As a private, play-based speech-language pathologist I typically play games with my clients during speech therapy sessions, both for fun and to target language goals. We play board games, card games, and even make up our own games. The good news is that when you move to virtual sessions you don’t have to give up all the fun in your speech session. Here are some fun games I’ve played successfully during virtual sessions.
To play Hangman, you both need a piece of paper and a pen or pencil. When playing with elementary or middle schoolers, I like to pick a category for the word (state, flower, place, animals, etc). You get the idea. You and your student can decide to stick with one category or change the category each round. To make Hangman work digitally, hold up each of your sheets to the screen when it’s your turn to show the other player.
This game will be best for children who are readers with strong phonological awareness skills. First, pick a category together. Let’s say you choose “sports” for your category. One person starts with an item from the category like, “soccer.” Next, the other player says “running,” the next player says “golf.” You play the round until either player is stumped. Then start again with a different category.
The Thinking Game
My 4-year-old niece and I fondly call this game, “The Thinking Game.” It’s a basic question and answer guessing game. It’s simple, one person thinks of an item in a category of their choosing, the other person asks questions until they guess what the item is. Each round starts with…”I’m thinking of a…...fruit…or...game…or..movie…or..person. Language-wise, this game is a nice way to practice deductive reasoning, question formulation, answering questions, and vocabulary development.
We all know how to play charades...right? It’s a family favorite over in our house! This is self-explanatory and works great during a virtual session! Again, you can pick a category to narrow it down (i.e. actions, animals or things). The game Kids on Stage would pair well with this, but not necessary to play charades digitally.
Hedbanz is a guessing game where each person wears a “headband” with a picture on it and asks questions to figure out what the picture on their headband is. If you are an SLP who already has this game in your arsenal, you can play by quickly showing the other player your card with your eyes closed, then start to play the game like normal.
Use our free articulation worksheets or multisyllable word worksheets to play a game when practicing articulation. Email the PDF with the target sound to your client before your virtual session. If you each have the same sheet in front of you, you can give each other clues with the answer being the target sound. For example, if you are working on initial /l/ you can give the clue “this is a reptile with a long tail.” The goal would be for your client to answer with their target speech sound “lizard.”
Good luck out there!! Working with children virtually is a new and different experience for most of us SLPs. I hope this gives you some ideas about how to bring some FUN into your virtual session! Comment below if you have other ideas :)