Just as children age and develop their speech and language skills, the board games they play will also continue to progress and increase in complexity. Board games that are appropriate for preschoolers therefore provide additional speech and language targets that were not available in early board games.
In early board games, the most common concepts that are emphasized are basic colors and numbers. However, in age-appropriate games for toddlers, main concepts will be more advanced – focusing on advanced colors, counting, shapes, and vocabulary. Likewise, game sequences will be more complex, requiring additional steps, and increased attention and frustration tolerance. For example, there may be a memory component within the game sequence or several options on which a player could act upon. Read on for my favorite board games for preschoolers and communication targets within each game.
Best board games for preschoolers and potential communication targets within each game:
- Zingo – Zingo is one of the most popular games among my preschool and elementary clients. Zingo provides a multitude of opportunities to target a variety of speech and language skills. As with any game, children can practice peer interactions – turn taking and asking questions (e.g., “Do you need a cat?”). Due to the variety of picture chips, children can work to increase their vocabulary and semantic networks, labeling pictures or answering WH- (what, where, when, who) questions regarding each picture (e.g., “What says woof?” or “Where do you live?”). Children can also work on following two step directions (e.g., “First put on the tree, then put on bird”)
- Candy Land – Candy Land is a great next step when increasing the complexity of a game’s play sequence from early board games. Rather than just moving one space forward, a child has to find the next available corresponding color. The complexity increases if a child draws a double card or a specific land card. Candy Land also requires color identification skills, turn taking abilities and frustration tolerance as a player can move backwards and forwards.
- S’Match – S’Match offers a spin on your traditional memory game. A player spins the game board, identifying one of three categories: shape, number or color. The player then has to find 2 cards that share the chosen characteristic. This game challenges a child’s ability to identify and distinguish between the three attributes (shape, number, color), finding cards that are the same or different. Players will exercise their memory skills as they try to find matches.
- Sandwich Stacking Game – The Sandwich Stacking Game has the ability to be played in a variety of ways, allowing for flexibility in how it is used. Vocabulary can be targeted through identifying the various food items or a child’s sequencing skills (i.e., having the child follow the picture card instructions to build a sandwich). This game is also perfect to target a child’s direction following game (e.g., “First get the piece of bread”, “Before you get the tomato, put on the lettuce). Providing directions verbally will also exercise a child’s auditory memory in a fun way.
NSPT offers speech and language services in Bucktown, Evanston, Highland Park, Lincolnwood, Glenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!