Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Free Speech Therapy Articulation Cards: Game and Activity Ideas

Speech Therapy Card Activities and Games

Here are some suggestions for fun activities to do and games to play using the free speech therapy articulation card sets (or any other card sets you might be using with young children). They're great for speech therapy, but could also be used for flash cards while studying for a grade school test.
  1. Play a matching game. This requires two copies of a set.
  2. Play go fish card game. This requires two copies of a set.
  3. Play a fishing game. Put a paper clip or a couple of heavy duty staples in each card. Make a fishing pole with a magnet on the end of the line. Turn the cards upside down and have the child "fish" for the cards. Alternately, you could leave the cards face up and ask them to fish out the card you prompt them to find (see levels of prompting).
  4. Play bowling. Put cards in clothespins you can stand on end. Line up 3-5 clothespins in a row and have the child say the words pictured on the cards before attempting to "bowl" them down with a small ball.
  5. Build a train. Make a train engine and caboose and laminate for durability. Line the cards up in between to build a train. Put a small prize on the caboose like a sticker or cheerio. The child receives the prize when they finish saying all the words pictured on the train.
  6. Put cards in a mailbox. Cut a slit in the top of a box or other container to make a "mailbox". Let the children "mail" the cards after completing each card.
  7. Play top-bottom puzzles. Cut each card in a card set in half and have the children match the top of each picture to the bottom saying the words as they complete the mini puzzles.
  8. Play speech uno. This requires four copies of a set. Take foil stars in four colors (red, green, blue, gold) and put a star of each color on the four cards for each word. (You could also use smiley stickers in four colors, or simply color dots with crayons or markers.) Then play a card game uno-style matching either color or word. The child says the word each time a card is played.
  9. Play flashlight hunt. Tape the cards on the wall and turn off the lights. The adult or child shines a flashlight on each card in turn saying the word when the card is illuminated.
  10. Play stepping stones. This is recommended only if your cards have been laminated and you have a large space to work in. Place the cards on the floor making a trail. Space the cards so the child has to take a large step to move from one to the next. The child can only move to the next "stone" once they've said the word on their current card.

Note: Keep in mind, you're making a trade off. The more game-like the activity is, the fewer repetitions the child will produce. Particularly with a child who has motor-planning problems, you want to get in as many repetitions as possible in each session. Strike a balance between fun and productivity and try to keep things moving quickly with the focus on many productions no matter which activity you are using. One way to increase the number of productions during an activity is to require multiple repetitions instead of a single production if the child is capable of doing so accurately. So ask for chains of two, three, four, or even five if you can get them. (ex. "pay, pay, pay)

Does anyone have any other games or activities they play while using articulation cards? I'd love to add more ideas to this list. Please leave suggestions in the comments.


  1. Loved this post! My son, Jake, is 3 1/2 and got diagnosed with apraxia five months ago. I've been looking for different ideas to work with him on at home because he's been bored and not cooperating. I love the flashlight game idea! Can't wait to check out your old posts-

  2. Thanks Tori! Good luck with Jake. You might check out the free articulation cards (see link at top of page). You can print them and use them at home or share them with Jake's therapist.

  3. Hello, I will start doing this as well, my daughter has not been diagnosed, but she has a connective tissue disorder than can cause speech delays and dyspraxia. I am awaiting for intervention and doing some things at home.
    I am not a therapist and i wanted to ask you how do you keep Ava interested in these activities. My daughter won't really have any interest in trying to repeat a word unless it's a play context, she is 3 months younger than Ava.
    I have printed your cards too, which sounds would you typically start off? My daughter has some clear consonants and all vowels. She can say P, D, L, M, N, B and sometimes T
    She truncates words after 1 or 2 syllables so these are basically all at the beginning of a word or in the middle (like BUBBLE).
    thanks a lot, I have ben following here and you are doing a great job!

    1. Sorry I didn't respond earlier Giulia!

      To keep her interested, be sure to keep practice sessions short, but frequent. Try to do something a little different each time. I have lots of different activity suggestions on the site, most of which I have actually used with my daughter.

      I've also used straight up bribery, to be honest. One treat every time we finish a small pile of cards. That's how we started out.

      If your daughter can make those sounds in initial and medial position, one place to start might be with the the card decks that focus on those sounds in final position.

      Good luck!

    2. Hi Dala,
      I posted your wonderful ideas on my website: This is a new site which was launched this week. I am in my 36th year of working with the preschool population (age range throughout my career - 3 months to adult)and currently Supervise 10 Speech Therapists. Your cards and activities can be nice homework activities for the parents. I have used a variety of tangible reinforcers to maintain attention - keeping them random so child does not expect reinforcement after every response, although some children may need to start with more reinforcements as Dala stated - bubbles, magnets, dot paint, child's preferred activity (e.g. cutting, coloring), apps e.g. monkey lunchbox, preschool home....I use a variety of preschool apps which continue to reinforce the sounds. I just modify the activity to tie in their sounds

    3. Thanks for adding my site to your list of resources. I like what you've done with your website. I know getting one set up can be a lot of work. Good luck!

  4. Thank you for some of the best organized materials for apraxia. I appreciate the time it took to develop these. I am an SLP with two clients who will benefit. One is not apraxic but VPI and had surgery. These are just what I needed at this time. cindy

  5. Thank you so much for your resources and your insights as both an SLP and a mom of a child with apraxia. Finding your blog (on Pinterest) made my day!

  6. Cindy and krgoody2 - Thanks so much for taking a moment to comment! I really love hearing from people who are finding my work useful.

  7. I play a similar game to your stepping stones. Each picture should be large and laminated or in a plastic sleeve. Place the pictures face down and then take turns throwing a hacky sack on to the picture. Have the child turn the picture over and name the picture. Have the child do as many reps as needed before the next person takes a turn.

    1. I like it! Do you lay them out in a pattern (3x3 grid, or rainbow or something) and let them aim, or just scatter them about? Hmm... my cards aren't really big enough for this. Perhaps it would work if you put the cards at the bottom of boxes and scattered the boxes about. Then they could aim for the box.

    2. Thank you for sharing. As a teacher of students with multiple disabilities,
      I've found playing card games very helpful for all of my students. Love your creativity.

  8. Hello Dala,

    I love love love your website! As a school-based SLP, I will definitely be visiting your site again. I wanted to share a card game I play with my students. Place 5-10 different articulation cards face up. Have the child/student cover his eyes. Hide a sticker under one card. Tell the child to open his eyes and explain that he cannot touch any of the cards; he has to use his words. (Adapt it to the level of the child; single word, sentence, etc.) When the child labels a card, lift it up and see if the sticker is underneath. Keep playing until the sticker is found!

    Thanks again for your great site!


  9. One easy game that a student came up with is a guessing game. Have however many stimulus cards on the table as you'd like, and take turns staring at one. The person guessing what is being looked at says many words until they guess the right one. The other game I've been doing a lot of is tic tac toe, where each time you make your X or O on a card you either say it a certain amount of times or put it in a sentence. I've been playing it with a 3x3 grid of pictures in a page protector, but just lining up the laminated cards would work as well.


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