Like many SLPs, I am also a games hoarder - but this started long before I landed my first therapy position. My parents were big advocates of family game night, and as I got older, I was more excited about which board game my mother had purchased our family for Christmas each year than for my own presents (maybe that's a bit exaggerated, but not by much). We had to have two cabinets built for us beneath the shelving for family photos for all of our games, that's how many we had. Now I have an entire upper closet FULL of games in addition my therapy room which has 3 cabinets and a drawer full of games with others in different parts of the room as well.
Unfortunately, as much as I LOVE to play games, we can't play them ALL the time (darn!), so I have to pick and choose depending on the length of the game vs. the length of the therapy session, skills the game focuses on, and what ages it is appropriate for. Here are games that get picked time and time again to play in our therapy room:
What's In Ned's Head?/I Spy Mystery Grab/What's In The Cat's Hat?
These three games all focus on using your sense of touch (sight and sound as well for the" What's In Cat's Hat?" game) to determine what is inside of an object without looking inside. Children can use what they already know about each object that could possibly be inside of one of the objects - such as the texture, shape, size, parts, etc. - to guess which object they are going to pull out of the object. For the "What's In Cat's Hat?" game, only one object is in the hat, which the clinician will know and be able to answer questions about. For the other two games, children draw cards and try to grab the object inside of a head or a hat that matches the image on the card. This game is great for describing, answering questions, adjectives, and more! Also, since I own all three games, we often divide into groups of 3 to play the games after a quick intro about how to play them!
Cat In The Hat I Can Do That!/Jake And The Neverland Pirates Challenge Game
Both of these games are very similar in the fact that they have cards with directions to follow, foam objects to hold, and a foam limbo stick to hop over/crawl under. Draw 1-3 cards and follow the directions of an object to hold while performing an action. My students LOVE that these games are themed and enjoy performing the actions! I first saw the Cat in the Hat game when the occupational therapist at my school used it for sensory group and knew right away that it could be used for speech therapy! They also have a smaller Cat in the Cat card game with a few foam objects for cheaper that also works on following directions!
We've all seen that Jenga is great for therapy. Whether you are using labels or writing directly onto the blocks to use them for different skills or just using Jenga as a reinforcer for each trial, it is challenging, fun, and can be used with all ages. Now, the makers of Jenga have released a new game - Jenga Boom. Oh my goodness has it changed the motivation between playing regular Jenga and adding the dynamite underneath it. Basically the Jenga Boom element looks like dynamite, and when you place Jenga blocks on top of it and pull the string, you now have a timer set to pop up and drop all of the blocks at once. Use it the same as you would use Jenga (you can even start/stop the timer element) with a little bit of extra excitement!
Hedbanz/Disney Hedbanz/Guess What I Am/Jeepers Peepers
Ever play the game where you stick a card to your head or get a sticky note placed on your back with a person's name on it, and then you go around the room asking questions of other people to guess whose name is on you? This is like that, but with less stickiness/spit. To play Hedbanz, my students put an adjustible headband around their heads and place a card in the slot of the headband. There is also a cue card which provides ideas for which questions to ask for them to try to guess which image is on their head (a noun). In the Disney version, all items are from Disney/Pixar movies. There is also an adult version, which you may be able to use with adult clients. Guess What I Am is similar except children put their faces through a frame and try to guess what person or animal they are. Finally, Jeepers Peepers (I don't own this one yet, but it is similar to the other three I own), created by Super Duper Publications, uses glasses instead of a headband in which students can put a card in the slot on top of the glasses and ask questions about their noun. At first I thought Hedbanz were my favorite, but my students loved Guess What I Am so much that we ended up taking pictures of their faces in the frames and they were SO FUNNY!
What are your favorite games for speech therapy? I would love to hear them in the comments below! I have almost completed a full games list for games to use in speech-language therapy categorized into groups, so I would love to make sure I haven't missed any!