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Five Family Games for Language Development

Playing games is a great way to encourage practice in developing language skills.  Many games are commercially available, have a language focus, and can be fun for the whole family.  Here are five of my favorite language-based games.

1. Quiddler

Players are encouraged to create words from a series of letters in this card game.  It teaches linguistic flexibility, encourages players to look up words in a dictionary, and expands vocabulary.  Rules can be modified where the group as a whole can help each player individually.

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2. Apples to Apples Junior

This games focuses on vocabulary, word meanings, synonyms, categorization, and reasoning.  Players are given a set of cards, each card identifying a different noun.  An adjective card is placed in the center.  Each player must choose which of her cards best aligns with the center card, then defend her choice.

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3. Guess Who

This two-person game is based on question asking and deductive reasoning.  Each player has a set board of unique faces and is trying to guess which person belongs to his opponent.

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4. Outburst Junior

Fast-paced and interactive, this game focuses on naming items within a given category.  The objective is to name all of the items listed within the category before time runs out.  This is a great game to play as a group.  It can be easily modified by eliminating the timed element.

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5. Scattergories Junior

This is another categorization game, but one where players must record items in a category that begin with a specified letter.  Again, there is a time limit to each round, which may be eliminated if modifications are needed.  The card game version of this game eliminates the need to write words, which may be a successful modification for some children.

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Jennifer M. Adams, MA, CCC-SLP