Playing Games with Your Child

From Black Bear Academy

Playing games with your child helps to encourage various areas of their development!  This includes, but is not limited to, skills such as attention, inhibition, receptive language, expressive language, sound  production, social language, and social interactions.

 Anticipatory Games

  • Anticipatory games, such as tickle games and peek-a-boo, provide opportunities for younger children to increase their eye contact, joint attention, and the use of overall language!
  • Leave the last word off of common phrases for your child to complete to show them the power of language. 
  • For example, say “ready, set…”  and wait for your child to say “GO!” before pushing them on the swing.   Or, say “1, 2…” and wait for “3!” before tickling your child.
  • Peek-a-boo also targets object permanence (i.e., an understanding that objects still exist when they cannot be seen) and provides an opportunity to target words and phrases such as, ‘boo!’, ‘I see you!’, ‘more please!’, etc.

Board Games

Playing board games is a fun way to target various skills with older children including the possessive pronouns ‘your’ and ‘my’, associated verbs, rule following, social language, inhibition and turn-taking!

  • Use your child’s hand to gesture to or touch the person whose turn it is and model the phrases ‘your turn’ and ‘my turn’.
  • Highlight relevant verbs during play, such as ‘go, move, roll, push, and spin’.
  • Review the rules of the game by drawing pictures before you play.  Refer back to the pictures of each rule as needed throughout the game.
  • Draw a simple visual sequence and use first/then language to explain the steps of how to play each game (e.g., first spin,  then move character).
  • It is okay to let your child occasionally lose to practice emotional control.
  • Forecast to your child that he/she may or may not win (e.g., “Everybody gets a turn to win”, “Maybe I will win today, maybe you will win today”)
  • Model strategies such as taking deep breaths and using language such as “If I don’t win, I will be okay!” or “Maybe next time I will win!”

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