Maybe it’s the anticipation. Maybe it’s the prizes. Maybe it’s the pure luck of it all! Whatever the draw, bingo is always a favorite.
And it’s not just a classic pastime in church social halls or public libraries where ladies play for high-end handbags; it’s a staple speech therapy game in elementary schools, too!
Because bingo is different every time it’s played, Speech Language Pathologists (SLPs) can use it to address an assortment of goals.
I’ve played so many variations in my career as a Speech Language Pathologist: idiom bingo, “wh-” question bingo, and more. Kids love the excitement of finding the answer on their card. They’ll say any amount of target sounds or articulate any phoneme to earn that chip and cover the square!
Here are some tips from Pediatric Therapeutic Service (PTS) SLPs for using bingo games in speech therapy to make your sessions even more effective and enjoyable.
Make the Most of Bingo’s Endless Adaptability
Bingo’s versatility makes it an easy “go-to” speech therapy activity for kids.
When working with small groups, SLPs can tailor bingo cards to specific goals. One child can work on answering “wh-” questions, another on articulating specific sounds, and another on social language skills. Even as you’re helping students achieve their individual goals, you’re making them feel as if they’re all doing the same task (which is not always an easy feat in group sessions).
With access to a laminator and easy-to-use bingo websites like myfreebingocards.com and bingobaker.com, generating your own bingo cards is simple. Such programs as Boardmaker and SymbolStix lets you easily make bingo cards to reflect classroom vocabulary or concepts. Varying the pictures, words, and information on a board allows users of all abilities to do the same activity.
Resources like these also make bingo an easy way to address maintenance skills and practice outside the therapy room. Every paraprofessional, classroom volunteer, and parent understands bingo—they can feel confident leading the activity. It’s always less of a struggle to get kids to play a speech therapy game than to get them to fill out a speech therapy worksheet!
Bingo Helps SLPs With Three Additional Important Therapy Tasks
Playing bingo with students can also help you:
- Become proficient in organic, natural cueing.
The answer is somewhere on the board! Therapists can easily direct students to look at a certain part of the board to find it. Clinicians can provide a choice of two, or use directional cues to help children find the right response. Use matching or errorless teaching for high rates of success, so every child leaves the session feeling good about their work.
- Make data collection as painless as possible.
In the 20+ years I’ve used bingo as a speech therapy game, I’ve developed easy ways to collect data with it. For example, I give students blue chips for marking spaces with their correct responses and red ones for incorrect responses. Then I have them write down their number of blue and red chips. They think they’re just doing a fun speech therapy activity, but they’re collecting their own data. It’s a helpful strategy when working with groups of five to six elementary school kids at a time!
- Educate students about larger speech and language issues.
You can play bingo to expose students to a wealth of information that expands their knowledge beyond the areas where they’re having problems. Cards can be designed around literacy and phonemic awareness, for instance.
PTS Equips You With Fun Speech Therapy Activities for Kids
At PTS, we’ve taken bingo assembly and prep off of your to-do list by developing an entire line of Bingo Blast games. Bingo Blast complements the Artic Blast curriculum, based around our popular and fun articulation game.
Because our bingo boards address personal information, “wh-” questions, articulation sounds, and common language goals, you’ll find everything you need for success! They’re easy to pull out for make-up sessions, “Fun Friday,” or whenever you’re short on planning time.
Bingo Blast is just one of the easy and flexible speech therapy solutions our SLPs use. And making these resources available to them is only one way we set them up for success in school-based practice.
If you’d like to know more about joining the PTS team, click here for a free downloadable eBook that will help you decide whether working with us as an independent contractor is the right choice for you!