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March 29, 2017

Jumping Jack: How I Use My Favorite Spring Game

My new favorite game for spring (or anytime!) is called Jumping Jack by Goliath Games. It is a bright, appealing game similar in play style to an SLP favorite, Pop Up Pirate, that can be used with both preschoolers and elementary school students. Students take turns pulling carrots out of the base, trying (or maybe, NOT trying) to make the rabbit jump out of his hole.

I love using games like this for the following reasons:

  • High-interest: the students generally enjoy games that have some level of anticipation associated with them. They want to play them again and again.
  • Easy to play: there are very few rules to follow.
  • They promote joint attention and turn taking: players happily watch other players take turns, watching to see if the rabbit will jump.
  • Simplicity: There are very few pieces to manipulate.
  • Flexibility: I can adapt the way we play the game by adding companion materials designed to target speech and language goals.

In the photo above, students practiced their speech sounds while playing the game. Each student was given a page of stimulus pictures that contained their target sound. Students took turns choosing a target word to say, practiced it a specific number of times, and then removed a carrot from the base. If the rabbit didn't jump, the students placed the carrot on top of the picture. Play continued until the rabbit jumped, and then we played again. The picture pages featured in this photo are from my product Itty Bitty Black and White Articulation Cards and can be found in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.

The more I played Jumping Jack with my students, I realized I needed more companion materials to target both speech and language skills. So I created Jack's Garden of Carrots:

This packet contains 89 black and white activity sheets that are perfect to pair with Jumping Jack, but can also be used as a stand-alone activity. It contains two separate sets of articulation pages, one with pictures (all the most frequently targeted sounds and blends) and one with words only (later developing sounds). Language targets include synonyms, antonyms, multiple meaning words, describing, categories, comparing, contrasting, answering WH- questions, and inferences. I use these sheets at the same time as the game, completing a task before each turn, and sometimes I have the students complete the worksheet before we play the game.

Sometimes I use these print and go sheets with dot paints, and other times I'll use play dough or mini erasers to cover the carrots.

Here's a photo of using an articulation sheet while we play the game...

 ...and here is one of when we completed the worksheets first. I had one student paint the tops of all the carrots and the other paint the bottoms the first time through the target word set, and then we traded paints and said all the words again. I got double the amount of reps! Score!

To push my luck even further, and get even MORE milage out of this handy dandy worksheet, I had the students say their words again before they removed carrots while playing the game. We covered the carrots with bunny erasers to keep track of the words we said.

Here's a shot of us using mini erasers to cover the carrots while we practice describing the size, shape or color of objects.

Honestly, this game is so much fun and so flexible! I love it when I can use one item to target so many different skills.

What do you think? Do you use this game or one that is similar? I'd love to know!


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