Kids of all ages adore using apps on tablets, computers, and smartphones. While it is important to limit screen time with students, sometimes a little app appreciation can assist in speech and language goal work. If you have access to a device, check to see what apps your students are currently using that will engage them in a special pop culture speech session. Some apps are also available with Chrome for students to use on computers with that operating system.
The key to using apps within a speech session is to think outside of the box. None of these apps are traditionally used for this purpose. You must engage kids while working on IEP goals. What could a child do during a turn in the game where they must talk through something, model, or follow up by practicing a skill? Try some popular free gaming apps for yourself and see what twist you may be able to put on them. Some apps that work well with children of all ages include:
- Angry Birds
- Cookie Jam
- Little Alchemy
- CrossyRoad (several different versions including Disney)
- Colors United
- Emoji Blitz
- Pokemon Go
- Sugar Rush
- Fruit Ninja
Now it’s time to have some fun. Come up with different rules for your own version of app in session play. If you are playing CrossyRoad, make up different tasks for the child to do based on how many steps they hop. For example, 50 hops would be to use some practice words in a sentence, and 100 hops could be to act out a word in a sentence. Older kids may enjoy talking through their play. Have them focus on using verbs, key descriptive words about the scenery, or anything else that fits with the game.
When playing with multiple children, allow others in the group to create their own items that go along with the game. What would their idea CrossyRoad player look like? If you are using Colorfy, have some coloring pages for them to practice talking about color selection and patterns. Kids can also spend time talking about the game and what they like about it. Perhaps a guide book about the app with tips and strategies for other players could be gone with older kids. When finished, everyone may share what they have completed.
Providing fun sessions that tie into real life will keep students motivated during speech and language time. Send home tie-in ideas for families to keep using at home. Many adults would cherish the time to talk with their kids when they play. Be sure to include instructions and plans with translations for multilingual homes.
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