Monday, July 27, 2020

27 Free Online Games for Speech Therapy You Need to Know About

Teletherapy speech therapy activities like these 27 open-ended online games make planning easy! Find easy games for toddlers like Colorful Ships and great games for bigger kids like Frost Bite and Basketball. #speechsprouts #speechtherapygames  #speechtherapy #teletherapy

Online games that are quick to play are perfect for speech teletherapy.

Like many SLPs right now, I'm a newly minted teletherapist due to school closures during the COVID 19 pandemic. After three months of diving into speech therapy telepractice this spring, I quickly realized that I need more tricks up my sleeve to keep my students engaged with me online! Thirty minutes of pure drill time wasn't cutting it. It wasn't long before they started looking at me with eyes that said "What else have you got?" a bunch of you, I'll be headed back to school seeing my students online, at least for now. So it's time to gather up some great resources to keep participation and interest high!

It's important to mix it up with a variety of activities to keep students engaged during online speech therapy sessions.

Especially the youngest ones. Gee- in that respect it's not unlike in-person sessions, is it?

 I may have 2-3 different activities during a session. including books, real games (I take their "turn" for them in front of the camera), puppets, toys for the younger crowd, riddles, and worksheets we could draw or write on with annotation tools. I also love Boom Cards and digital resources like interactive pdfs. I like to get my kiddos up and moving sometimes too. We all need that!

Online games are a favorite activity for my speech therapy students.

No prep for you, fun for them. If you are using a platform like Zoom where you can give your students control, any of these games are great. If you can't give students control, look at the online board games that automatically advance. You can click the dice for your students.

 I keep a document of links on my desktop so I can head over to a great online game quickly during a session. Ready for a list to make your teletherapy planning easier? Here you go!

Here are some of my favorite sites for engaging, quick-play online games.

I've played a lot of games y'all, and I've listed games from these sites that load easily, are quick to play, motivating, and won't take away too much therapy time! You may want to look through the main sites and see if there are more games you love.

Teletherapy speech therapy activities like these 27 open-ended online games make planning easy! Find easy games for toddlers like Build a Monster and great games for bigger kids like Frost Bite and Basketball. #speechsprouts #speechtherapygames  #speechtherapy #teletherapy
Pink Cat Studio has 3 great free games and also a subscription.

Pink Cat Studio 3 fun games that you can use open-ended or for words, rhyme and more

Fun Brain Tons of engaging, quick-play games kids will love

Toy Theatre  Fun games, and lots of extras like dice and spinners

For little ones, you'll also want to check out:

ABCya  Lots of "Make-a" games and holiday games for little ones..Some games require flash player.

PBS Kids  Simple games with characters kids like such as Clifford, Sesame Street or Arthur.

Happy Clicks  I love this site of super-easy activities for very young learners

Teletherapy speech therapy activities like these 27 open-ended online games make planning easy! Find easy games for toddlers like the Chicken Game and great games for bigger kids like Frost Bite and Basketball. #speechsprouts #speechtherapygames  #speechtherapy #teletherapy
Happy Clicks has simple games for your youngest children just touch or tap to see things happen!

Easiest online games for early learners:

Chicken Game Click your mouse and the colorful chickens squawk, lay eggs, and hatch chicks

Interactive Mr. Potato Head Gret for body parts vocabulary

Make an Icecream build your Ice cream

Fruit Fall Help the farmer catch the fruit in his basket.

Balloon Pop Use the slingshot to pop the balloons.

Feed Freddy Matching Game Feed Freddy the matching colors shapes or patterns and watch him grow!

Simon Sees: Match the monster's reflection in the mirror by changing the pattern of his three eyes.

Helipopper The monster is flying with a helicopter hat. Pop the balloons that match the color of his hat. Requires paying attention to changing hat color. 

Pink Cat Studio has three free games that can be played open-ended (you just click the answer quickly) or for a variety of skills including Wh Questions, CVC words, antonyms, articulation of digraphs, l-blends

Play Build a Monster, Smarty Pants Animal Race or Quiz Wheel Game for free.

Open-ended online games for all grades 

Frost Bite Stick out your tongue and eat snowflakes

Desert Dive: Big Blue and his friend are on a see-saw, drag Big Blue up, and drop him to make his friend splash into the pool.

Spaceship Maze Guide your spaceship through the maze. Starts easy and each maze becomes a bit more challenging.

Turtle Wax Raise and lower the slide, then let the turtle slide down. Can you make him hit the target?

Basketball Aim the ball just right to make a basket!

Play Tic Tac Toe  play the computer or another player

Connect4 Play the computer or another player

Online board games: 

Familiar and fun games for anyone.

Teletherapy speech therapy activities like these 27 open-ended online games make planning easy! Find easy games for toddlers like Build a Monster and great games for bigger kids like Frost Bite and Snakes and Ladders. #speechsprouts #speechtherapygames  #speechtherapy #teletherapy
Find games, hidden pictures, puzzles and more at Toy Theater

These games automatically play when you click the dice. Fast and easy!

Snakes and Ladders  Roll the Dice and your game piece automatically moves. Play with 1-2 players, or establish teams in a group.

The Goose Game: Roll the dice to advance. Some spaces are luck, some are not! Up to 6 players

These games require you to move the pieces. Some are strategy games best for older kids.

Checkers for 1-2 players or teams

BackGammon strategy game for older kids

Reversi Another strategy game for older kids. 1-2 players.

Games that are a bit more challenging:

Treasure Dive: The diver must avoid the sea creatures as he collects the gold from the treasure chest.

Word Turtle Create your own word search. Two levels of difficulty. Greate for articulation generating synonyms, antonyms, or category members

Visual Memory Puzzle Study the colored circles on the grid before they disappear. Can you re-create the pattern? Becomes progressively harder.

Poki Cut the Rope Feed the monster strategy game

Find 27 terrific teletherapy speech therapy activities including open-ended online games, spinners and dice that make planning easy!  #speechsprouts #speechtherapygames  #speechtherapy #teletherapy
Toy Theater also has great teacher tools you can adapt for speech therapy

Online dice and spinners for any game

Toy theater is great for these. These can be a game in themselves. Who will rack up the most points? Throw the dice or spin a spinner.

Dice: Colorful online dice in many shapes and sizes

Spinners; Choose spinners for either colors or numbers. You can choose how many spaces on the spinner too!

Online games are great to use in in-person therapy too. 

Play them on a  tablet, computer or project them on a whiteboard for instant engagement. Huge bonus- you don't have to lug these around as you travel from school to school or setting!

Don't forget to pin this post to save it for later when you need a fresh, motivating activity for your kiddos.

Grab this list of online speech therapy games for open-ended fun in teletherapy! Make planning easy with games for toddlers, preschoolers and games for older kids too. This will be your go-to list! #speechsprouts #speechtherapygames  #speechtherapy #teletherapy
Free online games for terrific for speech and language therapy.

Are you still needing to provide send-home materials, either printed or virtually?

I hope you've found some games you and your students love. Please leave a comment if you've found any more terrific open-ended games we should know about!

Stay well, my friends,

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

How to Boost Language with 19 Spectacular Wordless Books for Speech Therapy

Speech and language therapy is all about talking, right? So why would you want to use wordless books in your speech therapy session? No written story, no text. Well... that's exactly why!

Pancakes for Breakfast is one of 19 fun wordless books terrific for boosting speech and language in elementary and preschool speech therapy #speechsprouts #speechtherapy  #speechtherapybooks
Pancakes for Breakfast is such a fun wordless book for your next speech therapy session!

Wordless books are magical for eliciting language! 

Of course, reading a storybook with text is a great speech therapy activity too. They usually have some fun pictures to talk about, but mainly rely on the text to tell the story. The story is "fed" to the child. That's great if you're targeting listening comprehension, "wh" questions, or introducing new vocabulary.

With wordless books, however, it's the pictures that tell the story, offering magical opportunities for children to generate their own sentences, use their inventory of vocabulary, make inferences, and activate their background knowledge as they tell you all about the pictures. Expressive language? Oh yeah!

What happens when you read a book and then you quiz a child about what you've read?

Froggy Learns to Swim by Jonathon London is a storybook with text. You read the line: "So Froggy and his parents flopped outside to the pond- flop flop flop."

The conversation with a child listening usually goes something like this: You ask: "Where are the frogs going?" You may get just a one or maybe a two-word response, "the pond."

Now, think about what happens if you have a conversation about the pictures instead of the text.

Let's look at the fun wordless book by David Weisner, titled Tuesday. If you ask a child to tell you about one of the pictures, it might go something like this:  You: "Oh wow. Look at the frogs!  You may get a whole sentence in response, something like this: "They're floating up in the air with their lilypads!"

Compare this sentence with an MLU (mean sentence length) of 11 to the sentence with an MLU of 2 in the example of Froggy Goes Swimming.

When exploring a wordless book, you're likely to get a whole lot more generative language! 

Wordless books set up fantastic opportunities for:

1. Increased sentence length and complexity in the child's expressive speech. You naturally encourage more detailed responses when asking a child to tell you about a picture and what's happening.

2. Making inferences. You: "I wonder why the blackbird is flying away from the frog?" Child: "It's scared because the frogs are flying!"

3. Using descriptive words. "It's dark outside."

4. Practice with present and past-tense verbs. You: "What's happening in this picture?"  Child: "The birds see the frogs flying!" You: "Oh, no! What happened there?"  Child: "The frogs crashed into the clothes!"

5. A natural opportunity to practice pronouns. You: "Look at that frog!" Child: "It's upside down!"

6. Use of feelings words. You: "Look at his face! I wonder what the man is thinking?" Child: "He's surprised! He's thinking, What are those frogs doing outside my window?"

7. Embedded opportunities to explore story elements of characters, setting, action, problem, and solution.

8.  Literacy skills: Sequencing and telling a simple narrative. Have the child tell you the story by describing each picture as they turn the pages.

9. Toss in opportunities to practice conversational level articulation or fluency techniques as you explore and discuss the pictures together. Great in mixed groups. I think wordless books are a must-have in your speech therapy library!

Here's a list of 19 wonderful wordless books you absolutely should check out:

Try one of these fabulous wordless books in your next speech therapy session! 

Want to see if a book is right for your student's level? You can "preview" many of these books by watching a "read-aloud" or in this case a "showing" of the book on YouTube. Just search the title. Then head to the library or bookstore to grab a copy of your favorites.

I've added Amazon links for your convenience, I don't get any commission or other consideration for the links, I just want to make it easy for you to check out these great books. 
  1. Goodnight Gorilla by Peggy Ratham is the story of a mischievous little gorilla in the zoo who steals the zookeeper's keys.
  2. Wave by Suzy Lee is the story of a little girl at the beach who plays with a wave at the beach that seems almost alive.
  3. A Boy, a Dog, and a Frog by Mercer Meyer is the story of a boy and a dog who see a clever little frog and their misadventures when they try to catch him in a net. 
  4. Found by Jeff Newman is the story of a little girl who keeps a lost dog, then has to give him up when the owner is found. 
  5. The Umbrella by Ingrid and Dieter Schubert is the story of a little dog who finds an umbrella and while holding it, is blown away by a gust of wind, sending him on amazing adventures.
  6. Float by Daniel Miyares is the story of a little boy and his paper boat.
  7. Where's Walrus? by Stephen Savage is the story of a sneaky walrus who escaped the zoo, and the zookeeper who can't seem to find him- even when it's right in front of him!
  8. Wolf in the Snow by Matthew Cordel is the story of a little girl and a wolf cub who both get lost in a snowstorm and how they become friends.
  9. Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crocket Johnson is the story of a little boy who uses a purple crayon to draw his way into exciting adventures.
  10. Pancakes for Breakfast by Tomie dePaola is the story of a little old lady who craves pancakes for breakfast but runs into all kinds of problems when she tries to make them.
  11. The Girl and the Bicycle by Mark Pett is the story of a little girl who sees a bicycle she wants to buy, but she has to find a way to get the money for it. 
  12. Tuesday by David Weisner is a story of strange happenings in the frog pond on Tuesday. (Check out this awesome animated version of Tuesday by Paul McCartney on YouTube)
  13. Chalk by Bill Thomson is the story of three friends who draw pictures with a piece of chalk and find out that what they draw comes to life!
  14. The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney is the story of a fierce lion who decides to spare the mouse he's caught. Later the mouse returns the favor by helping the lion when he's in trouble. 
  15. The Red Book by Barbara Lehman is the story of two children who both find a red book and the adventures they have because of it. 
  16. Journey by Aaron Becker is the story of a lonely girl who uses a red marker to draw a magical door and goes through it to find all sorts of adventures.
  17. Spot the Cat by Henry Cole is the story of a cat who gets lost and the little boy who owns her.
  18. South by Patrick McDonell is the story of a little bird who takes a nap and wakes to discover that his entire flock has flown away. His friend, the cat, helps him find the flock.
  19. The Hunters of the Great Forest by Dennis Nolan is the story of a band of tiny hunters who leave their village on a quest to bring a special treat back to the village, and their adventures along the way.

I'm always on the lookout for more great books for speech therapy.

If you have a favorite wordless book I haven't mentioned, please, please leave a comment, because I'll want to go check it out! What's your favorite? Goodnight Gorilla and A Boy, a Dog and a Frog are two of mine.

If you love using books for speech therapy...

Storybooks with text are great too. Here are 5 of my favorites plus a post full of sound-loaded books for articulation. To find more books, click the storybooks tab on my home page. 

I hope you found some great wordless books for your speech therapy sessions! Until next time...