Did you know that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 1 in 6 children aged 3–17 years (or 15.6%) have ever been diagnosed with a speech disorder? And that’s just children—the number of adults who are coping with speech disorders is even higher.
If your child or someone you know is struggling with a speech impediment, it may seem impossible to find an effective way to help them without going through extensive professional therapy. But the truth is that there are plenty of games you can play at home that will make learning fun and improve their speech skills over time. These games don’t require much preparation—just the ability to sit down and focus on having fun! It’s important to be mindful of the fact that your goal is not only to help them overcome their disorder; it’s also to make sure they feel supported and loved while they’re doing it.
Speech therapy games are a fun and engaging way to help improve your child’s speech and language skills at home. If you’re in the market for some new ideas, we’ve put together a few of our favorites that are great for targeting different age groups and needs.
Older children (ages 4+) may enjoy playing The Balloon Game where they have to pop balloons and say a word as they do so. You can also create a game by cutting out pictures of everyday objects from magazines and putting them on cards. Have your child choose a card, then ask them to describe what is in the picture before they turn it over and look at the back. This can be used to target vocabulary, describing, pronouns and more!
For younger children (ages 2-3) try using play dough or cut up pieces of paper to make letters, numbers or shapes. Then ask them to find something that starts with that letter/number/shape: for example if you made an ‘L’, ask them what animal or food starts with L? Or have them tell you all the things they can think of that start with that letter (lollipops, lettuce etc).
For example, a word search is beneficial for the older kids and adults who are working on their vocabulary. If you make a word search with words that have the same sounds as words that they are having trouble saying, it will help them learn to recognize those words in written form. It will also reinforce the correct way to pronounce those words.
For younger children, you can use a bag of marbles and some construction paper to create a game to help them work on their fine motor skills. Take two pieces of construction paper and cut an outline of your child’s hand with scissors. Then, use glue or tape to connect the two pieces of paper back-to-back so that you have two hands glued together with one side open. Cut out circles from another piece of construction paper for the marbles to fall into. Finally, put five or six marbles in the bag and let your child shake it up before dumping them into the hands! This game helps strengthen their fingers and also encourages them to use their whole hand rather than just their fingers when picking up objects.