Screen-sharing technology is a telehealth practitioner’s greatest ally. With the ability to show your client your screen, you open up the whole web’s worth of activities and online speech therapy games to utilize in therapy. There’s no doubt that there are hundreds of thousands of online therapy resources, the catch is that there are just so many that it can be difficult to know where to start.
Here’s a list of resources that can be easily turned into online speech therapy games to get you going:
ABCya.com: Marketed as an educational gaming website for preschool through sixth graders, ABCya.com contains a variety of motivating and interactive games. Games are categorized by school subject, topic, and gaming type (e.g., bingo, multiplayer, crosswords). Search “storymaker” to locate a ‘make your own book’ feature or “paint” for a whiteboard type application. Additionally, games called 100 Snowballs, Create a Car, and Make a Pizza are great for token reinforcement.
Education.com: The resources here are absolutely endless; however, if you stick with the free basic subscription, you’ll be limited to three content downloads a month. This is one of those sites where you will undoubtedly get your money's worth if you choose to subscribe to the premium level for $5 a month (when billed annually). Per their description, Education.com's Reading, Writing, and Math resources are aligned to the individual state and Common Core standards. The site contains PDF worksheets that can be added to Theraplatform resources, interactive story books, song videos, and games. You can create folders to save activities by skill or theme. The classical stories available, including The Three Little Pigs and The Tortoise in The Hare, have fantastic picture sequencing games to target story retell, comprehension, and sequencing.
LessonPix.com:If you are familiar with Boardmaker, you’ll get the general idea of LessonPix. It’s an online set of tools to create learning materials, schedules and visual support. There’s a database of picture symbols you search for by keyword (e.g., search “ball” and you’ll see a variety of drawn pictures that could represent “ball”). You can then bank these symbols in your workspace and use them to create PDF materials. Additionally, you can search materials others have already made (e.g. search “daily visual schedule”). A subscription is $36 a year.
PinkCatGames.com: Pink Cat Games has an ever-growing collection of learning games that can be customized with literally any content to target whatever skill you are working on. You can choose from hundreds of prebuilt question lists or make your own. Clients are rewarded with game play for answering the questions you chose. Your clients can also access these games at home, outside of session time. There are both free and paid games available.
PBSKids.org: PBS Kids is another great resource for online games. Some highlights include Cookie Monster’s Foodie Truck which allows the child to make different foods from a recipe. Dress Up Time has the child help get their favorite Sesame Street characters dressed for the day. Both of these games are great for targeting following directions and common vocabulary. Oscar’s Rotten Ride facilitates learning of spatial and qualitative concepts as well as sorting skills. All content on PBSKids.org is free and does not require a subscription.
Boomlearning: Boom Learning is a platform with digital games and activities that users have created for clients to manipulate on screen. You can create your own Boom Card “decks” or choose from free and paid sets that others have made. Each deck is made up of multiple task cards. There is a lot of content, and it can feel overwhelming at first. Start by going to the store tab and searching through the “Top Free” category. Add some of these activities to your library to get an idea of what types of decks are out there. You may find you never need to actually create your own, as there is a good chance another user already made something that targets your desired skill.
Owlie Boo: This is a resource aimed towards toddlers and preschoolers. There are simple educational games and videos to be used for motivational purposes. Games are organized by how they are manipulated (i.e., pushing a key on the keyboard, clicking and dragging, or moving the mouse). Even very young children without computer experience can actually manipulate some of these games themselves with little help from an adult.
Language Playroom: Language Playroom is a free online program containing games and activities designed specifically for targeting speech and language skills. Activities are organized by developmental level and area of communication. The articulation section contains multiple games per sound target including snakes and ladders, generic board games, tic tac toe, and tons more. Target words are listed next to games and you have the ability to hide or show the games at any point as a reward for drill practice. The Social Skills category contains an activity with hypothetical social situations and related questions. For example the activity may state “Someone walking next to you trips and drops papers all over the hallway” and then ask “How would you feel if this happened?”
Google Slides: This is Google’s version of Powerpoint and it exists within your internet browser. Google Slides can function similarly to Boom Learning in that you can create slides with interactive text and pictures. You can also think of Google Slides as a way of bringing traditional flashcards to the screen for telepractice, just by making individual slides with whatever text or pictures you’d like to display.
MrNussbaum.com is an educational resource created by a teacher. Per their site description, “MrNussbaum.com was developed with the idea that crucial concepts, themes, ideas, and fact sets taught in the classroom can be enhanced over the internet through interactivity.” There are many educational games where the client can role play. There is a lot of free content to utilize including games, coloring pages, and reading passages. “Butterfly Garden” is a fun token reinforcer where the child can design their own butterflies, release them in the wild, then catch them in their nets!
Funbrain.com Funbrain offers hundreds of games, books, comics, and videos that develop skills in math, reading, problem-solving and literacy. One of the most unique features of this site is the number of free e-books. There’s also a good mix of “just for fun” games to use as rewards and actual educational content.
HighlightsKids.com: Highlights contains similar online games as some of the previously listed sites; however, they also have a joke section, and podcasts! Additionally, the coolest (most nostalgic) part of the site is that they’ve created a virtual version of their classic “Hidden Pictures” activity. This would be great for working on descriptive language and spatial concepts. Instead of giving the client control of the mouse. You could have them describe to you where the object is hidden (e.g., next to the brush, above the car).
These great online resources and online speech therapy games can be easily utilized on TheraPlatform- EMR and telehealth platform for speech therapists with built in therapy tools and screen sharing function that allows children to play online games.
We’ve covered sites made specifically for targeting therapy skills, sites with fun reinforcers and games, and sites for you to create your own on-screen materials. Did we miss any of your favorites? Let us know! Write your comments below!