A Speech Therapist Builds Language Skills Using Zingo!

I am thrilled to share the following guest post by Kelly Rholes.  Kelly is a fabulous Speech Therapist who integrates game play into her practice to engage young players and make learning fun and meaningful!  Here she shares creative ways to use ThinkFun’s Zingo! game to target a range of different learning needs:

If working on verb tense:

Have the child pull 2 or 3 chips at random and put them in a line. Then the child must create a story in using all past, present, or future tense verbs. For example, if the child grabs a foot, sock and tree and the target tense is using past tense verbs, he could say, “Yesterday I put my sock on my foot, and then I kicked a tree.” Of course, he can make up any sentence, and the sillier the better!

If working on temporal, conditional, or basic directions:

When cleaning up the game, give the child directions for putting the chips back in the slider. Some examples:
Temporal Direction: Put the cake in after you put in the yo-yo.
Conditional Direction: If I put in a T-rex, you put in a tree.
Conditional w/ negation: Don’t put in a foot, unless I put in a shoe.

If working on final consonant deletion:

Many of these chips have words ending in /p/, /t/, /k/, and /g/.  I usually play this game with my children who have final consonant deletion as a phonological processing disorder persisting after 3 years of age. I have the child name the chip or put the word of the chip in a simple sentence. He can also ask, “Do you have a ____?”

If working on memory:

1. Show the child a certain number of chips on a table. Then, have him close his eyes and take one away. Then, the child opens his eyes and and states which chip is missing.

2. Show the child a certain number of chips, asking him to look only. Then, have the child engage in a different task for a certain number of minutes (depending on your goal). After your time is up, begin showing the chips (with a few new ones added) one at a time to the child asking him is he saw the picture earlier.

3. Have a selected chip out for the child. Tell the child that you want him to name as many things he can think of that … in one minute. Turn the timer over to start the time and write down his answers. For example, if you choose hamburger, ask him to name as many other foods he can think of in 1 minute. Or, if you choose apple, have him name as many things that are red 1 one minute.

If working on categories:

1. Lay three chips out in front of the child (two of which belong to the same category– 2 animals, 1 food) and have him state which chip doesn’t belong and why.

2. Lay half or all of the chips out in front of the child (depending on skill level) and have him separate them into categories. If the child needs support, write category titles on separate pieces of paper so the child knows what to look for (i.e. food, animal, transportation, etc).

If working on prepositions:

Have the child grab a chip from a pile. Then give him directions telling him where to place the chip. For example, you can say, “Place the ice cream under the chair.” You can increase the number of directions, as well. For example, “Place the horse on the table then touch your nose.”

If working on functions of objects:

Lay out a certain number of chips (they can related or not depending on difficulty level) on the table. Tell the child, “Hand me the one that flies.” Choose the function you are looking for and ask the child to have you the object that serves that function.

If working on phonological awareness:

Have the child grab a chip from a pile. When he looks at it, ask him to name the chip. Then he must think of another word that starts with the same letter/sound, ends with the same letter/sound, or rhymes with the word.

If working on reading:

Determine your child’s reading level. Write simple sentences on sentence strips (or whatever your heart desires) leaving a blank where a noun should be. Have the child grab a chip  from a pile and a sentence strip. The child must place the chip in the blank (or noun) spot and then read the sentence. Again, the sillier the better!

If working on comparing/contrasting:

Have the child grab two chips from a group of scattered chips  laying face down. He must then name one thing similar about the objects on the chip and one thing different (or whatever your goal is for the child).

If working on sentence structure:

Choose a carrier phrase, and write it on a sentence strip. For example, “I see a _____”, or “This is a _____”. Scatter the chips around. Have the child choose a chip and place it in the blank spot of the sentence strip. Then have him read or say the sentence. You can have multiple types of sentences and the child can also choose a sentence strip when choosing a chip. You can also have the child ask questions while playing the game, such as, “Do you have a _____?”

Of course, this game is great for reinforcing activities. The child can perform a task, then slide the slider one or two times. Taking turns while mastering goals.

Do you have other suggestions for creative ways to use Zingo! to exercise specific skills?  Please share in the comments below!

8 thoughts on “A Speech Therapist Builds Language Skills Using Zingo!

  1. Becca

    As an OT in preschools, Zingo has become a staple in our therapeutic use of play for language, social skills, visual perceptual skills, fine motor, bilateral skills and so much more! And its just as much fun at home!

  2. Charlotte Post author

    Thank you so much for sharing, Becca! We love hearing from experts who find innovative ways to use our games as learning tools.

  3. Cindy Powers

    Wonderful ideas that I can share with parents at my homeschool conferences. I would love your permission to post some of these ideas on my website. Zingo is one of our best-sellers at BRAIN-athon Emporium!

  4. Charlotte Post author

    Hi Cindy,
    Glad this great information will help you expose homeschoolers to the wide range of learning possibilities a game can hold! By all means – please feel free to share this content with your community of parents and educators!

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