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May I introduce you to my new best therapy game? I found this gem at a thrift store for $2.99. Internet research tells me that it is part of a game called “Crocodile Dentist”, although I have no idea how the whole game is supposed to work, since I only have the crocodile. You play with the crocodile toy by opening it’s mouth and pushing down on the teeth one at a time. Randomly, the mouth will snap shut! It is surprisingly fun to anticipate the snap!

I use this game for simple drill. Say a word 5 times, push a tooth. Say another word 5 times, push another tooth. Periodically you’ll get the payoff of the crocodile mouth snapping shut, sending everyone into fits of giggles.

Any simple game with short turns can be used in this same way.

Directions to play at home:

  1. Pick a fun game that has short turns. Connect 4, Jenga, or Hi Ho Cherry-O are great options, but almost any game can work.
  2. Print a page of target words that have your child’s sound. (You can find free pages at Mommy Speech Therapy.)
  3. Have your child say the first word 5 times, and then take a turn. If that is too easy, have her make up 2 sentences with the word before taking her turn.
  4. You say the next word 5 times, and take your turn.
  5. Repeat steps 3-4 until the game is over! You just spent 10 minutes practicing speech sounds with your child. Good job!
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Summer practice fun!

There are lots of ways to practice speech sounds in the summer. The articulation practice calendar is one way, but you can also play games or use the STAR warm up.

OR… you can play MADLIBS. Any paper/pencil madlibs can be adapted to practice speech sounds, or there are a variety of websites for playing madlibs. This website is my favorite.

Steps for articulation MADLIBS:

  1. chose words that include your target sound
  2. say each word 5 times (or make up 2 sentences using the word) when you’re putting it into the madlibs
  3. Once you finish the madlibs, read the story using your awesome sound!

For example (using /r/)

  • male name: Rodney
  • female name: Rachel
  • state: Rhode Island
  • animal (plural): rabbits
  • color: red
  • number: three
  • liquid: red soda
  • verb ending in -ing: raining
  • city: Rochester
  • adjective: crazy

Here is my madlib for /r/, entitled “Road Trip.”

Road Trip!

One day my Uncle Rodney and my Aunt Rhianna said they would take me and my sister Rachel on a trip to Rhode Island.

“You will love Rhode Island,” said Aunt Rhianna. “It is famous for its wild rabbits, its red flowers, and its beautiful running hills.”

“I hope you packed plenty of red apples for the ride,” said Uncle Rodney. “It will probably take us three hours.”

So we all piled into Uncle Rodney and Aunt Rhianna’s roadster. At first the trip was really runny. We sang “thirteen Bottles of red soda on the Wall.” Then we counted the roosters that we saw raining in the fields by the side of the road. But after twenty-three hours we had eaten all the red apples and Rachel was getting crazy.

“Are we almost there?” she asked ridiculous.

“Yes, Reedy,” said Aunt Rhianna.

Just then I saw a sign that said, “Rochester: 2 miles.”

“Umm, Uncle Rodney, is Rochester on the way to Rhode Island?” I asked.

“Yeah,” said Rachel, pointing, “and is Statue of Liberty on the way to Rhode Island?”

“REALLY?, kids,” laughed Uncle Rodney. “You can trust the expert.”

“One thing’s for sure,” I muttered. “I don’t think we’re in Washington any more.”

A few weeks ago I needed an activity to work on story structure with some of my students. Not finding what I needed on the internet, I decided I would make my own!

For these students we were working on a “complete episode” story. That is a story that has a beginning, middle, and conclusion. It needs to have clear characters, setting (the place the story is happening), and at least one “event”, or thing that happens.

Example of a complete episode:

Ginger the dog went to the dog park. She ran and played with the other dogs, and got all dirty. Then she went home and had a bath.

Characters: Ginger, other dogs
Setting: dog park
Events: went to the dog park, got dirty
Conclusion: went home and had a bath

STORY GAME

I made up a game with cards for character, setting, and event. Character cards had names of characters, setting cards had places, and event cards had things that could happen. There were also several blank cards of each kind, for students to make up their own character, setting, or event. Each student also got one Conclusion card, which is where they decide how the story ends. The goal was to tell your own story.

Each student starts with one of each kind of card. On your turn you spin a spinner which can land on character, setting, or event. You draw a card from the designated pile, OR you can chose to swap that element with someone else in the game if they have something you want.  At the end of each turn you have to tell the story that is on your board. Since all of the elements are mix-and-match, we ended up with some pretty funny stories!

(Sorry about the photo being sideways… I can’t figure out how to get it right side up!)

Games can be used to work on speech sounds (see here) but they can also be used for many language goals. The game “Apples to Apples Kids” is a good example.

Apples to Apples Kids

If you’re not familiar, the game is played with one player acting as “judge” and flipping a green [adjective] card. The other players chose one of the red [noun] cards in their hand which they think fits best with the green card, and puts it face-down on the table. The judge then chooses the red card they like the best, and the player who played it gets a point. The judge position rotates every round, so everyone gets a turn.

For example:  Ginger is the first judge. She flips a green card that says “fuzzy.” Ms. Petersen, Sandra, and Billy all play red cards with the words “my room”, “my dog”, and “my mom.” Ginger chooses “my dog” as the best answer, and Sandra (who played that card) gets a point.

THERE ARE SO MANY LANGUAGE OPPORTUNITIES IN THIS GAME!

For example, I can work on ‘why’ questions by having the judge explain why she/he chose the winning card, or have the other players explain why they played each of their cards to try to convince the judge to chose their card.

I could work on naming things within a category by having the players come up with things that are fuzzy before they play their cards.

We can also work on turn-taking and being good sports (not language skills, but still SO important) while we are playing the game.

All this, and we have fun too!

Language is all around us, every day. When kids can’t use language or speech in ways that work, it can be very frustrating. That is not fun.

When I work with kids on their language or speech, sometimes we have to drill sounds or grammar over and over to help them form new habits. That is not fun.

But speech therapy is supposed to be fun, right?

🙂 🙂 YES! 🙂 🙂

The question is: How do we make it fun?

Playing games is one way to make speech therapy fun. There are hundreds of games which can be adapted into speech/language vehicles. Suddenly dreadful drill turns into energizing (and educational!) entertainment!

Games are a fantastic way for parents to work on language or speech skills at home in a non-threatening way.

Here’s an example for a child working on the ‘R’ sound:

You  need:

  • CandyLand
  • a page of words that start with ‘R’ (for example, this one here!)

What to do:

  1. Play the game with your child.
  2. On their turn, the child picks one of the words and says it 3 times with their awesome R sound.
  3. On your turn, you pick a word and say it 3 times. Sometimes do it correctly, and sometimes do it “the old way” by imitating the child’s error. Let them try to catch you “messing up”!
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 until one of you makes it to the Candy Castle!

There you go! You just spent 20 minutes practicing speech with your child AND having fun!

For more worksheets of words with specific sounds, CLICK HERE to be taken to the mommy speech therapy worksheet page.