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March 30, 2012

My Five Favorite Games

During one of the online continuing education courses I viewed, the presenter showed a photograph of a speech language pathologist standing in front of a WALL of board games.  The caption asked, "Are you THAT therapist?"  I had to respond, "YES I AM!!!!"  I LOVE playing games!  I use them all the time during my treatment sessions.  No shame there!  They keep kids engaged and offer a higher level of difficulty in which to practice their new skills.  Here's my top 5:

1.  Cariboo by Cranium

Kids never tire of playing with this game.  Six colored balls are hidden inside the game.  The child searches for the balls by drawing a card and finding a door that matches the color, number or letter on the card.  The child then opens the door using a key.  If there is a ball under the door, the child places it in the hole that leads to the treasure chest.  After all 6 balls are found, the treasure chest "magically" opens!  Sheer delight, over and over and over again!  I use this game to work on a whole host of goals: plurals, speech sounds, sentence formulation, requests, turn taking, etc.  I've even changed the pictures on the doors by placing my own picture cards over the top of the others.

2.  Richard Scarry's Busytown: Eye Found It!

This one's a large board game that needs to be played on the floor.  Kids take a trip through Busytown on their way to have a picnic on Picnic Island.  Along the way, they stop and search for items hidden all over Busytown.  Some hungry pigs threaten to ruin the picnic by eating some of the picnic food during the journey...can we make it there before they eat it all?!  It's a different journey each time we play.  Great fun, and language opportunities abound!

3.  Froggie Boogie

Blue Orange Games make wonderful, colorful all-wooden games that I can't seem to get enough of!
This is one of my favorites.  Those sneaky baby frogs are trying to make their way around the pond while the mommy frogs are napping.  Kids roll the color dice, find a mother frog that matches the colors, and look under one googly eye.  If there's a frog on the eye, the mother "caught" them and they have to stay on their lily pad.  If the eye is blank, they can hop forward to the next lily pad and take another turn.  I use this one for articulation, color matching, turn taking, and language skills.

4.  Cat and the Hat I Can Do That

This is an excellent game for incorporating movement into speech and language activities.  The yellow "trick-a-ma-stick" is set up on the floor, and a variety of Cat in the Hat inspired objects are displayed on the table.  The child turns over three cards which give him a direction to complete.  The first set of cards state an action to be performed, the second tells which object to use, and the third tells which body part to use.  For example, a direction might be, "Step over the trick-a-ma-stick with the cake on your head."  I adapt this to work on various levels of direction following, from simple to complex.
 5.  Snail's Pace Race

This is another one that can be adapted in a multitude of ways.  Snails race against each other across the board to reach the finish line.  The child rolls the color dice to see which two snails get to inch forward one space each turn.  The unique thing is that the SNAILS are the competitors, not the people playing the game.  There are no winners or losers!  I mostly use this game with my preschoolers, but even the 10 year olds love the suspense of the race!

So there you are.  Fun, fun, fun!

What are some of your favorites?  I'd love to hear, so leave me a comment.  And then I might have to take a trip to Target...

Nice chatting with you!



  1. I love Zingo is for young preschool age children but again many ages enjoy this game. Good for vocabulary, turn taking, artic and matching. Scatterpillar is a good one too good fine motor, fun to play and keeps kids interested they have to say a word, answer a question or whatever goal you like before they can take their next turn.

  2. I've never heard of Scatterpillar...it looks like fun! Thanks!