A favorite game in my speech room is Apples to Apples–it’s one of those games that has me scratching my head wondering “why didn’t I think of that?”
It’s a great activity to build linguistic and cognitive skills. Not only does it develop vocabulary, but allows kids to “think outside of the box” and deepen comprehension of conceptual overlap.
Best of all, the game format gets kids talking! By explaining how they make language connections, we are able to glimpse their cognitive processing.
Working with children with social cognitive weaknesses — and usually additional language-based learning deficits — SLPs understand the need to create multiple exposures to the same concept. And we also “get” that language is learned best in natural exchanges, and games of interesting formats such as Apples to Apples is a great way to do it!
Building emotional vocabulary and making connections to social concepts is the focus of my latest game: “Heart to Heart”. I know it’s silly, but I love the name of this game because it captures the sharing of feelings and discussion of social situations that occurs within a safe, game-format. It’s great for any time of the year, but especially the month of romance.
Like Apples to Apples, players are dealt descriptive vocabulary cards. In this case all 24 cards are emotional vocabulary. The pics on the cards are by Smarty Symbols, which are easy for kids to conceptually understand. I chose not to supply definitions (like in the original game); rather discuss the vocabulary before or within the game process. You can have kids work individually or in teams; how many cards each child is given is for the therapist to determine.
Enjoy your sessions with your clients and have a wonderful Valentine’s Day! If you have time, please give me some feedback.