If you know me at all, you know that I am a huge fan of games that area quick and easy to make and to play. Lots of my posts under “Therapy Ideas”are about games that take almost no time away from therapy, but are fun enough to keep students motivated. The “5 Minute Games” CD by Sue Sexton and Linda Seth (creators of “5 Minute Kids” and the “G.R.O.W.” series of materials, respectively) is a treasure-trove of more than 80 themed games, each consisting of full color sheets of cards that you print, cut, and play. (Hint: a personal paper trimmer allows you to zip these cards apart in no time). Store the cards in manila envelopes, and print extra sets to create a “lending library” that will add some fun to speech homework. Like the Stick Game and other favorites in previous posts, the rules are simple and the games move at a quick pace, making these “5 Minute Games” ideal for “5 Minute Kids” and similar intensive therapy sessions, but are equally appropriate for traditional therapy settings. With more than 80 games to choose from, it’s easy to find a game for every season, holiday, curricular theme, and speech sound.
The games are easy to play. After performing a therapy skill, each player in turn selects a card. Cards with theme symbols are kept. If a player selects a card with the game theme name, he or she follows the game directions, which might be to select another card, put one or more cards back into the pile, or pass a card to another player. The player with the most cards at the end of the session is the winner.
Of course, you can always change the directions! We have been bombarded with snow in the Philadelphia area this winter, so much so that adults and kids alike have had enough. Returning to school after our 5th snow day of the year, we played the “Let it Snow” game. According to the directions, the player drawing the “Let it Snow” card gets another turn. Since “snow” has become a dirty word around here, we decided that anyone who draws “Let it Snow” loses all of his cards and has to start over. When that unlucky student read “Let it snow” on his card, everyone else yelled “NOOOO!!!!” The students loved this twist to the game, and it even prompted altering my therapy room door decoration.
These “5 Minute Games” can be adapted in many other ways, such as having language students describe the picture on each card, or having artic students repeat words or phrases to work on target sounds (example: having kindergarteners who are working on /k/ say “soccer” or “kick the ball” when playing the “Soccer” card game). Cards can be drawn from the envelope, but you can add a little more fun by using a theme container, such as a holiday gift bag or bucket, as shown in my photo. Read more about “5 Minute Games” and order the CD and other great materials from the 5 Minute Kids site.