Summer is a great time to engage in family fun outside, but what about those rainy days or times when we just need a break from the heat? Have a game day! Games are a great way to promote language, math, social skills, and more. Plus, they’re fun for the whole family! Below you will find some of our favorite games that foster diverse skills, along with examples for a variety of skill levels.
Raccoon Rumpus – The object of this game is to dress your raccoon with five outfits. The first person to five wins.
· Vocabulary: color words, articles of clothing
· Language: I need a red shirt; I don’t want blue pants; I’m looking for an outfit for the raccoon that has green pants
· Social Skill: turn taking
Candyland – The first player to reach the Candy Castle wins! This classic game is wonderful for children new to board games because it requires no strategy, and the amount of turns encourages multiple repetitions of a language target.
· Vocabulary: color words, numbers
· Language: double yellow; I want to get to the Candy Castle first; I picked orange so I get to move three spaces
· Social Skill: turn taking
Count Your Chickens! – This game is from Peaceable Kingdom, a company that creates cooperative games that promote teamwork instead of competition. The object of this game is to get all the chicks into their coop before mother hen gets there.
· Vocabulary: farm animals, numbers
· Language: I get to move three spaces; mother hen is only four spaces away; the fox is going to take a chick out of the coop
· Social Skill: teamwork
Hedbanz – You can have fun playing this game as it is written, or break the rules to encourage practice in language and social skills. Two ideas include: 1. Give clues to the player with the picture to have them guess what’s on their head. 2. The player with the picture asks questions to figure out what the picture is.
· Vocabulary: animals, food, man-made objects
· Language for Idea 1: this is very tall; this is something that eats leaves from the tops of trees
· Language for Idea 2: Does this live in a zoo? Does this have spots or stripes?
· Social Skills: giving information, making predictions, asking and answering questions
I Spy – Don’t have any board games at home? That’s OK! I Spy can be adjusted for a variety of language levels as well. It can be played throughout the house or outside.
· Vocabulary: color words, adjectives
· Language: I spy with my little eye something blue
· Social Skill: giving information, making predictions
Consider playing card games that encourage language, social skills, and more, including Go Fish, Uno, Crazy 8’s and Old Maid. Play them as is or make up your own rules!
Abby Meister, MSDE, CED is currently a teacher in the Anabeth and John Weil Early Childhood Center at CID – Central Institute for the Deaf. She has been a teacher of the deaf for over 10 years, primarily working with children ages 2-5. She has presented at professional conferences with content focusing on early intervention and listening and spoken language strategies for children who are deaf or hard of hearing. She received her master’s degree in deaf education through the Program in Audiology and Communication Sciences (PACS) at Washington University.