speech therapy games

5 Free, Easy Speech Therapy Games to Play With Your Child

Children are born to learn through play. Playing speech therapy games at home with your child gives them a chance to practice the speech and language skills we’re working to help them develop in therapy, while also giving you a chance to bond with them.

Chances are, you’ve already played them together before, but there are a few ways you can tweak the games so that they’re still fun but even more effective at targeting certain skills like vocabulary, attention, memory, articulation, phonics, observation, deduction and expressive/receptive language.

We like these games in particular too because not only are they free, you can introduce them almost anywhere: On a road trip, at a restaurant while you wait for food, a rainy day at home or a sunny day at the park. And siblings can join in too!

Our Favorite Speech Therapy Games

In no particular order, our top 5 favorite speech therapy games are:

I Spy

This game is so simple: See something in plain sight, pick out one detail and make the other player(s) guess what it could be. Some examples of how to play:

  • “I spy with my little eyes something… blue!”

Without realizing it, kids are practicing their receptive language, expressive language and deductive reasoning skills. There are some ways you could mix it up, depending on your child’s speech therapy goals. For example, if you’re child is working on their expressive language skills, they could be the guesser more frequently than the “spyer.” Consider expanding the categories beyond color:

  • “I spy with my little eyes… something that starts with the letter R!”
  • “I spy with my little eyes… something that’s round!”
  • “I spy with my little eyes… something that starts with the ‘s’ sound!”
  • “I spy with my little eyes… something that’s used to write!”

If you want to hone in on vocabulary words, try to pick words from your child’s recent spelling/vocabulary lists.

Tongue-twisting phrases that are similar-sounding and repetitive can help boost vocabulary and language development. They can also be super silly/fun to say, especially as a group. We love tongue-twisting speech therapy games not only because they really get kids engaged, but they also help children stretch out the muscles they need in speech, which in turn helps them with speech patterns and clear pronunciation.

Sayings like these help kids with the speed and fluency of their speech, their articulation of words and their socializing/sense of humor. Choose sayings that you know will help them with articulation on sounds with which they struggle. To switch it up a little, make a game of it: Use a stopwatch to time how fast each player says it correctly or award points based on how few repetitions each player needs to master it.

20 Questions

With this game, you choose a noun (person, place or thing) and the other player(s) get 20 yes-no questions to try to guess what that thing is. Some questions that may be asked:

  • Is it a place?
  • Is it a person?
  • Is the person someone I know?
  • Is the person famous?
  • Is the person someone with brown hair?

A game like this helps kids work on both their expressive and receptive language skills, as well as their ability to use deductive reasoning. If your child is working on conversational and expressive language skills, have them reply to the yes-no questions in a complete sentence. “No, it doesn’t have wings.” If handwriting is one of the skills your child is working on, have them write down the clues on a dry erase board, chalk board or on a paper with a marker or crayon.

Silly Rhyming Songs

Ok, so these aren’t technically a game, but kids LOVE them. These are songs that have basically the same lyrics over and over, but with some variations or volume changes as the song goes on. And they’re great for teaching new words, teaching rhyming words, memory, counting and phonics. Some of the classics include:

  • Wheels on the Bus
  • B-I-N-G-O
  • 99 Bottles of Juice in the Fridge (instead of bottles of beer on the wall; number can be adjusted for your child’s counting ability)
  • The Hokey Pokey (great to get them up and moving!)
  • Old McDonald
  • The Littlest Worm

Along these same lines, we love the “There Was an Old Lady…” series.

I Went To… 

This is a memory game where you build on a long list of things, one at a time, alphabetically. For example, you could say:

  • “I went to school and I saw an apple, a backpack, a chalkboard, a desk, an eraser and a… folder!” 

Then the next player has to list all of the above, plus something that starts with the letter “g.” This game helps with phonics and memory and vocabulary. If it’s a little too advanced for your child to do the whole list, switch it up to do the reciting yourself and let your child add a new word each round.

If you want to focus on phonics and articulation, start with a destination and keep adding a new sound with the same sound. For example:

  • “I went to Charleston and ate chicken, cheese, cherries, Cheerios, chewing gum, Chinese food, chili and… chocolate!” 

Or, you could limit it to three items each and go down the alphabet. For instance:

  • “I went to Alabama and I bought an aquarium, an airplane and an apron. … I went to the Bahamas and I bought a book, a boat and a blue ball.” 

These kinds of speech therapy games will get your child laughing, learning and talking! For more suggestions, ask your child’s FOCUS Fort Myers speech therapist!

FOCUS offers pediatric speech therapy to children in Fort Myers, Cape Coral and throughout Southwest Florida. Virtual speech therapy is available to kids throughout Florida. Call (239) 313.5049 or Contact Us online.

Additional Resources:

The role of play in children’s development: a review of the evidence, The LEGO Foundation

More Blog Entries:

Smartphones & Speech Therapy: A GR8! Combo, May 19, 2018, Cape Coral Speech Therapy Blog

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