Do you notice your elementary learner frequently struggling with finding the words to express themselves? Maybe they ramble on and on, stop and start sentences, or use non-specific speech to try to describe something. If this sounds familiar to you, you may be interested in incorporating activities to help students strengthen word-finding skills. Finding effective interventions for children with word-finding difficulties can be highly beneficial for improving overall language and communication skills so jump right into our amazing compilation of activities!
1. Cooking with Kids
There are many valuable lessons that children can learn by cooking. They will practice learning ingredients, nutritional value, and measurements, build vocabulary and follow a set of directions. Children will learn categorization skills and language skills by writing a shopping list and following a recipe.
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2. Word Memory
The goal of this activity is for children to practice word memory skills. They will focus on the picture and words to match them in their mind. You can print out pictures from print sources such as magazines or newspapers. This will help students familiarize themselves with and recognize words written in different formats.
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3. Write a Story from an Image
Written expression practice can also help with word retrieval difficulties. Elementary students can strengthen these skills by looking at an image and creating their own story about the image. You can ask them questions about the image to help spark their thoughts and creativity.
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Zingo is similar to Bingo. Children will have a set of challenge cards. Their job is to match pictures and words to their challenge card. This is a very fun game that will strengthen word retrieval skills and verbal expression.
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5. Word Cloud Collage
Making word cloud collages at the elementary age is a fun activity that will help students build upon their linguistic skills. Students will be tasked with thinking of words that represent them and their interests. This activity may also boost self-esteem by having students reflect on things important to them.
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6. Guess the Secret Word
This is an activity that focuses on practicing word association skills. You will prepare a secret word and share clues that are associated with the secret word. Children will guess the word. You can increase the rigor by allowing students to be secret keepers and allow classmates to guess.
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7. Scattergories – The Category Card Game
Playing the card game version of Scattergories can be helpful for children who experience word retrieval difficulties. Players will have to think of a word that starts with a specific letter in the category picked for each round. This is a very fun category game for ages 8 and up!
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8. Word Search Puzzles
Word search puzzles are engaging activities that help students develop vocabulary, word memory, spelling, and processing. Word search puzzles are beneficial for students in elementary, middle, and high school. This resource includes free word search puzzles categorized by level of difficulty.
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9. Hide-and-Seek with Words
Word cards will be hidden around your home or school. When a child finds one of the cards, they will need to pronounce the word aloud. You can also include pictures on the cards if needed. This is a really fun game that promotes reading, pronunciation, and word retrieval.
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10. Word Bubbles
Word Bubbles is an interactive online game that requires students to write words that start with the same letter. Students will have to quickly retrieve words from their mental vocabulary within a set amount of time. This is a great exercise for the brain and builds verbal fluency.
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11. Pile On Game
Pile On is a fun sentence-building game for elementary learners. You will start with a simple sentence and continue to expand it. Students will repeat the sentence back to you each time with words added on. This is a very fun exercise that will allow students to challenge themselves.
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Students will start out holding up five fingers. As students share something they have never done, the rest of the class will put a finger down for each activity they have done. Students will share with the class a story about activities they have experienced. This is wonderful storytelling practice!
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13. Conversation Topic Cards
Conversational speech is important to practice with elementary school students. These topic cards can be used as digital products or printed cards. Students will ask each other the interesting questions presented on the cards.
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14. Show and Tell
Show and tell time can be useful for elementary school students of all ages. Show-and-tell activities help with speech development, descriptive language, storytelling, and forming questions. It is also lots of fun for students to share their interests with one another.
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15. Guess the Object
Children will enjoy playing this object guessing game. You will need to cut a hole into a box large enough for a child to fit their hand in. Students will feel the mystery object and describe how it feels. They will guess what the object could be.
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16. Printable Memory Games
Memory games are useful for children with language difficulties. Memory games promote language and vocabulary development, concentration, focus, visual recognition, and strategy skills.
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17. Found It!
This game is perfect for elementary school students. Whether your students struggle with word finding or not, they will have a blast searching for common items in your home or school.
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18. DIY Pictionary
Did you know you can put together your own Pictionary game? Put your artistic abilities to the test and see if your family, friends, or classmates can guess your drawing! This would work well with elementary students working in pairs or small groups.
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Bananagrams would be best played by upper elementary grades. The object of the game is to create as many words with your letters as possible. This is helpful for students who wish to grow their vocabulary, make connections with words, and think outside the box.
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20. Adjective Sketch-It
For this activity, you will need to set a timer and give students a category such as food, animals, people, or places. Then, they will each draw a picture that fits with the category. Students will describe their pictures to their classmates, and they will guess what the drawing is.
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21. Hidden Object Activity Books
Hidden object activity books are great practice for children that struggle with word finding. As students identify the hidden objects, have them tell you what it is and where they found them. Students can also practice comparing objects.
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22. Point and Tell
Point and tell is similar to show and tell, but different! The teacher will point to an object. The child must share their thoughts about the object. They can speak about the object’s appearance, function, and questions they have about it.
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23. Public Speaking Practice
Public speaking practice is a great way for older students to practice word finding. Speaking in front of peers can be intimidating, but when students feel prepared, it can build their confidence and lessen anxiety.
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24. Chain Game
The goal of this game is for students to come up with words that start with the last letter of the previous word. For example, if I say the word “cat,” the next student will think of a word that starts with “t”.
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25. Catch Phrase Jr.
Catch Phrase Jr. is a kid’s version of the electronic game Catch Phrase. Each player will be given a word that they are not allowed to reveal. They will describe the object as quickly as they can for their teammates to guess.
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26. Word Ladders
This word ladder activity is a lot of fun and is easy to prepare. You will start with one simple word and then students will take turns coming up with a new word- only changing one letter of the previous word.
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