Like any good therapist, I have a teeny tiny obsession with stationery. Journals with matching pens, sticky notes in every colour of the rainbow and folders that come from complementary spaces on the colour wheel. My monthly trip to Officeworks is more exciting (and expensive) than a child’s trip to the lolly shop. For me, the only thing that compares to a trip to the stationery shop, is a trip to the local toy shop. So imagine my delight when I noticed that Officeworks now sells toys and not just any toys…..they sell ZINGO (by Thinkfun)!
Now, if you haven’t come across this game before, it’s a variation of bingo, where each player has a board with pictures/numbers/letters (depending on the version you buy) and you take turns to work the slider which releases the tokens to match onto your bingo board.
This game is a favourite in my clinic. No lie, some kids will happily play this game for the whole half hour.
So how do I use Zingo and how can you use this game at home to not only have fun but learn while you play?
Sound/word awareness skills form the foundations of reading and spelling skills. There are so many ways to practise these skills with Zingo. Here are just a few;
1. Rhyme Time
Before you can put a token on your board, you need to think of a word that rhymes with your picture?Eg house/mouse
2. Same Sound Slide
Can you think of 2 words that start with the same sound as the token you are matching onto the board?Eg star/ step/stop
3. Lucky Last
What is the last sound of the word you are matching on?Eg cup = /p/
These are great activities to help with finding/ vocabulary building;
1. What goes with
Think of 3 things that go with the picture you are matching on.Eg cat…. mouse, milk, fur
2. Guess what I’ve got
Give clues for any picture you slide out but don’t have on your board. Whoever guesses what you are describing can put the picture on their boardEg I have something that you stand on, it can be stinky and I’m ticklish
3. Anything Goes
You can match any picture to your board if you can explain how the two pictures go together Eg I’m putting the shoe on my foot picture because you wear shoes on your feet.
Zingo is a great game for practicing sounds in a repetitive way.
1. Say before you Slide
If you are working on a particular sound with your speech pathologist, every one needs to try the target sound before you can slide out the tokens
2. The phrase phase
If you are at the stage of practicing sounds in sentences or phrases, think of a short sentence each person can say at their turn.Eg if you are focussing on the /k/ sound, each person could say”I can see a …..” Or if you were focussing on /f/ the sentence could be “I found a …”
3. Worksheet Whiz
Often speech pathologists will give you worksheets targeting a specific sound. Each person needs to try 2 words from the worksheet before they get their turn at sliding out the tokens. Of course we need to say the word properly before we get slide!
It might take a bit of setting up to begin with, but once you’ve made the icons, you’ll be able to use them over and over and everyone can get involved.
1. Token Talk
Set up your Pecs/Proloquo/PODD book or other device with icons that match the tokens in the game. Then use the icons to label the tokens you slide out
2. Sentence Set Up
So much is written about moving away from the good old “I want..” sentence stem when it comes to using AAC. Set up a sentence stem for “I see….” or “I have….” and introduce AAC into play.
3. Master of Turns
Help your child to use the “turn” icons on your device/board/book to direct whose turn it is. This could be done simply using “my turn” and “your turn” but as there can be up to 4 players, why not take the opportunity to combine words and personally direct the turns “your turn mum”, “your turn dad” etc.
Kylie Martin is a speech pathologist at Chatter-boxes Speech Pathology Services. For advice or information on speech and language development, play, feeding or social communication visit www.chatter-boxes.com.au