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Minimal Pairs Therapy - Four in a Row Game

Updated: Apr 9

Minimal Pairs Therapy - Fast Turn-Taking Games
Minimal Pairs Arcade - Four in a Row

When you are doing minimal pairs therapy, a fast turn-taking game such as Four in a Row can get you a lot of speech trials. In this blog post, I give some of my top tips for speech and language therapists and parents who are using the Four in a Row game in the Minimal Pairs Arcade app.

1) Explain the rules of the game

Many young kids just enjoy dropping the counters and don’t necessarily know how the game works. Explain to them that if they get four counters in a row in any direction, they will win the game.

2) Play a true turn-taking game

Four in a Row in Minimal Pairs Arcade is a turn-taking game. Player 1 is the child and Player 2 is the SLP/SLT or parent. Take your turn and say the word 5 times. This allows the child to hear the correct pronunciation of the word and will encourage them to take their turn.

3) Say the words together

When it is your turn, you could encourage the child to say the word with you. This will mean even more speech trials as the child will be saying the words when it’s your turn as well as when it is their turn.

4) Aim to lose the game!

Keep the game going as long as you can by stopping the child from getting four counters in a row but eventually letting them win. Keep the child motivated by commenting on what they have done “oh you blocked me! ... I’m going to block you!”. Kids love a little competition.

5) Use the Star Rewards in Minimal Pairs Arcade

The star rewards really motivate kids. When the child drops a counter on a picture, the flashcard containing that picture will pop up. When you mark a production as correct, a star will appear. Aim for 5 speech trials but sometimes kids will do 10 or more!

6) Record the child for self-monitoring in minimal pairs therapy

Use the record button to build the child’s awareness of how they are saying their speech sound. Kids generally love to listen to recordings of themselves. Be sure to praise them for correct productions and gently prompt them when they get it wrong.

7) Fill the grid with target, non-target words or both

You can choose to fill the grid with pictures of the target words, the non-target words or both. So if you just want to focus on the target words, you may do so. Simply go to Settings.

Note: when doing minimal pairs therapy, the target word is the word that starts with the sound the child is working on while the non-target word is a word that starts with a sound they can already say. For more info on the steps of Minimal Pairs Therapy, visit our post on the topic here.

8) Turn off the voice in Settings

If the "Voice on Show" option is selected, the word will be spoken aloud when the flashcard pops up on screen. The child can then repeat the word. However, if you wish to check if the child is starting to say the sound they are working on spontaneously in words, select "Voice on Tap" in Settings. The word will then only be spoken aloud when you tap on the picture.

Minimal Pairs Therapy Made Easy
Minimal Pairs Arcade Lite - Free Speech Therapy App

So, there you have it: my top tips for using the Four in a Row Game in Minimal Pairs Arcade. Try it for free by downloading Minimal Pairs Arcade Lite.

If you have any therapy tips for the Four in a Row game that you wish to share, please comment below.


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