Spring is a time of change and growth for many things. And this year, GrowSLP is no exception. I am very sad to say that I will be giving up ownership of Grow as of April 1. This is an amicable departure, as I am planning to move with my family out of Canada, too far away to be able to continue running things here.
The exciting news is that I have found two wonderful Speech Pathologists to be the new co-owners of Grow Speech and Language Therapy, and I am beyond happy to introduce them to you all! I am so confident that they will be a wonderful fit for the company and our philosophy, and they are bringing with them a collective 35 years experience in the field. This will really be a wonderful and positive change for Grow and all of the fantastic clients we serve.
Please read on to hear more about each of the new owners!
Carla Monteleone M.Sc., RSLP
Carla Monteleone is one of the co-owners of Grow Speech & Language Therapy. Carla received her Masters of Speech and Language Pathology from the University of Alberta in 2005. Since then, she has worked in a variety of settings with a variety of populations including preschool aged children in public health, school aged children in the North Vancouver School District, and all ages in her private practice. Carla is a member of the College of Speech and Hearing Health Professionals of BC and is certified by Speech and Audiology Canada. Carla is on the Registry of Autism Service Providers (RASP).
An adjunct professor at the School of Speech Sciences and Audiology at UBC, she teaches the Fluency Disorders class. She is also a clinical instructor at UBC and enjoys providing mentorship to future SLPs.
Carla has worked with children facing a range of speech and language disorders including developmental language disorders and social language delays. In addition, she has experience working with children with learning disabilities, executive functioning disorders and selective mutism. Carla has special interests in motor speech disorders including Childhood Apraxia of Speech and fluency disorders. She is Recognized by Apraxia Kids for Advanced Training and Expertise in Childhood Apraxia of Speech. She has a European Clinical Specialization in Fluency Disorders.
Carla has attended multiple workshops in Social Thinking by Michelle Garcia Winner and Executive Functioning Skills by Sarah Ward. She is also trained in the following: PROMPT, the Hanen program, the Lidcombe program, Palin Parent Child Interaction approach and RESTART Demands and Capacities. Carla is continuing to expand her knowledge in the area of oromyfunctional disorders.
Carla is excited to be partnering with her long time friend, Deborah Carter, and to continue working with the STEPS multidisciplinary team. She takes a family centered approach to providing therapy that is individualized, fun, and relaxed. She is looking forward to meeting all the current Grow families and welcoming new ones.
Deborah Carter, M.Sc., RSLP
Deborah is one of the co-owners of Grow Speech & Language Therapy. Deborah received her Masters of Speech and Language Pathology from the University of British Columbia in 2004. During the last 18 years, Deborah has worked in community health with preschool-age children in the Fraser Region, with school-age children in the Delta and Burnaby School Districts, and children and youth in her private practice. Deborah is a member of the College of Speech and Hearing Health Professionals of BC and is certified by Speech & Audiology Canada. Deborah is on the Registry of Autism Service Providers (RASP).
Deborah regularly presents professional development workshops to school district staff and has guest lectured on the topic of Fluency Disorders at UBC. She frequently consults with school-based teams and provides mentorship to teachers, educational assistants, and has been a clinical instructor to UBC SLP students.
Deborah has experience working with a diverse population of children with communication needs and disorders to support their communication, inclusion, independence and social-emotional development. Her areas of clinical interest and training include Autism Spectrum Disorder, Social Communication, Executive Functioning, Language-Based Learning Disabilities, Fluency Disorders, Speech Sound Disorders, Phonological Development and Developmental Language Delay. Deborah has attended numerous workshops in Social Thinking by Michelle Garcia Winner and Executive Functioning Skills by Sarah Ward. She is trained in the Hanen Program, The Lidcombe Program, and the assessment and intervention of school-age Fluency Disorders through the Stuttering Foundation of America. Deborah continues to grow her knowledge in the areas of Augmentative Alternative Communication, motor-speech disorders and voice. Deborah has performed as a vocalist in local professional bands for over 20 years. She is fluent in French and Hungarian. Her love of languages, voice, and teaching drew her to the field of Speech and Language Pathology.
Deborah is thrilled to be partnering with her long-time friend and colleague Carla Monteleone in joining Grow & the STEPS-multidisciplinary team. Deborah strongly values collaboration and building positive relationships with families and teams. She brings this approach to her therapy and motivates children through engagement and playfulness. She strives to empower parents and caregivers to learn tools and gain resources to support their child’s communication and well-being. She is looking forward to meeting and bringing her energy to the current and future Grow families!
I look forward to continuing to work with you all until April, and to continuing to support everyone during this time of transition. I wish you all a happy spring!
We are very excited to announce that we've grown again over here at Grow SLP! We've now expanded our team to include our newest therapist, Brooke. Brooke has been joining in on our sessions this week and is demonstrating great connection with the kids and lots of fantastic new energy. We're very excited to have her on board.
Where did you go to school and how long have you been practicing?
I received my undergraduate degree at the University of Victoria and my Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology at the University of British Columbia. While at UBC, I had the opportunity to complete a variety of practicums with both children and adults. I completed my degree in Speech-Language Pathology at the end of August 2021 and have just begun my career as an SLP.
What made you decide to become an SLP?
Learning about child development (especially child language development) during my first degree got me very interested in the field of speech-language pathology. After graduating from my undergraduate degree, I had the opportunity to work with a variety of children and adults with speech and language difficulties. These experiences solidified my desire to return to school and become an SLP!
What is your favorite thing to work on in therapy?
My favourite thing to work on during therapy is anything that can be targeted through play or shared book reading activities!
What is your favorite thing about being an SLP?
My favorite thing about being an SLP is getting to work/play with so many amazing kids and their families. There is never a dull moment when you work with children!
What is an area you’d like to learn more about?
Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC)! am excited to learn more about the different AAC options out there and how to help children and their families find which AAC strategies/systems suit them best. I’m also keen to learn more about literacy and narrative skills – especially how best to support children that have difficulties in these areas.
What do you like to do when you aren’t helping kids improve their communication skills?
If it’s not raining too hard, you will probably find me on my bike! I love exploring the city on my bike (usually ending up at a coffee shop or the ocean) and I also love riding the awesome mountain bike trails found all over the lower mainland!
EXCITING NEWS! We're now offering home visits beginning this Fall! Contact us now to get more information or to be put on the waitlist for in-home services.
We hope you have all had a great summer and were able to squeeze in a bit of travel, even if it was just to a local campground! We've had a busy but excellent summer over at Grow. In July, Amanda, Ashley, and Catherine were able to attend a 4 day webinar with Sarah Ward to brush up on our executive functioning strategies. So many great ideas were shared, and we've already started incorporating many of them into sessions! Ask us for more information about executive functioning if you're curious.
We also have had some changes in the office space. The larger therapy room now features a climbing wall and jungle gym! We already know how much movement can help our brains develop, so we're happy to be incorporating these new features into our therapy planning in fun and creative ways.
Lastly, we've gotten in some great new literacy materials to help support our reluctant readers. Catherine, our resident literacy expert, is especially excited to start unboxing these and putting them to good use!
Looking forward to seeing all of your familiar faces back in the clinic as we ease into Fall!
As always, happy communicating!
Oh dear, it's been awhile since we've written a blog post! I suppose it has been a busy year, since last summer. We have all needed to make some unexpected shifts, such as learning virtually, wearing masks more often, and figuring out how to be social while still keeping our distance. Though not always comfortable, with change comes growth, and that is what we are all about here at GrowSLP!
It has been wonderful to be able to offer alternatives to in-clinic sessions during this time, and we have explored both online and outdoor learning, as well as home-education kits that parents can do with their children to support speech and language at home. We are still offering in-clinic services for now to those who may not benefit as much from telesessions.
There are a few new changes coming down the pike, and I'll list them off here!
First and foremost, our biggest change is that we are now offering feeding support to clients and families dealing with sensory food aversions. We use the S.O.S. method of introducing new foods, and are happy to offer a gentle, non-behavioural approach that will incorporate play, gross motor, as well as feeding time. Feel free to get in touch for more information about this program!
Another change is the introduction of more outdoor therapy activities, now that the weather is warming up again. I mentioned above that we have explored this as an alternative to in-clinic therapy due to Covid-19 risks, and it has actually opened a lot of doors for us! (no pun intended. ;) ) There are so many goals that can be worked on in a park or playground setting, or even on a walk around the neighbourhood. I've got a post waiting in the wings with some great ideas for how to incorporate SLP goals outside, but until that comes out, you can take a look at a similar post I wrote last summer on the topic. If you are curious about outdoor speech therapy or want to give it a try, let us know!
I also wanted to bring your attention to our Twitter and Instagram pages, as we've been more active there than on this blog. So, if you're looking for therapy tips or GrowSLP updates, check there often!
Thank you for reading, and as always, happy communicating!
Ashley, one of our wonderful SLPs here at Grow, has written up some great updates that we'd like to share with you all as you begin to start planning for Fall:
I can’t believe how quickly summer is flying by! We are well into August already, and are very lucky to have had as many lovely summer days to enjoy over the last few weeks (excluding the downpour of rain we got the morning I wrote this post). I know I am taking every opportunity to soak up as much sunshine, and natural beauty of Vancouver as I can (as safely as I can, of course). As a prairie girl, I can’t get enough of all the trails, and mountain views BC has to offer.
With all the exploring, and new adventures I have done over the last few weeks, I have been reflecting a lot on the positive changes happening around me, including those at Grow. I thought it would be a good idea to share with all of you some of the updates to keep you in the loop!
Here’s a few exciting things Grow has done over the last few months:
And last, but not least *drum roll please...*
As always, feel free to contact us with any questions regarding your child’s therapy program or possibly setting up an appointment time with one of our amazing therapists.
Enjoy the sunshine!
Well, we're in the thick of summer now. And, despite the ongoing pandemic and some associated travel restrictions, a lot of families are still finding ways to get out and enjoy the sunny weather. Whether it be hitting up a local pool or park, paddling around a local lake, or heading off on a multi-day camping trip, I'm sure you are all out and having a great time! Since I know many families take some time off of speech therapy services in the summer, I thought it might be nice to compile a list of ideas to support speech and language development while you're out and about enjoying your summer. Initially I was going to give activities for a variety of goal areas, but I had too much to write for one post. So I will split this over a few posts. For now, here are some great activities for my favorite areas of practice:
SOCIAL THINKING, EXECUTIVE FUNCTION, and NARRATIVE SKILLS
Kids help pack! Packing is a great way to practice executive functioning skills like planning ahead and visualizing next steps. (as Sarah Ward calls it, doing a mental mime) Before going on a camping trip, to the beach, or even to the park, ask your child to picture what they'll be doing at the destination. If it helps with the visualization, they can even draw a picture of them on the trip. If they're having trouble, talk them through some of the plans and highlight some of what they might be doing. You can also get in and help them draw the picture if they'll let you. Or even do a sort of "practice run" of acting or miming out the activities.
Have them describe (or even circle in the picture they drew) what objects they'll need to bring with them. For camping, this might be a flashlight, sleeping bag, book,...and don't forget the marshmallows! For the park, it might be something as simple as a water bottle, sun-hat, snack, and blanket to sit on. As a final step, encourage them to find the objects they need and really pack them. Provide whatever level of support helps them be successful. They may need help writing down their list, reminders to check their list, or just to look at the drawing they made.
Build a story, and maybe even act it out!: On my most recent camping trip with family, the kids (aged 8-13) in the site next to ours actually planned out and presented a whole play. They invited most of the people at the campground to join them in the large common area one evening to watch the production! (Their parents were quite astounded when half the campground showed up to watch!) Certainly nothing this ambitious is required, but camping or being outside offers some great opportunities for story building.
For younger kids, just telling a story to them in the tent at bedtime or while resting poolside is a great way to build narrative skill. For something slightly more advanced, you can tell stories together. Take turns adding a component or discuss together how the story should go - this also provides a great opportunity for one of our flexible thinking strategies of combining ideas! It's not always so easy to incorporate someone else's ideas with your own.
You can also do a story retell: have them tell you back a book you've just read or a story you've just told. For a twist, you can ask them to add a new element or change something. For example, instead of a Pout Pout Fish, what if it was a Pout Pout Bird? How would the story be different? It takes a lot of executive functioning skills and flexible thinking to be able to do a twisted re-tell, but they can be a lot of fun!!
Being in nature (and often away from screens!) can really help increase creativity and ideas for story generation. Using found natural objects can be a fun thing to incorporate too. Maybe the pine cones are the characters in a puppet show? Or if you're acting out a story, a stick could be a baseball bat or a broomstick or a wand. Using one object as something else builds creativity as well as flexible thinking skills.
When telling the stories or acting out your play, focus on feelings and inferences. Ask your child what might happen next or what the characters might be feeling. These are less concrete details that often don't find their way into our kids' stories without a bit of prompting. You can ask questions like:
You can also tell your own story. At the end of your trip or day at the park (or pool or beach), look through some of the photos you took. Re-tell some of the things that happened. The pictures can help jog your child's memory, and you can help add structure to their narrative by cueing them to add in all of the relevant components (characters, setting, problem, feelings, attempts to resolve the problem, and final solution.) If you're feeling really creative, you and your child can write the story down and print out some of the photos to go along with it, for a permanent memory of some summer fun.
Whatever activities you choose to do while you're out and about this summer, remember the one important summer golden rule: Keep it fun! Here's my little disclaimer/caveat: If your child has no interest in building a story with found objects or matching pinecones and leaves, don't push it. You can always try to make things fun and exciting (and as little like work as possible!) but just like fishing, sometimes you can hang the bait in but nothing bites. Studies have shown that just getting outside is so beneficial for the development of our children's brains, so sometimes just being in nature with family is enough. After all, summer is a time for you (parents!) to relax and recharge too. So don't be afraid to just let it go sometimes.
I hope you all enjoy your summers and have a great time making new memories! Feel free to leave a comment about what your family does to incorporate speech and language activities into your summer fun.
Wow, it has actually been almost two months since I last posted. My apologies! As everyone knows, it has been a busy time navigating the new "normal" of living and working during a pandemic. It has been quite a learning curve, at first figuring out tele-therapy and now all of the new safety measures as we begin to slowly reopen for in-person sessions. Luckily for me, one of the other SLPs at Grow wrote this blog post that summed up our thoughts on the matter quite nicely! We have been fortunate to be able to use the self-regulation and "flexible thinking" tools we so often teach to our kids as we go through this transition time of learning so many new things! So, without further ado, I'll let Ashley take it away:
As for so many people and businesses during this uncertain time, things have not been running “business as usual” for Grow over the last few months. Amanda, Catherine, and I have been doing our best to adapt, and learn new skills in order to be better prepared to support our clients and families during this era of social distancing. We are so fortunate to be working together as a team (Zoom team-building, anyone?), and consider ourselves blessed to be able to work with all of our amazing clients and their families right now! Therapy has looked different over the last few months (zoom, vooks, boom cards, oh my!), but the underlying goal of connecting with our clients in meaningful, and growth-centred ways has remained the same. No matter the platform, helping our clients reach their potential has always been our top priority.Being apart from our clients only reinforced for us how important human connection is, and that though we weren't able to be together in-person with all of our clients for some time, we found new and creative ways to connect in other means. As we SLPs like to say, it's physical distancing, but we can still maintain social closeness! I wanted to take some time to share what I have learned with you.
Here’s a look at a few of the new activities we discovered during the era of teletherapy (for more online resources, check out Amanda's blog post here):
As we hope you can see, teletherapy (though admittedly daunting and scary at first) has been a new and exciting change for us. It has allowed us to expand the repertoire of activities in our toolbox while continuing to develop our skill-set as child-centered therapists. The shift to teletherapy has been an adventure into flexible and forward thinking, which is something I often teach my clients but have learned I needed a reminder of as well. It hasn’t always been easy, because sometimes technology doesn't work how I want it to, but it has been such a great growth opportunity for me! This experience has showed us at Grow that we are much stronger, and more resilient than we once thought, and that anything is possible when we work together. We hope you at home have been able to see the silver linings during this uncertain time as well.
If your child is seeing one of us for teletherapy, you may be wondering how much longer until we can get together at the clinic for in-person sessions now that restrictions are being lifted across BC. We are thrilled to announce our clinic is reopened, and we are now seeing some patients for in-person appointments again! As per our College’s guidelines, we are still continuing teletherapy for many families if it is working and we feel goals are still being met. But, if teletherapy hasn’t been a viable option or is becoming difficult, we are now able to bring some families into the clinic. However, things may look differently than they did before! We have put some new policies in place to ensure everyone remains as safe as possible. Some of these policies include:
We are so happy to take everything we learned during the time of teletherapy, and continue to apply it in our sessions with our clients. If you have any questions about the resources you read in this post, or would like more information on our Covid-19 health and safety measures, please contact Amanda directly.
And, as always, happy talking!
You don't have to know me well to know that I love to read. And it's hard for me not to bring that into my sessions with kids! I use books for most of my lessons, either as a jumping off point, the main focus, or related activity.
Since one of the best ways to pass the time at home right now is reading, I thought I'd put up a list of some of my favourite books. But I have So. Many. So I'm hoping to do a few lists. Today I'll be listing some of my favorite books to work on social thinking - whether it be problem solving, perspective taking, compromise, identifying emotions, etc. There are some great books that are created specifically for Social Thinking curriculums (like these), but I love using story books in addition to a more curriculum focused book. Really, almost any book can be used for social thinking in some way, but here are some of my favourites (in no particular order except roughly younger to older readers):
Horse Meets Dog by Elliott Kalan and Tim Miller
This is a delightfully hilarious story about a dog and a horse meeting for the first time. Dog things the horse is a huge, oddly shaped dog. Horse thinks the dog is some delusional, tiny baby horse. They can't figure out why the other doesn't like the same things they like. This book is short, full of laughs, and also a great one for discussing perspective taking and compromise!
The Monster Next-door by David Soman
This is a very cutely illustrated book about a boy and a monster who become friends...until one of them plays their music too loud! Then, all bets are off. The boy starts listing off all the things the monster did to slight him (really and imagined) and ends up in a broiling rage. However, after finding himself in the monster's house, he realizes that maybe he was a bit too harsh. This is a great book for looking at perspective taking, friendship, and emotional regulation.
Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees
This is a lovely book about overcoming preconceived notions about what you're capable of! If your child has ever said "I can't..." then this is the book for you. (It's available on Vooks free right now too!) Giraffe thinks he can't dance, so he is humiliated at the annual jungle dance...that is until a helpful friend gives him some support. Sometimes all you need to succeed is to be flexible and think about things in a different way!
Z is for Moose by Kelly Bingham
One of my favourite books for targeting emotions. Poor Moose his having trouble waiting his turn in the alphabet, so he tries to take Duck's turn and gets in trouble. When he finally (finally! waiting is so hard!) gets to M, he finds out that his turn was given to someone else. He hits the red zone immediately and scares the owl and smashes a pie and knocks over a queen! However, he's able to calm down by the end and gets the reward he deserves.
Unicorn and Horse by David Miles
Another one available on Vooks right now. This is a great book about friendship, as well as dealing with feelings of jealousy. Sometimes it's hard to take another's perspective if we think they're too perfect!
Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty
This is a great book for talking about perseverance. This book celebrates failures as a part of the process. Often the kids I work with see their difficulties as failures, so when we read this book, we talk about how we can incorporate all of the parts of who we are into ourselves and keep on trying! You can see astronauts on the ISS reading this book here!
Narwhal and Jelly by Ben Clanton
These books are a hilarious account of two unlikely friends. The stories revolve around a jellyfish and narwhal who are best friends. But just because they're friends doesn't mean they don't have their arguments! This is a great book for looking at themes of friendship, social problem solving, being flexible, perspective taking, and using your imagination. This book is great for reluctant readers.
Ape and Armadillo Take Over the World by James Sturm
Another cute comic book about two unlikely friends, this one delves much more into the conflicts that can arise during a play date. We can see what happens when one player wants to dominate all of the play (and also the world). It makes the other player have some big feelings. But don't worry! The book has a happy ending with ice cream!
Bird and Squirrel by James Burks
Yet another story of two unlikely friends and all of the bumps in their friendship. These books are hilarious and pretty easy reads for reluctant readers. I also find them great for targeting expected/unexpected behaviours (bird is almost always doing something unexpected!), perspective taking, and flexible thinking.
I'm curious to hear some of your favorite books! This is just a sampling of mine, and I love to expand my library regularly, so feel free to comment with some recommendations!
How's everybody doing? The rain has returned a bit here in Vancouver, so getting out and about has been a bit tougher. It's been a great time to break out some board games. I absolutely love games! They're great learning tools (and the kids don't even know they're doing "work!") They're also a good way to bring families together. I've compiled a list of just a few of my favourite games below. They're organized by general age, but I play a lot of these games (even the middle-school ones) with my own kids, so the ages are just a suggestion. And, since this is a speech pathology blog, I decided to add in a few things the kids can learn while playing each game. Feel free to chime in with your own in the comments! And happy playing. :)
[No affiliate links, mostly because I'm a blogging novice!]
Pop Up Pirate
I have yet to meet a Speech Pathologist who does not own this game. And they aren't easy to find anymore!! This game is an instant winner - the anticipation of that pirate flying into the air is just too much! Nevermind the fact that the reason he's flying into the air is because we're stabbing him with swords...what were the game makers thinking!? Well, they must have been onto something, because this one is a hit. It's fast, it's exciting, and it can be used for so many learning opportunities! Sometimes we just use it as a reinforcer (ie: practice your skill and then take a turn), but it can be used for so much more! Here are just a few of many ideas:
Feed The Woozle
This game has it all! Gross food, tongue twisters, silly movement, a monster. Seriously, what's not to like! The turns in this game can be quite complex if you play the full version, but it's often motivating enough that even young kids will get through it. If not, however, it's easily adaptable. Just cut off a few steps in the turn and voila! the kids are still able to play. In this game, you take turns rolling the dice to see how much food you get to feed the Woozle (a little monster guy who waits patiently a few steps away). Then comes the fun part, you get to choose which foods you'll put on the spoon. Will it be the Fried Sock? Soggy Meatball? Bathwater Soda? Place the foods on your spoon and then spin the wheel to see how you'll move to the Woozle. You might have to spin, walk backwards, Hoola dance, or even do the dreaded bunny hop! (I drop them every time on this turn!) Do your movement, feed the Woozle, and then your turn is done. With so many steps in the turn, this game incorporates a grand slam of skills to practice. Here are just a few:
I love this game. It's cute and simple and made of wood. I received this game as a gift over a decade ago, and it's still going strong! In this game, 12 penguins shelter different coloured eggs (2 of each color). On your turn, you roll the dice, which will turn up 2 colors. You can look under 2 penguins to find the eggs that match those colors. With such a simple game, you'd be amazed how well this game captures kids' attention! Here are a few things you can practice with this game:
This is a great little game for all ages! And it's one that kids can actually win without adults "helping." Or maybe I'm just not very good at this game. :) It's a bit like if I Spy and War had a baby. The idea is that each player has a deck of circular cards with an array of pictures on them. You each turn over one card at the same time. Whoever finds the picture that is the same on both cards gets to keep them. It's that simple! But roaringly fun. It also builds some key skills:
I found this game when a fellow SLP friend of mine acquired it (thanks Carla!) and I have been loving it ever since. In this game you roll dice to make different flavours of lemonade to sell to your customers. Each time you make a successful sale, you get some coins to put in a pretend jar. If the jar gets filled, you win. But if you don't deliver the right flavours of lemonade, you lose. I have to say, we have rarely won this game!! Lemonade Shakeup is put out by Peaceable Kingdom, which might be my favourite game company ever. They make cooperative games, which I love. This game works on:
Good ol' fashioned Memory Match!
I love playing memory. I even have memories (hah!) of playing it as a kid and loving it. It's such a simple and great game and you can use almost any cards with it - even make your own! That way you can make sure to include your child's interests. It works on so many great skills too:
This game is another classic. And it's another one that was a favorite of mine as a child. Ask questions to be the first to guess your opponents secret person! There are so many great versions of this game coming out these days (with more women and people of color, thank goodness! The classic version only has 5 women and 0 people of color.) Some of the new versions are even aliens or animals. This game is great for:
Race to the Treasure
Yet another Peaceable Kingdom game. Did I mention how much I love these guys?? Your object is to get to the treasure before the evil ogre does. On your turn, you pick up a tile. If it's a path, you get to add it on the board to make your way to the treasure. If it's an ogre, you add him to his own path. If you get too many ogres before you reach the treasure, you lose! I mainly use this game for reinforcement and fun in sessions, but my kids love it at home too. They're learning:
Caves and Claws
I can't even remember how I acquired this game. It may have been a random Value Village purchase. (So many great games are!) But, however it came into my life, it is one of my favourites. It's another one that involves placing map tiles onto a board. But in this game, you and the other players work together to move around the map and find different treasures. But watch out for the obstacles!! They can really get you into a sticky situation. This is another cooperative game, so it works on that skill, but also many others:
Just like with Pop Up Pirate, I don't think I've ever met an SLP that didn't have Hedbanz. It's pretty much the ultimate language game. Not to mention super fun and silly! Put a card on your forehead where you can't see it. Then ask your opponent questions about the card and make a guess about what it might be. Kids can learn:
Later Elementary/Middle school
This game is so, so fun. When my kids ask to play this game, I never roll my eyes - it's fun for adults too! In this game, you have to move your character through a maze to find 5 treasures. Sounds a bit like caves and claws, I know. But, in this game, the maze MOVES. Each turn, you have to push a tile back into the board, moving a whole row one tile over. So, you can be quite aggressive with blocking your opponent! With this game, you can practice:
Apples to Apples
If Hedbanz is the king of all language skill games, Apples to Apples is the queen. This game is a rockstar of language skills. I play it a bit differently than the regular instructions, mainly because I'm often just playing with 2 people (so there's no impartial judge). But, the way I play it also incorporates some more language skills. In this game, you are dealt 5 red noun cards. A green "adjective" card is turned over, and you are to pick the noun from your hand that best fits the adjective. Instead of passing your cards in face down to be judged, I play that you put your card in face up and you must describe why your noun fits with that adjective. Then the best description wins! Sometimes, you need to get really creative, which is why I love playing this way. For example, "A mitten is sticky....when it's covered in candy" or "A lion is peaceful...if it's sleeping." Playing this way, you can work on:
5 Second Rule Jr.
This is a game of quick thinking and categorization. You get cards that tell you to think of 3 things in a certain category (ie: what are 3 green foods). Then you only have 5 seconds to think of an answer! This game can go really fast, so it's good to squeeze into short times. It's also pretty portable (because you can even play it without the actual game if you think of your own categories!) Skills it can be used for:
This is a fantastic family game for older kids. It's colourful, fun, and reeeeally stressful if you play it by the rules!! With younger kids, I often adapt it to be more fun (you can even just use the coloured tiles to make cool mosaic shapes), but with older kids, it's fine to play it in its true form. This game has less of a language component, unless you incorporate one. It mainly targets:
CodeNames and Codenames Pictures
This is my new favorite board game. Fun for adults, but older kids can play too! (My 7 year old even plays a rule-loosened version of it.) In this game, you are presented with an array of random words (or pictures). Your teammate has to say one word to get you to guess as many of your team's "target words" as you can. But beware! If you say one of the other teams target words, they get the point! You won't understand unless you play, so go play it already! This game uses the following skills:
I hope you get a chance to try one of these board games while holed up at home these days! Remember to try to support your local businesses while they've probably had to close their physical storefronts. If you can order your games locally, that's the best option!
Fun while social distancing? What!? Now that we're passing a week of this, you might be asking if that's even possible. I'm here to tell you that it IS! Below, in no particular order, I will share with you some of my favourite home-bound activities to try while we all try to keep our sanity. You don't need fancy schedules done up - this is home-funning not homeschooling. But you can still provide rich learning activities for your kids. After all, kids learn best through play! Just remember the 5 M's: Movement, Make, Music, Motivation, Mood:
Good luck to you all. And if you have any other ideas or questions, feel free to comment!
Carla Monteleone & Deborah Carter own and operate Grow Speech and Language Therapy in Vancouver, BC