I didn’t think that would work!
Sometimes children are in and out of therapy within a few weeks. However, other times, I can be seeing a child for a long time (years). They (naturally) tend to get a bit bored and I am constantly on the look out for new games and ideas to keep the kids I work with motivated.
However, sometimes I stumble across a really simple idea that unexpectedly really captures the imagination of the child I am working with and motivates them to keep going. Elizabeth and I have collected together some of our unexpected successes here!:-
- I was working with an 8 year old boy on speech sounds. This particular child was very bright and articulate but had been having speech therapy to help with his clarity for a couple of years. No matter what I did to keep him motivated he tended to find the sessions irritating at best! One day I took a soft foam ball and a bucket to his house and got him to throw the ball into the bucket after he had said a certain number of words or sentences correctly. We gradually moved the bucket further away to increase the challenge. He absolutely loved this and raced enthusiastically into his next 4 speech therapy sessions which were spent playing the same game. He especially loved it when he discovered that he was much better at it than I was!
- Elizabeth was working with an older child on phonological awareness. She tried all sorts of games to motivate her but she didn’t want to play any games. One day she took in a white board and pen and the child loved writing the words down on the white board. Obviously this is not something that works for all children, but some love it! I am working with a 12-year old at the moment who is similarly engaged by writing on a white board. We are working on vocabulary and we write the new word and different information about it in different colours.
- Now that I have a car boot full of exciting games, it is easy to forget the range of simple games you can play with just a set of word cards. One that has worked brilliantly for several children is hide and seek. I get the child to close their eyes, then hide 4 or 5 cards around the room for them to find. This is a game I usually play with preschool children, but I have a few infant and even junior aged children who have loved this too. I think it’s partly the fact that they get to have a little wander around the room in the middle of my session! NB Top tips for this game – only let the child collect one card at a time. Also when it is their turn to hide cards for you, try and have a sneaky peek to see where they are putting them as invariably children forget. I still have a couple of speech sound pictures missing somewhere in the library of a school I go into!
- Another game I frequently use with preschool children is bubbles. However, Elizabeth was telling me about a group she ran with 3 Year 6 children (age 10-11). She happened to have her pot of bubbles out and they asked if they could blow some. Taking turns to blow bubbles between turns kept this little group motivated for the whole session!
- I work with one girl who is very enthusiastic about all my games but struggles to focus for very long on any of them, as after 1 or 2 turns, she wants to move on to a new one. One day I took some little pre-inked stampers with different animals on (like these). She spent the whole session just stamping different animals onto paper, and then asked to do this the next time too.
What unexpected successes have you had? Share them below this post to help us all!