When working on speech sounds in therapy, I often use shop-bought turn-taking games. If a child is playing a motivating game, they will happily say their target sounds or words before they take their turn. They'll often say the words along with me when it's my turn too.
Below are some of the shop-bought turn-taking games that I have found work really well alongside speech sound/word practice.
Pop Up Pirate includes a barrel, a pirate and 24 colourful swords. Take turns sliding the swords into the pirate’s barrel. If you choose the wrong slot, the pirate will suddenly pop out! Kids just love seeing him fly out of the barrel!
Setup is simple and can be done quickly during a speech therapy session. Suitable for children aged 4+.
There are different versions of Kerplunk. This particular Kerplunk game has a Disney Pixar Toy Story 4 theme. It features a carnival-themed game unit and Ducky and Bunny character pieces.
Take turns rolling the die. Pull out a colourful stick - whichever colour the die indicates. Be careful not to let your favourite characters fall. The player who drops the fewest Ducky and Bunny pieces wins!
Setup is simple but it can take a few minutes to put all the sticks in. Therefore, it would be best to have the game setup before your speech therapy session starts. Suitable for children aged 5+
Pie Face can be a hugely motivating game for children. Slide your face through the mask and watch out! The pie-throwing arm could go off at any minute and splat you in the face! The game doesn't actually come with a pie - you'll need some whipped cream to put on the hand.
You're meant to score a point every time you turn the handle without getting splatted. However, some children really want to get cream on their face and want to keep turning the handle. So sometimes I'll allow up to 6 handle turns if they say their word each time.
Although the game comes with a splash guard mask, I would advise also using disposable aprons. You'll definitely need a towel, face wipes or kitchen paper to wipe up too. Check with parents if their child has any allergies. I find that children usually can't resist licking some of the cream off their face and hands!
Snakes n Ladders is a classic game. This version has oversized pieces that are perfect for little hands.
Another variation of this game is Jumbo Snakes n Ladders. It comes with a large floor mat and dice. Children can get very excited when they see the large mat. Some of the children I see in speech therapy have even said "it's amazing!".
I sometimes allow children to roll two dice at the same time because it means more productions of their target words. For example, if they get a 12, they can move forward 12 places and say their word 12 times!
Suitable for children aged 5+.
Build a tower and pull out a block without crashing the stack to win at Jenga. This simple game takes skill, strategy, and a little bit of luck.
This game can work really well alongside speech sound/word practice. However, if you or the child cause the tower to crash early on, practice will be interrupted. You'll be busy trying to build the tower back up again so that you can get back to speech therapy practice. One option is to give the child a block or blocks each time they say their sound or word. I find this isn't quite as motivating as the actual game though.
Suitable for children aged 6+
Another fun stacking game, suitable for children aged 5+ is Pile Up Pirates. Take turns stacking the Pirates and planks onto the wobbly deck. The last person to place a piece before the Pirates drop, wins.
Turtle Steps is a game of balance, coordination, and concentration suitable for children aged 3 years+. Rather than ask children to show off their balancing skills, I like to use the turtle shell stepping stones for word and sentence level practice. The child can jump from one stepping stone to the other, saying their words. It also works a treat for speech pacing practice. Suitable for children aged 3+.
Thank you for reading this post. If you already use some of these games or if you have others that you love, please share by commenting below.