An SLP’s Buyer’s Guide To Board Games for Preschool
Board games tend to be designed for older children, but preschool speech therapy games can play an important role in Therapy with toddlers and preschoolers, especially when encouraging turn-taking.
When you are considering which board games to add to your resources cupboard, remember that the more complicated games, and the ones that take a long time to play, may trigger tantrums.
Board games for toddlers tend to be very adaptable. I like to set aside the recommended rules for playing the games and invent my own ways to play.
For example, one of the sturdiest and most loved board games in my Speech Therapy resources collection is the Shopping List Memory Game from Orchard Toys.
Each player has a shopping cart and list. The aim of the game is to be the first player to buy all the items on your list. The game is a fun way of helping younger children develop the turn-taking skills they will need when holding a conversation. But I have also adapted it in these ways:
I use the picture cards to teach food vocabulary by searching for the item pictured in the kitchen at home.
I have the players collect all the items beginning with ‘s’ or whichever sound the child is working on in speech.
With older children, we use the cards to inspire a game of “I went to the market and I bought…” which helps develop their auditory memory.
Preschool Speech Therapy Games Shopping Guide
Use these top tips for choosing board games to use in Speech Therapy with very young children:
Make sure game pieces are large enough that they cannot be swallowed.
Games with fragile components such as cards that can be torn are not suitable.
Rules need to be as simple as possible. Usually, it is enough for a toddler to try to wait their turn without complying with other rules!
Games should be bright and visually stimulating to hold the attention of young children.
If you want to use the game with a group of children of different ages or abilities, consider how adaptable the game is.
Remember your toddler will need to win the game frequently in order to maintain interest! It is useful if the game can be ‘adjusted’ a little by the supervising adults to ensure that everyone gets a turn to win.
Teaching Talking Fans Recommend
When asked for their input on our Facebook page, our Teaching Talking fans came up with these suggestions for their favorite preschool Speech Therapy games for little ones: