Speech and Language Therapy - South Devon and Online

Playing Vocabulary Games in the Sand

Children love games and two of my favourites need only a stick to draw with, a flip flop to rub out the drawing at the end of each turn and some wet sand. Take turns to draw a squiggle and a line in the sand. The other player has to create a picture from the doodle. While they are doing this, you can describe the marks that they are making and begin to guess. Of course, clues are always helpful and so your child can suggest what sort of thing they are drawing, where it may be found and how big, long or tall it is. When you guess, it becomes your turn. If you play with more than one child, then the first to guess is the next one to doodle. When I first played this with my daughter and her friends, I couldn't believe how long they would play it for and how much enjoyment it provided. Of course, we also built sandcastles and paddled in the sea but sometimes it was nice to sit and talk (a rest for busy parents too).

An alternative to this doodle game was a game to guess the picture first. The person who was drawing in the sand would give a category and then begin to draw. The other players would begin guessing names in that category as soon as the stick made a mark. Excellent practise for vocabulary.
If your child uses symbols to support their communication, a symbol book of category pages can be used so they can make their guesses too. So a page of food items, a page of beach toys, animals, sea creatures... You can ask the other players to choose and draw an item from the choice of symbols on the pages belonging to your child. Symbol pages can be created by using Makaton or Rebus symbols.

Widgit produce Communicate in Print (a computer programme) that can be used to design symbol pages for use in this game. Widgit (www widgit.com) have kindly given permission for their symbols to be shared on home made resources and so I will be posting a page or two soon that can be downloaded.

Games such as those described above illustrate that speech and language therapy tasks can be simple, fun and highly motivating. I can't wait to get to the beach!