Parents ask me to recommend speech and language games online all the time! I can’t honestly say that I LOVE for parents to use apps or online games to teach communication skills. Language is best learned in natural contexts, BUT if parents want to work on skills I have already taught in speech therapy as a review, there are a few things I can recommend.
During the COVID quarantine, online games for speech therapy became a hot item! Teaching from my kitchen table, I needed easy to use resources to keep kids engaged for 30 minute sessions. I had used some websites and online games in previous therapy but not many. Parents started asking for speech and language games online to use with their child. I found some that were easy to use and purposeful. I also found others that were not. The goal of the activity needs to be related to their IEP or goals, not to entertain them.
“Please Don’t focus on letters, numbers and colors”
When three year olds start speech and all they know are colors, letters and numbers, it provides a false sense of school readiness. It is great that they memorize well! Sadly these memorized skills don’t carry over into functional communication. Unfortunately when you search for preschool language games, these skills are the first to pop up. Parents, teach these skills in the real world by:
- Finding things in the grocery store that are different colors and model language by saying, “These pickles are green! Pickles taste sour too.”
- Reading signs in town such as McDonalds, Wal-Mart, Taco Bell and say, “I see the Taco Bell sign! I wonder what kind of food we can buy there?”
The best activities focus on vocabulary, words by group (categories), descriptive words and positional words.
Boom Cards for speech therapy
By far the most popular online games for speech and language in the SLP world are Boom Cards. It is as easy a free account. You can set it up HERE. If your child attends speech therapy, ask the therapist if they already use Boom Cards. If that is the case, they can make a student login and share their decks temporarily with your child.
In the event that your child’s therapist does not use Boom Cards or if you want to check it out for yourself, create a free teacher account, making yourself the “teacher”.
There are MANY free decks (0 points) available on Boom. You can search and sort by price (low to high) to find these.
What’s the best way to use online games?
Interacting with the child while they use the game is the best way to form meaningful connections between the game and communication skills. For example, you can use this free game to work on farm animal names. The adult would say the name of the animal to the child. “Which one is the horse?” The child can choose the answer and tap the correct animal. After the correct answer is chosen, the adult can ask, “What does a horse say?” If the child doesn’t know, model the sounds for the child and encourage them to repeat!
Another farm theme favorite book for my speech room is Rosie’s Walk. You can use this free Boom Card deck to work on positional terms (also found in the book!). Working on Fall vocabulary? Try this scarecrow themed positional term Boom Deck.
Every week, I send an email with language rich songs, links to read alouds of my favorite books as well as crafts and virtual field trips. Click on the image below to sign up!
Speech sound games online
If you are a parent and your child is working on a specific speech sound, you can find TONS of individual sound activities in my Boom Learning store. I even have a Feed the Farm Animal set for each sound.
What else is there?
Here are some other games that can be used for early language skills. The “make” or “build a” games can be used for positional terms, vocabulary, sequencing and more. Don’t forget! In order to make a lasting impact, you need to be actively using the game WITH your child.
- ABCYA Make a Cake: If the child chooses a color. MODEL LANGUAGE! Say, “Oh! YOU want blue? I would have picked yellow. What should we add to the cake next? Let’s add some strawberries!” See if the child can pick out a picture or topping from a group. Narrate everything!
- ABCYA Make a Face: Perfect for working on pronouns, part/whole relationships and body parts!
- ABCYA Make a House: Great for working on vocabulary of the house, part/whole relationships and answering WH questions such as, “Where does the window go?”