I love using matching games for speech therapy while working on language skills with children. Matching games are a classic activity that help improve memory, concentration, problem-solving, and can target MANY language skills. Some of these important language skills include turn-taking, expanding vocabulary, expanding utterances, understanding the concepts of same and different, and following directions.
Tips for Using Matching Games for Speech Therapy
- Always take turns! It’s important for your child to understand the concept of turn-taking. Turn taking is not just important for playing games, but we also take turns in conversations. Have your child request for his turn (“It’s my turn”) and you can even have him remind you when it’s your turn (It’s your turn”).
- Learn new vocabulary. Many matching games have themes, such as colors, animals, or shapes. If your child is working on learning the vocabulary from a specific category, you can purchase a matching game from that category to help your child learn the words quicker.
- Expand sentences. When your child turns over a card, have him tell you what he found. Help model an expanded sentences, such as “I found a ball”.
- Learn the concepts of same and different. Matching games are great for teaching your child these concepts. When he turns over two cards, ask him if the cards are the same or different. Help model the correct answer. If the objects are the same, you can help model for your child “It’s a match”.
- Follow directions. In order to play a matching game, your child must follow the directions! Teach your child how he can turn over only two cards during his turn. If they don’t match, he has to turn them back over. After playing a few times, your child should start to understand these directions.
- Modify game. Start with just a few set of matches (3 or 4 pairs). Once your child has learned the concept of the game, you can increase the difficulty of the game by adding more pairs.
10 Best Matching Games for Speech Therapy
A great matching game with beautifully illustrated Eric Carle Pictures. If your child is a fan of his books, he will love this game.
A wonderful matching game for a Disney fanatic.
Matchimals are fantastic since they are wooden, which means very durable! Sometimes the matching games with cards can get bent or ripped easily. This is a matching game that will last.
Spot It Jr is a little bit of a different kind of matching game. There are different variations, but the easiest way to play is to flip over two cards from the deck in front of the players. There is always one animal that is the same on both cards. Whoever finds that animal first wins the set of card.
An outstanding matching game with great Dr. Seuss pictures.
This matching game is perfect for teaching your little one the basic colors and shapes.
You get an extra treat with this matching game. If you flip over all the cards, your child can put them together to also create a puzzle. A 2-for-1 deal!
The Hasbro Original Memory Game is one of my favorites. It has simple pictures of common toys, food, and animals. It includes 24 matches, so a lot of opportunities to practice new vocabulary.
Another very durable memory game from one of my favorite toy companies, Melissa & Doug. This one is great for travel since your child won’t be able to lose any cards. You slide the picture cards into the wooden frames, and then open the doors to check for matches.
A wonderful matching game for any little boy or girl who loves transportation! If you flip over all the cards, you can also create a puzzle!
Also check out 10 Language Development Toys for Under $10.