Speech Therapy Games, “S’ Match” by Thinkfun

I use fun commercial games for speech therapy all the time. Some are valuable as a reinforcer after a turn of saying a sound, practicing a language structure or using appropriate social language. It is helpful if they are fast paced and turns are quick to keep the session going. But some games have a bit of language learning embedded in them too. I have blogged about Richard Scarry’s Busytown and Mystery Garden for learning association and categorization.

A new game that just came out, S’ Match, by Thinkfun, can be used as a reinforcer or to learn language categories. You have to know the story behind the invention of this game. When I was at the Toy Fair, I spoke with Thinkfun’s Education and Curriculum Specialist and she said the Staples Easy Button and a salad spinner inspired the pop up spinner kids love that turns the dial to point to one of three attributes: color, number or category. Players turn over two cards and try to match images according to the attributes, making this a more complex memory game.

I first used the game with a little girl working on her /s/ sound. Every time we got a match we said, “S’ Match!” and each time we spun the wheel we said, “Spin the s’match.” When it stopped, we said, “I spun color, or category.” Interestingly enough, when kids didn’t make a match according to the spinner, they still called out the kind of match they got. For instance, if they had to match by category but uncovered two orange cards, they would say, “Smatch for color,” making a verbal note of where to find that match should they need it in the future. To reinforce categories, we would say, “a s’match for vehicles,” naming the category. Each sturdy cardboard card has the image as well at the words to encourage literacy.

Don’t forget to always look for a little language in a game.

Sherry Artemenko, MA-CCC, is a speech-languge pathologist with more than 35 years experience and founder of Playonwords.com. The opinions expressed in this review are solely those of the author. “S’Match” was provided for review by Thinkfun.

This entry was posted in 3-6 year-olds, Elementary School Age, Games, Language, Preschool Class, Strategies to Encourange Language Development. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Speech Therapy Games, “S’ Match” by Thinkfun

  1. Amanda C says:

    Wow, great blog – love the organization, information, and reviews!

  2. sherry says:

    Thanks, Amanda. Glad you enjoy it.

  3. Charlotte says:

    Sherry, this is great! I so enjoyed meeting you at Toy Fair and am always so interested to learn how our games can be used in various settings– incorporating the verbal component into the matching ritual is a fabulous addition to the game play, not only reinforcing the concept of attribute matching, but also a serving as built-in practice of the /s/ sound for the little girl you describe– thanks for sharing!

  4. sherry says:

    Thanks, Charlotte,

    I enjoyed connecting with you too and all the good educational work you are doing for Thinkfun. S’Match was definitely at hit! Keep thinking “language” at Thinkfun:)

  5. Carole White, M.S., CCC-SLP/L says:

    You’ve inspired me! I created my first “facebook” page and your webpage was the first one I listed as a “favorite”. I always email my parents (I work only with preschoolers) when you’ve sent me a new post. Thanks for all the wonderful ideas. And I’m lovin’ the S’Match!

  6. sherry says:

    Thanks, Carole,

    I am glad you like my suggestions. Preschoolers sure tell us what is fun for them, don’t they? Kids love this game because they can’t wait to spin the wheel!

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