Better Speech 5 min read

How to Improve Articulation? Make it Fun! Games to Practice Speech Therapy for Kids.

Are you looking for some quick, easy ideas to work on articulation and speech therapy at home? We always are! Today, we would like to share with you some ways we use dice in our speech language therapy sessions for school age kids.

Something we use a lot of in speech therapy for kids is a FREE quick open-ended dice game. It is perfect to use with any stimulus cards, and adds an element of fun to drill. (If kids are working on the same target, we just use one board, but if they are working on different targets, we print individual copies of the page.)

Articulation

For more active kids working on phonology or articulation, we have them roll the dice when it is their turn to find out *how* they will say their set number of words, phrases, or sentences. For example, if they roll a one, they have to practice while doing jumping jacks, or if they roll a four, they have to say their words while touching their toes.

For kids working on different fluency enhancing strategies at phrase or sentence level, we might have the kids roll the dice to see what strategy they need to practice on their turn.

For kids working on describing, you can assign each number on the dice to a different attribute. So, for example, if the child rolls a six, they have to tell where the object might be found.

If you are working on vocabulary skills, you can have the child roll the dice to find out if he/she needs to use the target word in a sentence, give a synonym, or provide an antonym.

If you are looking to get high numbers of repetitions for kids working on articulation, have them roll the dice, say the target word that many times, and keep a tally mark of how many times they said the word correctly. The child with the most tally marks at the end of your designated time “wins.”

When kids working on articulation are in elementary school, they love any kind of game: Candyland, Shoots & Ladders, Pop the Pig. Yet middle and high school kids working on articulation and phonological goals are more difficult to engage. It can be hard to come up with activities that these kids find exciting and that match their newfound sense of maturity and independence. So without further ado, here are my best ideas and resources for articulation activities for teens/tweens.

Speech therapy for child and adult

Here are some ideas:

Articulation Battleship: kids generally enjoy the game battleship; the only difference with these type of games is that they either have to say the location as two word coordinates (e.g. they might say “read rest” instead of B1 to target a spot on the other’s board) or they can state the “coordinate” as the word in that square instead (e.g. “read” if that is the word in the B1 square). This game is great for kids at the word-level and who still need mild-moderate prompting for correct productions.

Checkers: This one’s a classic that doesn’t require much explanation. Whatever articulation task they are working on, they get to take a turn at the checkers board. It’s an engaging and intellectually complex enough game without being so complex that kids can’t focus on their actual speech goals. You can either buy a set at a Goodwill or simply play it online for free here.

Connect 4: Another classic! We do the same thing with this activity as we do with checkers. Here is another free site to play online with your students if you are like me and don’t want to pay for yet another board game (or try to find space for it in your room!)

Dominoes: Another classic, but this one is nice because the trial numbers are actually part of the game! All you have to do is make it so the student needs to add up the numbers on the domino they lay down and say the target that many times.

Jenga and Uno: These are self-explanatory…middle schoolers LOVE these games for some reason and will often request to do them.

Some tips for activities 5-8: vary up the tasks you are asking the kids to do. It’s not only tedious but also doesn’t help carryover if we are asking them to do the same easy task each time (“say this word and use it in a sentence”). Try having them guess your word, like for Headbandz. Try having them read a sentence with the target. One of our favorite things to do is to give them two or more words and tell the student to come up with a sentence that uses both, with correct production. Considering many kids struggle with true mastery and carryover for several years, we really need to increase the complexity of the articulation tasks we give them to match the demands of real life: we need to give kids articulation tasks that get them thinking, problem-solving, and that include multiple words with the target sound in various positions just like what they would need to do in a natural conversational setting.

And some iPad Applications for Speech and Language Therapy at Home:

Articulation Station Pro: This app targets all speech sounds in all positions of words at the word, sentence, and reading levels. It can be used with up to 6 people in a group. It includes a simple memory game.

Webber Photo Articulation: This app targets all speech sounds in all positions of words at the word and sentence levels. Includes very simple “games”.

Phonics Studio: Free app: This app targets words in all positions of words. It shows student progress.

Speech with Milo Board Game: This is a fun articulation game for targeting articulation sounds in different positions of words. You can sounds separately.