Tag Archives: Speech

Hello Sunshine Shines in Speech Therapy!

The following post is shared by expert Speech Therapist Sherry Artemenko of Play On Words.  Sherry recently awarded Hello Sunshine! the Play Advances Language (PAL) Award in recognition of its uses as a language learning tool!


“Hello Sunshine,” New PAL Award winner, Shines In Preschool Speech Therapy

Toddlers can be a bit of a challenge in speech therapy because you have to keep them engaged and motivated with great toys and activities while building their language. Sunshine was quite a hit with my little ones as they warmed right up to her and delighted in hiding and finding the furry bit of radiance. 2 year-olds were following directions and learning prepositions, while 3 year-olds decided to play teacher and send me on the hunt. Use Sunshine to teach wh-questions, pronouns,  prepositions and vocabulary as you go on your search around the house.

Hello Sunshine was recently honored with a Play Advances Language (PAL) Award!

Here is my full review:

Say hello to Sunshine, who joins ThinkFun’s first toddler game, “Roll & Play” which was popular with toddlers and their moms last year. I am more frequently asked for toy suggestions by parents of toddlers than any other age, which might explain why these simple starter games provide more structure for parents and caregivers who appreciate some guidance on where to begin their play.

Hide the plush Sunshine according to picture cards depicting positions such as in a box, next to a chair or on top of your head! Ask your toddler, “Were is Sunshine, can you find her?” The game’s directions offer wonderful language learning tips for toddlers such as modeling questions, greetings, and positional words within the context of a child’s play.

Kids loved playing this game of hide and seek with their furry Sunshine. When my little friend spotted her “on top of a pillow,” he squealed with delight, grabbed her, and leaned in for a squeeze! Three year-olds upped the fun by trading places with me and being the “hider.” I had to follow directions, “Now me hide it, close your eyes” Playing just once, isn’t enough, “”I wanna hide it again!”

Snack Attack Serves up Fun and Learning as a Speech/Language Tool!

I am thrilled to share another 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!  In a previous post she described ways to use Zingo! to support her clients, and here she dives into Snack Attack!, sharing creative ways to use game play to target a range of different learning needs:

This game is FULL…let me say it again…FULL of options for targeting So many speech and language goals. I have created a few of these into a list that may help you when you want a new way to play this game, or when you need a new way to target a goal!

First of all, this game is just great fun, overall. I’ve played it with many of my kiddos and they all enjoy it and ask to play it again and again! They especially love spinning the tube that holds the tokens.
If you’re working on subjective pronouns (he/she):

*If your child needs to work on “he”, find a boy to play with you, and if your child needs to practice “she”, find a girl. (This obviously may be a little difficult depending on your situation. Play the game as you normally would except with this twist: Each child will play the other child’s card. The children will call out to you what the other person has. Have the child use the carrier phrase, “S/he has ____” to ensure the use of the pronoun. For example, Bobby needs to work on “she”. Bobby is playing with Sarah. The spinner will be spun, and Bobby will look at Sarah’s card. Sarah has popcorn, and popcorn is available on the game piece. Bobby will yell, “She has popcorn!” Sarah will then put popcorn on her card, and the game continues like this.

*You can play this way for pronouns I/you have. Also, consider targeting has/have if you child has trouble with this “be” verb and tweak the rules based on the child’s ability to follow new rules/skill level.

*Another quick way to target pronouns is to look at the front of the box the game comes in and discuss what each child has on his/her card.

If you’re working on imitation:

* Put some beans or rice in the tube, and close both ends. Shake the beans/rice and hand it to your child. You can even add words or sounds when you shake. For example, “shake, shake, shake!”

* Use the game piece and the tube, but leave the tube empty. Spin the tube and say, “weeeee!” Wait for the child to take a turn, or help the child imitate you by guiding his hand.

If you’re working on requesting:

* Place a small reinforcer in the tube. Close the tube. Then, show the child the tube. If the child is young, it will probably be hard for him to open the tube; therefore, he will need help opening it. If he’s reinforced enough, he will communicate in some way to let you know he wants it. (Keep in mind this may be crying!) Provide him with a model so that he can imitate you to request at his skill level.

If you’re working on memory:

* Lay target number of tokens out in front of the child. Name them or have the child name them. The child then closes his eyes. Take one of the tokens away. The child will open his eyes and guess which one is missing.

If you’re working on phonological awareness:

* Lay target number of tokens in front of the child. Make sure you have different tokens. Tell the child to give you the one that starts with __. Letters you will be able to target: a, c, g, i, m, p, s. There are 12 different food items. Some start with the same letter. You could also have the child give you the foods that start with the same letter. Another game you could play is to have the child make up a silly (nonsense) word that rhymes with whichever food item you hand him or he draws from the pile.

If you’re working on articulation:

These are for specific sounds:

/g/: I got _______! (The child will use this simple sentence when he finds a food on the game board that matches on his plate.)
/h/: I have ______! (The child will use this simple sentence when he finds a food on the game board that matches on his plate.)
/s/: I see ______! (The child will use this to name the food items once the tube has been spun around the entire game board.)
/f/: I found _______! (The child will use this simple sentence when he finds a food on the game board that matches on his plate.)
/l/: I like/don’t like to eat _____! (The child will use this to talk about the foods on the game board or on his plate.)

If you need this as a reinforcer:

Obvious? The game itself is a reinforcer, but a way you can use this and still target your goals (when targeting them other ways) is to have the child perform the target activity, then take a turn with the game. A turn can mean spinning the tube once and playing until he can no longer play.

If you’re working on ANYTHING:
(answering questions, following directions, speech sounds, etc, etc, etc!)

Use this template if you want or make your own: Colored circles for Snack Attack

Cut out the circles and tape them down over the small circles inside the holes where the food lands once the tube has passed over it. Confusing? Here’s a picture. P.S. To make your own circles, use whatever program you want but make sure the circles measure 7/8 of an inch.

You could:

*(Best for 2 players, not including you) Make one colored circle and put a thin thin layer of sticky tack on the back of it. Place it randomly on one of the circles of the game board. Have the children close their eyes. Spin the tube so that the tokens cover up the circles. The children play as they normally would except if someone grabs a food item with a red circle underneath, he must put that token back into the tube. Once that round is finished and the children can no longer play, pick up the tokens that could not be played, move the red circle to another spot, and spin the tube to cover the holes again.

* Put a different colored circle in each of the holes. Have the child spin the empty tube and see where it lands. The color that he lands on is the coordinating color card (that you already made) in which he has to do. These pre-made cards will correspond with your target goals. So, if you have a following directions goal, he will have to perform the activity that the card states.

Here is an example of pre-made cards with a following directions goal:  Following Directions

If you need to work on body parts or clothing, make your cards correspond to pointing to body parts.
If you’re working on specific question types (i.e. “who”), make your cards fit that goal (i.e. “Who delivers mail?”, “Who do you see when you’re sick?”, “Who takes care of sick animals?”, “Who cuts your hair?”)

* Put different colored circles in each of the holes. Play the game as you normally would. Each time a token is picked up, the child must remember the color underneath it. When one round is finished, the child has to repeat the colors in the order he picked up the tokens.

You are not limited to just colors. You can put numbers on your circles (provided as a template) and make up your own games. You would write target letters and work on speech sounds that the empty tube lands on after it has been spun. If working on basic reading and/or phonological awareness, have the child spin the empty tube and read the word it lands on and/or think of another word that starts with that letter and/or rhymes with the word.

If you’re working on patterns:

There are 12 different food items and 11 of each one. Use only the tokens for this. Lay them out to make a pattern (i.e. peanut, peanut, cheese…) Have the child finish your pattern or make his own. You could also make a pattern, then remove one of the tokens. The child must figure out which part of the pattern is missing and replace the token with the correct food item.

If you want the child to answer questions about the foods:

Play the game as you normally would. When one round is finished, look at the child’s plate and ask him a question about one of the foods. Here is an example sheet of questions you can use: Asking Questions

That is all!

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!