Board games are a great means to targeting language. They are rule-governed and structured, yet adaptable.
Board games are made of up many elements:
1. Following the game’s instructions.
Rules are rules. They are important to follow, yes. But they are also made to be broken. Make up your own rules!
2. Taking turns.
Important to remember: Turn-taking does not always have to involve spoken words. Children with language delays may not understand pronouns. “My” and “your” can be very confusing terms. Remove this requirement and teach what ‘turns’ really mean. They are a physical act before they are a verbal one.
Turn-taking is two-fold:
a. Can the child wait for his/her play partner to take a turn before making a move?
b. Can the child identify when it is his/her own turn?
3. Who wins?
The game’s objective shouldn’t always be to beat your opponent; it should be the learning of language and social skills. Sometimes, everybody wins. Sometimes, nobody wins.
4. LANGUAGE, LANGUAGE, LANGUAGE!!
How do we use board games to elicit language? Sometimes a simple language model will do. Other times, we need to get creative with how we teach children to use language while they’re playing. Check out these great resources for just that! They are simple, organized, and easy-to-use visual supports to help kids see the language that we want them to use.
Click on a game below to see the visual support for it. (BOARD GAMES NOT INCLUDED)