Need More Craft Ideas For Speech Therapy

For those SLPs working during summer, here is a blog post I wrote last year on different summer-themed crafts you can do in speech therapy. If you love doing crafts in speech therapy, then check out all of the craftivities I have in my TPT store. You can use one craft with your whole caseload!

Summer speech crafts for mixed groups that has stimulus items for speech and language goals.
Flower craft for speech therapy to use with mixed groups.
An Easter Speech Therapy Idea Using Plastic Eggs

An Easter Speech Therapy Idea Using Plastic Eggs

Looking for a fun Easter speech therapy activity to get your students up and moving!? If you are TIRED from IEP meetings and writing reports, this Easter activity is just what you need to bring back that FUN spark in speech. I needed an Easter egg language activity covering many categories and nouns describing language goals.

Amazon affiliate links are included for your convenience. I get a small commission at no additional cost when you purchase using a link.

What Materials You Need for the Easter Speech Therapy Activity

It would be best if you had the following supplies for this Easter speech therapy activity:


Mini trinkets from Dinky Doodads on Etsy or Speech and Smile

If you don’t have mini trinkets, you can print pictures of category items to put in the plastic eggs.

Plastic Eggs

Free Category Visuals

How to Set Up the Easter Egg Speech Therapy Activity

First, print the category visual mats and place them on the table. Then, look through your trinkets to find items that match the different category groups. Hide the mini trinkets in the plastic eggs and hide them around your speech room. Let your students search the room for the hidden eggs. Once your students collect all the eggs, you can have them open them up.

As they find trinkets, guide your students to sort them into the correct category group picture. If my students sorted one in the wrong category, we discussed why that item would not belong. We practiced describing the trinkets by attributes and using them in sentences with the visual sentence strips from my TPT store

While doing the Easter egg hunt, you can work on prepositions, identifying colors, and working as a group. Use the mini trinkets to create grammatically correct sentences, answer “what” questions, and receptively have students find items based on category groups and attribute features.

You can allow students to hide the Easter eggs around the room and give you preposition clues for where to find them.



How to Do This Easter Egg Speech Therapy Idea for a Whole Class Lesson

  • To help keep kids engaged, split the students into groups of 2-3 and had staff help lead the groups. By giving all the staff a job, you can help float and model language. 
  • Make your students share a basket. Guess what that encouraged!? It promotes working together in a group, initiating a turn, making comments, and asking questions.
  • You can coach the staff before the lesson on how to facilitate communication while hunting for eggs and give them one strategy to practice during the lesson, such as wait time or expanding an utterance. 
  • After the teams found the eggs in the room, they had to work together to open their eggs. You can have the adults keep the eggs out of arm’s distance to promote some communication temptations.
  • To add movement to the activity, lay the category visuals on the floor. Students can walk to the visuals to put the trinket in the category. Use your judgment on whether this movement will help increase engagement or get kids off task. 

What to do if your students don’t celebrate Easter?

My students LOVED this activity! They were all engaged, and the spontaneous language opportunities were high. It was great seeing the staff work alongside the students to encourage language. If you cannot celebrate Easter at your site or school, I encourage you to do this activity with a chicken theme! Tell your students that a wild chicken went loose in your room and LAID EGGS everywhere! You need their help finding all the eggs. For more chicken-themed activities, head to this blog post for a free push-in lesson plan. 


How would you use this Easter activity with your speech therapy caseload? Let me know in the comments. If you use the category visuals, tag me @thedabblingspeechie so I can see what you are up to in your speech room.