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Here's a Great Problem Solving Game for Speech Therapy

Updated: Dec 19, 2023

This game appeals to a wide age range and allows you to work on all kinds of goals related to problem-solving in speech therapy

I have to admit that, in the past, I used to feel some combination of frustration and embarrassement when teachers would ask their students what they did in speech therapy with me and their response would be, "We played a game!" I desperately wanted to explain to the teachers that, while we had played a game, we had also worked hard on the child's speech-language therapy goals!

Games can support so many skills, and they can work well for speech/articulation goals, language goals, social communication goals, executive functioning goals, and more.

As school SLPs, we all have games we play over and over with our kids. Here's a blog post about my top 5 collaborative board games.

But this game, Lion in My Way, by Eeboo, deserves its own, dedicated blog post. Why? Because my students always enjoy playing it, they ask to play it over and over, it appeals to a broad age range in elementary school, it can be adapted to target a variety of language skills, and it is a great way to address problem solving goals in speech therapy!

a child playing a problem solving game in speech therapy

The premise of Lion in My Way is that you are trying to make your way home but, as you travel, you draw obstacle cards (e.g., a desert, a lion, a maze, an ogre, etc.) and you need to use your (often hilarious) tool cards to provide solutions to the problem. As each obstacle, or problem, is discovered, students can generate ideas for solutions by thinking of creative ways to use their tool cards.

You can either accept all the solutions your students offer, students can combine their tools to solve problems collaboratively, or students can vote on which solution they think is best. As each tool card is used, a new one can be drawn.

The language goals you can target with this game are countless, including: vocabulary expansion; using a main idea & details or increased utterance length while providing an explanation; collaborating and negotiating with peers; comprehending/rephrasing the ideas of peers; describing a sequence; and, of course, problem solving!

I also find this game to be a window into a child's understanding of the world (e.g., What is a border crossing? What happens in a traffic jam? What is a cliff or a swamp or a blizzard?). I've heard some pretty loopy solutions while playing this game! You'll also be able to identify kids who have a hard time with language formulation and/or idea generation.

The language kids generate during this game would be great to record for language sample analysis (as long as you're not cueing vocabulary).

Why is it so easy to adapt this game to different levels of difficulty?

  • There's no wrong way to solve the problems in the game.

  • You can make the game last as long as you want by using more or less problems.

  • You can play as a team or individually.

  • You can provide as much, or as little, language support as a child needs while describing solutions.

  • And you can accept as many solutions as you want!

I hope you'll try this game for an easy way to address problem solving in speech therapy!

And if you need to back things up a bit, and first work on identifying problems and solutions, here are some great book companions that include activities that focus on identifying problems and solutions in stories. And this book companion is a free download you can get right away!


Did you enjoy this blog post? Subscribe below to get the latest blog posts, which feature lots of speech therapy ideas for busy SLPs who want to provide fun, impactful, and meaningful speech-language therapy.

Have you heard? StoryWhys now offers the Speech and Spell series of resources. I am always trying to tie articulation work and spelling together in my therapy and I've never found any good resources out there to help me do this. So I made my own! Many more speech sounds and spelling rules to come. They'll be 50% off for 48 hrs when new resources are added to the StoryWhys store. Find them here.

Did you know book companions can be among the best speech therapy materials for elementary students? Explore all of the StoryWhys book companions for speech therapy in my store. You'll find comprehensive book companions that target many different language skills or Spotlight Series book companions that focus on one type of skill, all using high-quality, beloved storybooks.

And get your FREE, 71-page book companion for speech therapy on the free download page.


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