Does your child or a child you love struggle with language or auditory processing skills? Our language skills are important to express what we feel, what we would like to happen, and to describe situations. They involve understanding the meaning of words, how they are associated with each other and how to put them together to form questions and sentences. We use our auditory processing skills to follow directions and learn new information when it is provided orally. This is critical to learning in all areas of life. There are some fun ways to improve these skills without a child realizing that she is “working”. Below are some fun games and activities that would make great birthday, Christmas, or any time gifts!
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Expressive Language Games
Headbandz: In this game of up to 6 players, you place a picture on your head without looking at it and then ask yes/no questions to the other players to help you guess the picture. Children will learn to organize their questions from large category questions (e.g., Is it alive?, Is it an animal?) to small detail questions (Does it have wheels?). They will also learn to think about words in terms of function and characteristics. Suggested for ages 7 and up.
Guess Who?: This two player game works on similar skills as Headbandz. Players ask questions to determine their opponent’s mystery person. They will learn they are most successful if they start with big category questions (e.g., “Is it a girl?”) and then work toward detail questions (e.g., “Does your person have red hair?”). Suggested for ages 6 and up.
Apples to Apples Jr.: This game helps build vocabulary and associations between words. Players have vocabulary cards in their hands such as monkeys or flip-flops. A card is then presented with an adjective on it such as crunchy or awesome and the players have to decide which card in their hand best matches that adjective. The judge then determines the best match. Players may want to explain to the judge why they picked the word that they did, which is a great way to work on communication skills. Everyone gets a chance to be the judge. Suggested for ages 9 and up.
Buzzword Jr.: Players have to guess words based on clues. All of the answers in each round include the same ‘buzzword.’ For example, the buzzword for the round may be ‘see’ and if one of the clues is teeter-totter, the answer would be see-saw. Suggested for ages 7 and up.
Blurt: This game is great for working on vocabulary. A definition is read and players ‘blurt’ out the answer. It includes instructions to simplify the game for younger players. Suggested ages: 7 and up.
In a Pickle: In this game, players need to understand meanings of words and then compare items by size. They win sets of cards by fitting smaller items into larger items, such as juice can fit into a pickle, which can fit into a supermarket, but a sofa can not fit into a shopping cart. This game is for older kids and is suggested for 10 and up.
Games for Listening
Animal Soundtracks: This is a fun game for children who just need to practice attending and listening to basic information. Players listen to every day sounds on CD and then cover the corresponding picture on their board. Suggested for ages 3 and up.
Twister: Players have to listen to directions that involve a body part, a color and left/right. Targeting left/right is what makes this game so great! And it gets the kids moving. Suggested for ages 5 and up.
Battleship: The goal of battleship is to sink the opponent’s ships. Players need to listen to letter-number combinations to be able to do this. Suggested for ages 7 and up.
Read My List: This game works on many skills: listening, memory, language organization…players listen to a list of words and then gain points by naming 3 more items that would fit in the list and/or naming the category that the words belong to. This is a good game to keep in the car and use when you get stuck waiting somewhere. Suggested for ages 8 and up.
Picture books with accompanying CDs: Picture books that come with CDs for the child to listen to while looking at the pictures and turning the pages at the beep is an awesome way to strengthen listening skills. Honestly, I get them from the library, but if you are looking for a gift, who doesn’t love Curious George?
Audible: We love books on CD in the car and they are also great for strengthening a child’s listening skills. So why not buy your child a membership to Audible? And I guarantee that you will never have to clean this gift up because your child left it out!