By Jaimi Bird, M.A., CCC-SLP
Are you looking for a way to enhance your child’s language skills? Are you and your child burnt out on traditional homework time? I’m going to share some games that you can use to have fun with your kids while working on comprehension and expressive skills!
Visualizing is drawing a mental image in your head of what is being said or read. Children who have difficulty with language or reading comprehension oftentimes lack the ability to “picture it.” These kids do not automatically make a mental image of what they are reading or listening to, so this is a skill we need to practice. For more information on visualizing, check this out.
We know that kids learn best when they are engaged and having fun. If you can practice visualizing in a fun way, kids will begin to visualize more automatically, improving their understanding and comprehension. When you practice skills while playing a game, everyone wins!
So, let’s play!
First, set the stage by having your visualizing structure words out so you and your child can refer to them as you play. These structure words provide a framework to aid in creating your visual image. You can describe a picture using these words as a guide and create a vivid picture in your head. Get a copy of the visualizing structure words here.
Choose a fun game that focuses on using details—two of my favorites are Guess Who and Hedbanz. Both of these games really focus on the details of a picture and are a perfect way to practice visualizing. For example, in Guess Who you have to try and guess the person that your opponent has picked. You have to be specific and use a lot of detail. An answer of “the girl with long hair” might not be specific enough, but if you said, “The girl with long red hair, glasses, and earrings,” you have used a lot more detail and given a much clearer description. Notice the amount of visual difference in detail the game player had to notice about a picture; also, note the verbal expression they used to describe it! This is all increasing their visualizing skill and building language.
In Hedbanz, each player gets to wear a picture on their head that they can’t see. The object of the game is to ask questions to figure out what is on your Hedbanz. In this game, you are really working on creating a mental image (or picture) of your Hedbanz card. The questions you ask help you gain details about your Hedbanz card, and synthesize the answers to your questions to make a clear visualization or “picture in your head.” Practicing asking questions increases your expressive skills as well. This game is a lot of fun- everyone in my family loves it and we always end up laughing when we play.
The most important thing is to have fun! Remember, kids learn best when they are engaged and having fun. Click here to watch my Therapy Talk to get more great games ideas for language building- you may already have some of these at home. Also, check out this post and this post for more fun learning games.
Get the Structure Words – Pictures here. Enjoy!
Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center has locations in the Iowa City, IA area and Des Moines, IA area. We provide individual speech-language therapy and tutoring as well as offering small group academic programs. At Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center our passion is to help kids achieve effective communication skills and gain academic success. Contact us for more information on how we can help your child succeed.
740 Community Drive, Unit A
North Liberty, IA 52317
5530 West Pkwy, Suite 300
Johnston, IA 50131