I like to catch clips of Jimmy Fallon on the Tonight Show online (I don’t stay up late enough to watch the show when it airs) because he always makes me giggle. I get a kick out of the creativity of the games they play with the guests and actors who come to the show. I have thought over and over to myself that many of the games that they play on late night TV (or during daytime shows too) can be modified for use in speech therapy.
Why would you want to use one of these games with your students? Well, I’m specifically thinking about your hard-to-motivate students or your quieter groups. Interactive games will often bring these kind of students and groups to life. Or you could use them to break the ice with a new group, too. Here are my suggestions:
What’s in My Box? — Jimmy Fallon plays this game on the Tonight Show by using a barrier and a box with random contents. Then he says either what is in the box or he makes it up. The guest has to decide if it’s a lie or not. To play this in speech, collect random objects in a box and have speech students guess what’s inside.
Word Sneak – When Jimmy Fallon plays this game, he gives a random word (normally a noun) to a guest to put into a sentence. Then they take turns with random words. To modify this for speech therapy, use easier words related to the student’s speech goals (verbs, adjectives, etc) and take turns with each group member.
Emotional Interview — Jimmy Fallon starts this game off by having a regular conversation with a guest, but when an emotion on a flashcard is shown to them, they have to start acting out that emotion immediately during their conversation. To make this easier for students who struggle with understanding and expressing emotion, you can use basic emotions or even show them picture of people who are emotional for visual support.
Two Truths and a Lie — On TV this game is played by having guests open an envelope with a fact or a lie about another guest’s life. It’s funny to try to figure out if the guest had a colorful story from their past or not. To use this is speech therapy, you can have students write out two truths and a lie about themselves on a piece of paper and then you can read it aloud, making the other students figure out what is correct and what is not. Great game to break the ice with a new group. Another way to play would be for the speech pathologist to write out basic facts and one lie about a vocabulary word.
5 Second Rule — Ellen Degeneres plays this game on her show and it always makes me laugh. All you have to do is name three types of something in five seconds. An example would be “name three types of cars.” This is like a super fast category game that kids love. For kids that struggle with rapid naming, you can extend time to 10 or 15 seconds.
Say Anything Challenge — This fun word game made it’s way around YouTube a few years ago. Basically you have to say a word (literally any word) and then your partner has to say a word. You go back and forth until someone either repeats a word they already said or they laugh or say a non-word. On YouTube you then tape a part of the person’s face with Scotch tape, but I wouldn’t suggest that in speech. There’s no need to keep score in any way. I think this is a great way to get a quieter group talking.
If you decide to try one of these games, let me know how it goes!