Teach Speech has some exciting news!  We have recently become part of the Teachers Pay Teachers world.  This website is designed for teachers to be able to upload things they have created for FREE and for SALE!  Then, teachers (or homeschooling parents or parents who love to do activities with their kids, etc) can log on and look for pre-made activities and pay the TEACHERS who have created them rather than the CORPORATIONS who put them out!  How neat is that?  We will continue to be creating materials for FREE, but we have also been working on several BIG projects that we will now have a forum to sell on.  We are not quite ready to debut our thematic units (based on favorite children's books), but will start putting up some of our smaller projects - check it out as we hope to have new and exciting things up each day!

Click here to find the link directly to our store!
 
Picture
What's a better way of playing a matching game around Easter than using plastic Easter eggs and an egg carton?  This is an easy Easter match game that can be adapted for whatever needs your child has.  Simply cut out the pictures (below), place one picture in each plastic egg and play a matching game.  Kids love to open things (like eggs) and see what's inside!  This is a great way to work on matching, teach Easter vocabulary, describe the pictures, work on articulation, correct use of voice while talking, work on fluent speech, etc.  If you want your child to work on reading, then simply cut some strips of paper and write the words and place those in the eggs.  The best part is - you probably have all the materials already!

Picture
Click here to print the pdf version!

Other variations:  

If your child is working on listening comprehension, then allow the child to play the game and then lay the cards out and ask for a specific one.

If your kids need more movement, then you could hide the Easter eggs like the Easter bunny does and allow them to find them all first and then start playing the game.

 
I've blogged before about "choose games".  Today's "choose game" is an even simpler version, but is fun none-the-less.  Simply print off pictures of a shamrock (or any other St. Patrick's Day themed image:  pot of gold, leprechaun, rainbow, Ireland, etc).  Place a stick on some of the shamrocks and turn them all over.  Have the child do some work (with whatever goal you are targeting) and then let him/her choose a shamrock.  You choose a shamrock on your turn too.  Whoever has the most shamrocks with stickers on them, wins!  Isn't that easy?  I didn't have any stickers (I was at work when I made the game) and so I drew a star on each one. 

If your child needs a little more movement than simply putting the shamrocks on the table, then you could also tape the shamrocks (sticker side down) on the wall.  Have your child throw a bean bag at the wall.  Whichever shamrock he/she hits (or is close to hitting), let him/her pick that shamrock.  That can make the same game seem very different to a child.

If you have access to ellison cuts (dye-cuts) at a school, then cutting out shamrocks using the dye-cut would be a lot faster!  I laminated mine to help with durability.
 
When your kids are young, it's easy to stay involved in everything they are doing because you are usually bringing them and picking them up.  Therefore you can ask the daycare worker/babysitter how things are going, the speech therapist what they are working on, the play group supervisor about his/her behavior, etc.  However, sometimes it's hard to stay involved the more independent they become.  However, here are some great ways to stay involved in every stage of your child's development if they see a speech-language pathologist.

Early Intervention (0-3 years):  Typically early intervention therapy is conducted in the home.  This is the perfect way to stay involved because you are there!  However, don't stand back and think that only the therapist can do the work.  Make sure to observe the therapist.  Specifically watch how she interacts with your child, what he/she is saying, and what toys he/she uses.  You can (and should) replicate those same activities throughout the week.  If you observe the therapist and think that he/she is simply "playing", then ask the therapist what goals he/she is working on and specifically how to approach that work at home.  Chances are there is a method to his/her madness!  If your therapist brings in toys and you don't have the same ones at home, then ask your therapist what might be a good toy you have at home to replicate the same activity.  Then ask your therapist to show you using your toy.  Trust me, speech therapists like it when parents offer to work on the same things throughout the week!

Therapy Clinic:  If your child attends a therapy clinic and there is an observation room, please take the opportunity!  It is a great way to observe your child's therapy without being a distraction to the child.  However, you will see exactly how your clinician is working with your child and what to do at home.  If your child attends a clinic that does not have an observation window, then ask the therapist if you can observe in the room when she is beginning a new goal.  This way you will know how to work with your child.  If the therapist thinks you might be a distraction, then you can ask if you can come observe one activity where she can be teaching you what to do.  If you don't feel comfortable asking if you can observe, then simply ask the therapist if he/she can end 5-10 minutes early that day so that he/she can give you some pointers of how to work at home and you have time to ask questions.  Please don't try to cram it all in (especially if you have lots of questions) after an entire therapy session is done because he/she has a full schedule and will start to run late.  You can also ask for homework or photocopies of worksheets to work at home!

Walk-in Therapy in the schools:  If your child is over age 3 and qualifies for speech therapy, but not for early pre-school, then you may be the rare case of a child who "walks in" for speech therapy.  Your situation is much like the therapy clinic.  Read above for more information.

School-based SLP:  Interactions with your speech therapist really start to dwindle as your child reaches school-age and he/she is seeing his/her speech therapist during the school day.  However, take heart!  There are great ways to stay connected.  You can send in a note explaining that you like to know what your child is working on in speech therapy so that you can work on it at home.  Again, most SLPs will be OVERJOYED to hear that!  You could always call your speech therapist and leave him/her a message.  You could also try to get his/her email (for me, when I was working in the schools, that was a quicker form of communication) to ask questions.  If you really enjoy face-to-face contact then utilize the parent-teacher conference days that your school sets aside and set up a conference with your SLP!  I have worked in 4 public schools (remember, I'm an Army wife and I move around a lot) and I have NEVER had a parent-teacher conference with a parent.  However, I would have LOVED to have held one or ten or fifty!  I loved to try to keep my parents connected.  I typically saw the parents once a year at the IEP meetings and that's simply not enough.

If I missed a category, then PLEASE let me know and I'll add to my blog!
 
Picture
I haven't posted a game on folder game Friday in a long time!  Here is one that is a week late, but football can be a fun game year round (even if the season is over for this year).

This is an easy game to print off, personalize, and use again and again.  The game is easy (but fun) and will get your child/client working hard. One of the greatest features is that it is BLANK and so you can fill in whatever you want to on the white blocks: articulation words, questions to answer, sentences with a grammatical error, etc.  Does your child/client need to simply work on playing a game (taking turns, waiting, doing work before taking a turn, learning to lose, learning to win graciously, etc)??  Well, then put something fun in each block and simply use the mechanics of the game as your work for the session.  Is your child/client working on correcting a voice disorder?  Have him/her read sentences that you write in the blocks in order to work on proper voicing while reading.  This can also be used the same way for kids who stutter.

You can do this one of two ways.  You can print multiple copies and make multiple game boards.  Or you could print one copy, laminate it, and then use a dry erase marker to use again and again.

The PDF version is FREE and contains the instructions on how to play the game.  Just print and play!  This also makes a great game to print off, fill out, and send home for homework!

click here to print the PDF version.

 
Ok... so it's not technically a folder game, but this one is too good not to share.  This comes from another great speech therapy friend, Conni Wambold.  She and I worked together in the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System and she introduced me to the wonderful world of "choose games."  They are simple and easy and the kids LOVE them.  While working with Conni, we did themed therapy.  Therefore, my choose game has a "theme".  However, it can take on the theme of a holiday that's close by, a favorite character or show, etc.

With a choose game, you have a character and pieces you must collect.  For my example, it's a camper/hiker (character), sleeping bag, campfire, boots, tent, and backpack.  Simply print out the pictures onto several different colors of paper (you choose as many or as few as you need).  Then, cut out the characters and mount them on a solid piece of paper (preferably not the color that the hiker is printed on.  I often used black).  Cut out the items the kids will have to collect and mount those on black construction paper (so they can't see through the construction paper).  Laminate all the pieces for durability.  

Directions for the game:  Each child gets to choose one color hiker.  All other pieces are placed face down in a pile.  The kids will do some work (whatever he/she is working on) and then get to choose from the choose pile.  If he/she got an item the hiker needed in his/her color, then the child gets to keep it and the play continues to the other kids or yourself.  If an item is chosen that does NOT match his/her color, then it must be placed back in the pile face down.  The first person to collect all five items the hiker needs wins!

This game can be used with any deficit area since the child works on whatever goals he/she has and then gets to take a turn.  It's great for kids who work on pragmatics to simply practice good social skills while playing the game (notifying someone when it's their turn, waiting for his/her turn, learning to lose, etc).

Click here to print the PDF version.
 
This post is geared more for the speech therapists, but parents - there is a lot for you on that site also (namely the information on normal speech development, communication disorders, and pictures of things you know your child needs to work on at home).  

You know me - I love FREE!  Speech-Language-Therapy is site filled with FREE stuff!  The best part is that it has tons of word lists WITH pictures.  No more searching through google images to create your own flashcards (well, not for the things they have on the site, at least).  They have links to other useful sites, which takes some of the guess-work out of internet searches for you.  The table of contents page is a good place to start.  They have information on typical development, communication disorders, etc.  Now, the "freebies" page is my favorite.  They have a quick phonological screener, therapy facts and tricks, and TONS of pictures for articulation and phonology.  The most useful thing I have found are the minimal pairs for phonology therapy!  Wow!  Minimal pairs that are printable.  All I did was print, cut, and paste onto flashcards!  Woohoo!

Hope you find some good stuff in there.
 
I must credit this game to the one and only Nancy Sinclair!  She is a wonderful dear friend whom I met when I worked under her for my school placement while in graduate school.  I learned so many wonderful things from Nancy and this one was one that I have used A LOT!  Kids seem to love it and it's super easy.

You will need:
  • Flashcards
  • Something to temporarily fix flashcards to a surface (tape, sticky tack, etc)
  • Working flashlight
  • darkened room

Put the flashcards of whatever you are working on with your child around a room (preferrably a room that can get dark).  Make sure your child doesn't see where the cards have been placed to make it even more fun.  Turn out the lights and give the child the flashlight.  Let him/her find or "tag" the flashcards with his/her flashlight.  Once he/she finds the flashcard, then have him work on that skill.  Once that turn his complete, let the flashlight tag game continue and have him/her find another card!!

This is great because it can be used with so many deficit areas:
  • Articulation:  Put pictures or written words up that contain your child's speech sound.  If your child is working on a sound in conversation, then put up pictures and have your child describe the picture or tell a story using the picture to illicit that sound.
  • Language:  Is your child working on plurals?  Cut out or print out pictures of multiple items (i.e. shoes, cats, dogs, etc) and tell you the plural of the word.  Is your child working on pronouns?  Print out pictures of little girls and boys and have them say: "that is his hat" or "that is her cat" or "she is playing ball".  Is your child working on is/are?  Print out pictures of single items and multiple items.  Your child will have to say: "that is a brown cat" or "they are walking".  Is your child working on answering questions?  Print or cut out pictures with multiple people or things going on in the picture so you can ask: "who is holding the cat" or "where are they" or "what is she eating".  The list could go on and on!
  • Listening:  Once your child finds the picture, ask your child a question about the picture to answer.  Another idea is once your child finds two or three pictures, then line them up and have him/her find a specific picture.  You could also put up three pictures right in a row that are similar, but not the same and tell your child "find the cat with orange polka dots" (you may have a cat with green polka dots, orange squares, and orange polka dots).  Let him/her use his/her flashlight to look at all three and light up the correct answer!
  • Fluency:  Is your child working on smoothing out his/her "bumpy" speech?  You could play this game and when the child finds his/her picture, simply have the child say the name of the object, a short sentence, or a longer description (whatever closely matches what they are working on in speech therapy) smoothly.
  • Pragmatics:  Is your child working greetings or introducing himself/herself?  Print pictures of kids and let him practice greeting that child and introducing himself/herself.  Is your child working on taking turns in a conversation?  Print pictures of favorite topics for the child and then have a short conversation with your child about the picture he/she "tagged".  Make sure he/she is taking turns while talking.  
  • Voice:  Is your child working on reducing hard onsets or talking at an appropriate volume (decibel) or pitch (frequency)?  Make sure those good skills are being practiced when they find pictures and talk about them!  It can be especially hard for a child not to yell in excitement when a picture is found!  :o)

I hope this game is a useful and fun one for you!  It's also a great game to play just before going to bed... when it's already dark!