As a speech therapist, I rely a lot on games and other creative ways to provide an interactive and engaging environment for my students. Jenga targets a variety of skills and that’s why it is one of my favorites!
The only problems is that it can be time consuming to constantly set up and, for some students, it’s too difficult to play! That’s why I came up with these three alternative ways of playing Jenga.
1. Jenga Barrier Games
Barrier games are perfect for receptive and expressive language. So, I use the blocks for barrier games. All you have to do is put a file folder between the students. The children can either team up or participate individually.
I give each student ten Jenga pieces (it gets complicated with more pieces). One of the students builds/creates something. After it’s finished, the student has to give the other student instructions, descriptions and answer questions about the creation.
The goal is to have the other student build/create the same thing. It’s pretty much like any other barrier game, but with Jenga blocks!
2. Motivation Tool
Building things with the blocks is very motivating for students. I have had my students answer questions or complete tasks in order to receive one Jenga block. As they continue to receive blocks, they get to build something.
It’s perfect for groups because students are busy building while waiting for their turn. I have also put stickers on the blocks in order to work on describing, comparing and contrasting, categorizing, answering questions, etc.
3. Round Robin
It’s frustrating when the tower falls and you have to spend precious therapy time building it back up. So, I make setting it back up into a game in itself.
I divide the Jenga blocks equally among the students. Then, we play a quick ‘round robin’ game where each child has to complete a language task or say a word before placing one block back on the stack. The goal is to get quick responses or productions.
One example of quick responses would be to have each student name an animal (if working on categories). If they can’t name one in the first few seconds, it’s the next student’s turn. If they are able to name an animal, they get to place a block on the stack. We continue this until one student runs out of blocks and wins!
Finding interactive and new ways to use Jenga blocks gives you more therapy opportunities, while keeping your students engaged and learning.
How have you used Jenga in therapy?
Need additional therapy ideas, materials and activities? Visit Speech Therapy Plans for more information!
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