When working with students in mixed groups, it’s great to pull out games for speech therapy sessions. We often use board games as a reinforcer for practicing a goal. You know the typical way of rolling the die, practicing their goal, moving their game piece, and then letting the next student take their turn. Sound familiar? That can be super effective for practicing speech and language skills, but what if we could use board games as speech therapy tools? Today, I will share how to use the Zingo game for speech therapy goals. With these easy suggestions, you can turn the game into a Zingo speech therapy activity.
Where to Find the Zingo Game
If your students love playing BINGO, they will love the twist of the Zingo game. I found this game at a thrift store, but if you want to avoid hunting around for it, grab it on Amazon (an affiliate link is included for your convenience.) In case you didn’t know, ThinkFun has an expansion pack with new words and cards.
Using the Zingo 1-2-3 game would be super easy for your students with speech sound goals to get those high trials. Every time your student matches a number on their board, that’s how many times they have to practice their target speech sound. For more high-trial therapy ideas, head to this blog post.
To help you adapt the game for receptive and expressive language goals and articulation and phonology goals, use the two-page toy companion cheat sheet with the game! It helps save brain energy as you navigate mixed groups with this speech therapy game.
Zingo Speech Therapy Practice for Z words
It’s a no-brainer that this game has a lot of embedded practice for z words, just with the title alone.
Whenever students find a tile, they can say, “I got a zinger.” or “I can’t wait to yell Zingo!”
You can put the Zingo tiles on the table for a play-based speech therapy activity and have students zoom their cars past the items. They can say “I zoomed past the dog.” Or, you can have a magician zap the tiles to disappear!
You can also create sound-loaded carrier phrases and use the Zingo tiles as the fill-in-the-blank item.
For example, if your student works on r-blends, you can write a sound-loaded sentence such as “Grayson grabs a/an ______.” Use the Zingo tiles to fill in what Grayson grabs.
Use these done for your sound-loaded sentence strips in my TPT store to save you time!
Rock Chalk Speech Talk shares so great ways to use this game for other sounds and apraxia goals. Check it out HERE.
Ideas for Mixed Groups Articulation and Language
Frequently we have mixed groups with articulation and language goals. Here are some ideas for using this game with those types of goals.
Work on yes/no questions for the tiles. For your speech sound students ask them if the object has their speech sound. Use the free yes/no visuals from the Ultimate Articulation Carryover Guide.
Grab your figurines toys sets like these Little People community helpers and put them on your mats, covering the object. Then, you can ask “who” and “what” questions such as “Who has the duck?” After they find their item, have students describe the item by attributes. You can use this describing poster from the articulation game for describing words. Have younger students look under the figurines to see what they find. You can target CORE words for look, see, under, and what, or build simple sentence structures for “I see _____.”
Teaching Tier II Vocabulary With the Zingo Speech Therapy Game
Before playing the Zingo game, teach your students some tier II vocabulary words that can be relatable to the game.=
For example, the word reveal means to uncover or to show what is hidden.
With the Zingo game, the game tiles are hidden. When you slide the game handle, it reveals which two tiles are next in the game.
First, have your students complete a personal dictionary sheet with the word reveal. Then, tell them while we play Zingo, we will practice using “reveal” in sentences while playing the game.
Because there is a personal connection to the tier II vocabulary word, students will better understand how to use the word. If you need personal dictionary sheets, these are available in the Themed Therapy SLP membership in the bonus section.
Isn’t it the best when you have many ideas for using one speech therapy game? When we can adapt one board game to cover speech and language goals, it makes planning therapy easier. So, it’s your turn. How do you use the Zingo game with your students? Share your ideas or tips to make this game functional for speech and language goals! Make sure to tag me @thedabblingspeechie if you use Zingo in speech therapy!
Sometimes our students with speech sound disorders are NOT digging our drill and kill activities. And, if our students aren’t motivated to practice their speech sound goals, progress suffers. What if I told you that there are games that are sound loaded to help you embed a LOT of practice with your student’s goals? In this blog post, I will share the BEST s-blends speech therapy games to get high trials in your speech sessions.
Tips for Targeting S-blends With Games
When you pull out a therapy game, you want to find ways to use the game pieces to target s-blends before playing, during, and after the game is over.
One of the easiest ways is to have your students practice a set of words or phrases before taking each turn.
Or, you can have a list of s-blends related to the game to have your students say while playing.
I pull out my toy and game cheat sheet to help me remember s-blend targets to use with a game. It helps save so much brain energy and keeps therapy moving along.
S-blends Game #1 – Yeti in My Spaghetti
The title alone of this game makes it great to use in therapy! You can use several sound-loaded carrier phrases listed as follows:
Grab a spaghetti
Stay on top!
You can also name your yeti a name with an s-blend consonant cluster you are trying to target with students.
Using Greedy Granny to Sneak in Some Practice
Because you have a spinner with this game, you can have students say, “I need to spin” or “Time to spin” before each turn.
Some other s-blend words that you can infuse into the gameplay are listed as follows:
Candyland has a lot of s-blend words that occur on the game board. You can target stuck, spaces, sweet, swamp, step, stone, snowflake, and swirl while your students move along the board.
Each turn, you can have students practice their s-blend words for the number of spaces they moved. For example, if they picked an orange card and moved up five spaces, they could practice five words. For every turn, you can have them say, “I stepped on the orange square.” or whatever color they landed on the board game.
S-blends Game #4 to Use in Speech Therapy
The chutes and ladders game has lots of s-blend opportunities. If they land at the top of a chute or bottom of a ladder, you can have them practice their s-blends 10 or 20 times, depending on your rule. But if you need to embed s-blend words into your student’s turns, here is a list I came up with that would work well:
slide square still spot slip space start snake stop scramble stay spin spinner scan
This game makes it so easy to target s-blends
To get more trials with Sneaky Snacky Squirrel, you can have students earn an acorn for every production. Once they have all their acorns, you can play the game.
Then, during the game, you can have them use phrases such as “Spin me something good!” or “Stay away, sneaky squirrel.”
If you have a plush squirrel, or a squirrel mouth printable, you can have your students practice their s-blends while feeding the squirrel the acorns. You can have your students say, “Here’s a tasty snack.” or “I snatched an acorn for you.” as they feed the squirrel.
All of these s-blends games have a cheat sheet to help jog your memory when you are in therapy with your students. The entire resource has pre-selected targets for speech and language goals! Check it out here.
What games do you love to use to target s-blends?
If you can’t tell, I love using games to adapt in therapy for speech sound disorders. That’s why if you have a game that you love to use to target s-blends, let me know in the comments.
Keeping our students motivated to practice their speech sounds can be much easier when we find something they love! Get more therapy ideas for getting high trials in this blog post.
Nothing is worse than a lackluster mixed group session. Am I right or am I right? When you start to plan a winter-themed unit, you always want to include a general open-ended game or reinforcer that you can use across groups. By having one main game or activity as an incentive, you don’t have to come up with new games every week. Today, I wanted to show you how to use this winter snowball fight activity as a speech therapy reinforcer. Better yet, there are some functional goals and CORE words you can target with it too!
What You Need for the Winter Snowball Fight Speech Therapy Reinforcer
To create your winter snowball fight activity, you need a few items. Hopefully, you have some or all of the supplies, so it won’t cost you much money. Here are some materials you need (Amazon affiliate links included):
Print the elves or yeti’s on cardstock and laminate for durability. Attach each printable to a binder clip or photo holder. Students can earn “snowballs” after each turn practicing their speech or language target. You can either give them a set amount each turn or they can roll a die to see how many they collect.
Then, when all the snowballs are collected, students can have a snowball fight trying to knock down the elves or yetis. You could set up two games and have students do elves versus yetis. See which team can knock down all their players first. Have each student take a turn to throw a snowball.
To add another variation, you can write different numbers with dry-erase markers on the back of the cards. Have some cards that have unique numbers like subtract 10 points or double your points. When a student knocks down the player card, they get to see how many points they earned. The person with the most points at the end wins the game.
Save over 70% off with the SLP Winter Survival Kit
Suppose you are in survival mode and need help planning a winter theme for your elementary caseload. In that case, you can get a kit of winter-themed resources for over 70% off during the extended Black Friday sale from November 21st-December 3rd. You can get $100 worth of speech therapy materials for only $29. It will help you save time, reduce stress, and bring back joy to your therapy sessions. Grab it HERE.
Additional Goals to Target With This Open-Ended Game
Not only can you use this as an open-ended game for any goal, you can also adapt to cover students goals with a fun, hands on play activity.
You can work on verbs, describing the yetis and elves, and answer simple “Who” questions.
Work on CORE words, turn-taking, or making a funny snowball fight story.
Download your FREE Elf and Yeti Snowball Fight Printables
Easy Ways to Adapt This Activity With Other Task Cards
If you have other printables, add them to the binder clips and have a snowball fight the last five minutes of the session. With your students working on speech sound disorder goals, put their target word flashcards on binder clips and knock them down. Whatever card falls, that’s the one they need to practice. See the winter sensory bin companion for some winter-themed printables to do this in your therapy sessions.
Blog Post with MORE Winter-Themed Therapy Ideas
When planning by themes, it can get a bit overwhelming searching for activities you need. Fortunately for you, I have a LOT of blog posts about winter.
This is one of my fave seasons to use because there is so much theme smashing you can do between clothing, weather, transportation, and activities.
Making time for play therapy in your lesson plan is a great way to have your student work on their language in a functional and engaging way. Kids love to play, and they also love pizza! Which makes these pizza toy sets a must-have tool for your speech therapy session. Use these pizza toy sets to target a variety of language and speech goals through play!
Where Can I Buy a Pizza Toy Set for Speech Therapy?
There are a few different pizza toy sets available online. All of the ones I’m suggesting below can be found on Amazon, but you might be able to find them at stores like Target, too. The links below are Amazon affiliate links for your convenience in which I receive a small commission when you click at no additional cost to you.
Play-Based Speech and Language Toy Companion Cheat Sheets
Need a cheat sheet guide to help you with targeting wh- questions, Tier II vocabulary, articulation, basic concepts, adjectives, and helpful therapy ideas for toys you use during play-based therapy? Grab this Toy Companion Cheat Sheet Guide for Prek-2nd grade and have stimulus targets mapped out for 25 different toys.
You can save brain energy while effectively using toys to target your student’s speech or language goals. Use these cheat sheets so that you can have FUN in therapy too!
Using a Pizza Toy Set in Play-Based Speech Therapy
A pizza toy set can be used to target so many speech and language skills! Listed below are some of my favorite ways to engage children in these skills:
1. Use the pizza toppings and pieces to work on following directions and sequencing the steps to make a pizza.
2. Describe the ingredients and sort the items into category groups: appliances, utensils, food, meat, veggies, dairy, etc.
3. Put the pizza toppings on flashcards and students pick a topping. Then, have the student practice their target. Use silly sentences such as “The rabbit ate the pepperoni.”
4. Practice turn taking and perspective taking by having the child prepare a pizza for someone else. Work on initiation for questions and comments.
5. Have things go wrong while making the pizza by having it burn, dropping the pizza, running out of toppings, and expressing dislike such as yuck for toppings.
More Therapy Ideas Using a Cookie Toy Set
6. Act out different verbs and vocabulary with gestures such as devour, smell, hot, chew, mix, etc.
7. Talk about which pizzas have more/less/few/none.
8. Discuss the social rules for going to a pizzeria.
9. Use toppings for phonological awareness cues or tapping out multi-syllabic words.
10. Have your students feed different items pizza. You can work on building sentences, answering “who” and “what” questions and turn taking.
More Toys to Use in Play Therapy
If you are loving all these toy ideas for play therapy, you can read more blog posts on some of my favorite toys to use in therapy.
When I pull out a toy knowing the purpose of how I will use it to cover goals, I feel confident with my therapy choice. It’s okay to put the worksheets away if you are FUNctionally using toys to target speech and language goals.
Your students will probably be more engaged with your lesson for the day!
Check out my favorite toys and 10 ways to use them in therapy:
Do you have a fun way to engage your students with a pizza toy set in speech therapy? Share in the comments, tag me on Instagram @thedabblingspeechie, or email me at email@example.com.
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
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.
Coaching Parents on How to Use This Game
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
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.
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!
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!