Home > At Home Activities > Using Board Games to Encourage Speech

Using Board Games to Encourage Speech

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 25 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Board Games Speech Practice Therapy At

Board games are a classic type of family entertainment, and the fun they bring can be an important part of helping those in speech therapy enjoy their time and look forward to their home practice. Encouraging speech through board games is often particularly effective with children given that they are already exploring the world through their play and allowing them to explore their speech through play helps to put it in the same context. Board games can be used to target sounds, for language comprehension, to practice vocabulary and reward good work during speech therapy and practice.

Targeting Sounds

Articulation, or the ability to pronounce certain sounds and words, is often the difficulty which brings many people to speech therapy and a home practice. Board games provide a wonderful opportunity to target specific sounds in a fun way and natural context. Those who play can make a point of focusing on one sound per game, for example the “f” sound each time the phrase “Go Fish!” is shouted during the card game, or simply incorporate each target sound into the conversation of a given game. This can be particularly easy with games such as Snakes and Ladders which require some trouble sounds (“s” and “l”) right in their title and overriding movements on the board.

Language Comprehension

Language comprehension is practiced in a variety of ways while playing board games, and because such games require a verbal component it allows individuals to incorporate speech practice. Those who play board games can:
  • Read the instructions out loud.
  • Ask and answer questions of other players.
  • Read aloud from cards.
  • Count out loud while moving pieces across the board or totaling up a roll of the dice.
  • Practice numeracy skills when playing with dice, money or points.
  • Communicate detailed descriptions rather than relying on vague words (this, that, etc).
  • Focus on subject/object and verb agreements in their spontaneous sentences.
  • Deduce the meaning of new vocabulary from the context of playing the game.

Practicing Vocabulary

Board games require players to use vocabulary specific to the game. For example, players may say “ladder” (Snakes and Ladders), “property” (Monopoly) or “Yahtzee” (Yahtzee) far more often during a board game than would be natural in real life. Board games which use dice, money or points also allow players to practice saying numbers much more frequently than might otherwise enter a general conversation. Finally, board games which require players to create questions or hold information in their memory will stimulate vocabulary practice as players mull over pertinent information (clues from “Cluedo”, descriptions from “Guess Who”, etc). If players are allowed to keep secret notes then writing and spelling skills can be practiced as well.

Rewarding Good Work

Board games can also be useful to encourage speech when they are used to reward good work. Some individuals may decide to use board games as the ultimate prize for a successful at home practice session, while others may decide to practice during a game. In this way taking a turn of the game becomes the reward for each speech practice item completed. If there are not enough people at home to play a favourite board game then finding an electronic version for the computer, video game console, smart phone or on the Internet can also allow players to engage whenever it best suits their schedules.

Using board games to encourage speech is a fun addition to any home practice. Board games can help players target sounds, with language comprehension, practice vocabulary and act as a entertaining reward for all of their hard work.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
As speech increases, games like Articulate are excellent for helping create concise, accurate descriptions in a fun atmosphere. If played within the family there's no sense of extreme competition and if played regularly can have a good impact on speech development. This is one example and there are other games that can work just a well. Be sure to choose one where being the first to say something isn't important.
Eliza - 11-Jun-12 @ 2:01 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Roxy
    Re: Developmental Disabilities and Speech Difficulties
    It all started on day when I was 4 or 5 years,old in the early 1980s. I was to take a nap &I didn't…
    16 March 2020
  • Vanni
    Re: What to With Problems Pronouncing 'Sh' and 'Ch'?
    Im 17 years old and I had speech from the age to 2-15 and the problems I had with the letters CH SH H…
    18 February 2020
  • Roxy
    Re: Dysprosody
    It's been 39 years ago since I had the accident that affect my frontal lobe area & caused me to have DYSPROSODY. Well when I was 4 years back in 1980…
    14 January 2020
  • Big.
    Re: What is Backing Disorder?
    Shar, you are exactly correct. It is all over TV, especially in news departments. Had to listen to Michelle Obama for 8 years talk…
    7 January 2020
  • Shar
    Re: What is Backing Disorder?
    I noticed so many people on television with the S backing and it drives me nuts but my friend says it's a speech impediment and they…
    9 December 2019
  • Kathy
    Re: Auditory Verbal Therapy
    What kind of treatment and needed to help his disorder How to explain why he needs get treatment How it help him in life Katheen…
    15 October 2018
  • Jen
    Re: Expressive Language Disorder
    @seaside123 - have to been to see your doctor because your doctor will help you and refer you to the right counselling for you :(
    31 May 2018
  • SylvieBH
    Re: Child Abuse and Speech Disorders
    @Overcomer - I hope you managed to sort out all your psychological issues too. Well done Miss H. We all need teachers like…
    3 April 2018
  • Overcomer
    Re: Child Abuse and Speech Disorders
    I didn’t know what my father and one of my brothers was doing to me was abuse until I was in 5th grade. I knew it mad me…
    2 April 2018