Use these board games for speech therapy to work on pragmatic language, executive functioning, and much more - without the drama of having one winner or one loser.
As SLPs, we’ve all got our favorite toys and games to use during our speech therapy sessions with kids. Personally, I’ve got a closet filled with quick, turn-taking games for articulation therapy sessions, loads of pretend play toys, arts and crafts materials, card games, as well as board games for speech therapy. It boggles my mind to think of how many rounds of Candy Land I must have played over the years – a thousand rounds? At least?!
And while playing these games, I’m sure we’ve all had experiences with kids on our caseloads who cannot stand to lose at games. You know the ones who are eager to play games, but are extremely vigilant about monitoring if they are winning and will get upset as soon as they think they might lose? This dynamic is a normal part of development, and it can also persist for many kids who have difficulties with language, social communication, executive functioning and emotional regulation… essentially, many of the kids we work with!
Several years ago, I discovered collaborative board games and it was a... ahem... game changer. These games preserve all the things we like about using board games, such as providing opportunities to work on executive functioning and pragmatic language skills like negotiating, strategizing, comprehending and explaining rules, and sharing fun with others. But they also eliminate that winning and losing dynamic by creating a situation where we all win or lose together. This can really help our students who can feel like there is so much at stake in a game where they’re playing alone against others.
Interested in giving these collaborative games a try in your own speech therapy sessions? Here is a list of my five favorites, along with a brief description.
The game is recommended for ages 5 and over, and is for 2-4 players. The object of the game is to save flowers from the frost of Mr. Winter by strategically using fairies, unicorns, and magic wands. This game is decidedly a little girly, but I’ve known many boys who are also happy to play! Players have to work together and can strategize by combining their cards to save flowers.
The game is recommended for ages 6 and over, and is for 2-4 players. The object of the game is to get the ingredients to make a potion to break the spell of the evil wizard. This game offers many opportunities to strategize together about the next move, and it captures imaginations with gross potion ingredients like rotten eggs and newt’s eyeballs.
The game is recommended for ages 5 and over, and is for 2-4 players. The object of the game is to gather clues to solve the mystery of which fox stole Mrs. Plumpert’s pot pie. It offers opportunities for all sorts of skills, such as reasoning, strategizing, and discussing what’s best to do next. I don’t think I’ve ever met a kid who doesn’t enjoy this game and it has worked well with kids who are 6-ish up to 12 or maybe even older!
The game is recommended for ages 5 and over, and is for 2-4 players. The object of the game is to beat the ogre to the treasure by piecing together a path to collect keys and arrive at the treasure. This game offers lots of great opportunities to discuss and negotiate ideas about how to create the path. Many of my students ask for this game again and again.
The game is recommended for ages 7 and over, and is for 2-4 players. The object of the game is to work together to collect equipment and make it to the escape pod before time runs out. This game is especially good for working on exploring different options before deciding on which way to move, and players can even strategize and discuss based on upcoming moves for other players.
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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.
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