Concentrating on speech and language goals in the winter can be tough. Between the holidays, vacations, and other disruptions, focus can be hard to maintain. No matter what is happening, you must get items accomplished during sessions with students. Assessments are done throughout the year, so mix up some word games to practice sounds, phrases, pragmatics, grammar, or other skills. You can take a familiar game and twist it a little to add some interest level and extra zing.
A Little Twist on an Old Favorite
Many children need to mix it up with articulation and vocabulary practice. Card games are often a wonderful way to do this. When new sounds are added, you can make lists of words that can be grouped together for a matching style game. Pairs of words with pictures go on one side of the card, then the other side should have a fun winter picture that matches all of the rest (think snowman, sled, snowflake, or hot cocoa). Laminate the cards to use in group play.
Shuffle all of the cards and place them face down on the table. Each player takes a turn and flips over two cards. When they look at the card, they will say something similar to, “I found a _____ and a _____” if they are not a match. Matches mean that the child needs to say that word in a sentence of their own. Continue play around the group.
Do You See What I See?
Picture searches and games where you have to find various items are also a great way to actively engage students. Gather winter photos, book, or items from magazines. If the photo or picture has a lot of things within it, use it to play a version of Where’s Waldo or I Spy style games. You may also make a collage of photos with words that are being targeted within sessions. Use newspaper ads, magazines, and other familiar objects to children. The scavenger hunt has a lot of uses within speech and language goals. Older children may be asked to find words that start with a specific found. Clue may be given to assist them.
Rhyme time within the drawing is another great option. You could show a card with a word on it and have each child look for a word within the photo that rhymes with it. “I spy with my little eye something that rhymes with _____.” When they find it, they can tell you what the item is and use it in a sentence with the rhyming word.
Any of these game options may be switched around to work on a variety of speech and language goals for a child. Nothing is set a specific way and is flexible so that it may be switched up a bit and used in a slightly different way. Make an extra set of cards to send home to families and encourage them to practice at home. For multilingual families, include translations on them so they may work on the connection at home.