Making homework fun using computers and video games
Acquiring speech and language skills takes extensive practice in both the therapy session and at home, too. When juggling schoolwork, meal time, family time, household chores, and down-time, it can often be a challenge to find activities to tempt children into practicing their speech and language homework. Luckily, if you have access to a computer, you have access to therapy materials!
In most therapy sessions, your Speech-Language Pathologist will likely work on a list of goals and then send several of these targets home for you to target with your child. Any turn-based computer game can be turned into therapy practice for drill activities. Hidden object/hide and seek games, puzzle games, and strategy games are usually the best kinds of games for practicing speech and language targets (e.g., practice your target, take your turn on the game). Action and timed games are usually not appropriate for drill therapy practice, unless you modify the rules (e.g., practice 10 speech/language targets and then you get 2 minutes of play on the computer).
There are many games which are commercially available for a computer or handheld gaming device. In terms of free games, lists of popular online game sites can be found by running a simple search on the internet. These sites often have hundreds of free games to play, many of which are appropriate for speech and language practice. If you aren’t sure whether or not a game is appropriate, send the link to your Speech-Language Pathologist, who will be more than happy to check it out for you. As a warning, many of these sites make their money by showing you ads all over the screen – be sure to only click on the games and not the ads; otherwise you may find yourself buying all sorts of products you never wanted!
Choose a game which suits your child’s interests, because if therapy isn’t interesting, it just won’t get done. With some careful planning and consultation with your Speech-Language Pathologist, your kids will be begging you to let them do their homework!

Written By: Jessica Goldberg, Speech-Language Pathologist, The Speech Therapy Centres of Canada Ltd.