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
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 email@example.com. I would love to feature your game on my blog!
SLPs are always on the hunt for games to adapt and use in speech therapy sessions. When teaching language concepts, kids get more engaged when vocabulary and grammar is presented in a fun and engaging way. Today, I want to talk about how to use the game Lids ‘N Lizards in speech therapy. I have found a way to make this game festive and fun during certain seasons or holidays during the year! My SLP intern adapted this game back in March using leprechauns & gold coins. Instead of hiding lizards, she hid leprechauns under the lids. The kids loved it! I decided to make other printable items that had the /l/ phoneme to adapt it throughout the year.
Where Can SLPs Get The Lids ‘N Lizards Game?
Lids ‘N Lizards is a game created by Super Duper Publications. You can get it on their website. I also checked Amazon (cause I know SLPs love Amazon) and you can get Lids ‘N Lizards there, too. Sometimes SLPs can find Lids ‘N Lizards at garage sales or Goodwill.
How To Play Lids ‘N Lizards Game
The Lids ‘N Lizard game comes with green metal tins and little lizards. You place magnetic vocabulary pictures on the roof of the metal tins. Then, lay the lids on the table and hide lizards under the metal tins. Students take turns picking up metal tins to see if they found a lizard. If they have a lizard under their tin, they get to keep the lizard. The student with the most lizards at the end of the game wins! Each turn, the student has to describe the picture item that is under the lid. One way to adapt this game for all year long is to put different items under the lids. I made some seasonal printables that you can download for FREE below. Each of the items in the download have /l/, so instead of Lids ‘N Lizards you can call the game Lids ‘N Leprechauns, Lids ‘N Lunchboxes, Lids ‘N Ladybugs and so on!
How To Adapt Lids ‘N Lizards For Mixed Groups
Articulation Goals – Lids ‘N Lizards is the perfect game for students working on /l/, /z/, or /r/ at the word or phrase level. For students working on other sounds, you can create carrier phrases with their sound such as “I found a/an _____” for /f/ or “I spy a/an _______” for s-blends.
Vocabulary Goals – The game is already designed to work on describing common nouns. You can always use lids and magnets to work on naming adjectives, describing by attributes, and answering wh-questions about the items.
Grammar Goals – When a student picks up the picture item, you can have them name the noun’s function or action word. They can use the verb in a sentence such as “The boy eats the ice cream.” Have the student work on past, present or future tense. With the noun picture item, you can also work on marking plurals or having students create a sentence with an adjective or prepositional phrase. The student can also work on marking pronouns by talking “who” has a certain picture item such as “She has the ice cream.” or “Give the truck to him.”
More Goals To Address With The Lids ‘N Lizards In Speech Therapy
Speech Fluency – With all the mentioned articulation and language therapy ideas mentioned above, you can do similar activities while having the student practice their speech fluency strategies.
Social Skills – While playing the game, you can work on students following the social rules of the game. Students can practice having their brain and body thinking about the people in the group. So, they can work on their non-verbal listening skills while the other person is sharing an item and then have to retell what the person said to show that they had their brain in the group. You can also grab a set of problem solving situations or social situations that the student would have to answer before taking a turn at the game.
What Other Ways Can SLPs Use Lids ‘N Lizards In Speech Therapy?
One way that I have used the lids and magnetic pictures is to have students sort items by categories. I just use the lids to have the students sort the items onto the correct category group. This has been very effective for my younger students that need a hands-on experience. How do you adapt this game in speech therapy? Share in the comments! Need more games for your therapy room? Check out some of my favorite games HERE.
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