For many children with language delays and disabilities, asking questions can be a challenging. It seems natural to ask questions for children that present with typical speech and language development but for those who struggle, what types of activities can help elicit asking questions? This can be a tricky thing because asking questions usually comes out of natural curiosity which can be hard to emulate in specific situations. For example, you are reading a book and say to your child, “Ask me a question”, this can be challenging because if the child is not wondering about anything with the book, it can be difficult to formulate a question. For those children who present with complex communication needs (which is my caseload), I usually will work on this skill during a specific structured conversation with choices (prompting them to “ask me a question about myself”) or during a structured task, like a board game. Below are three different games that can help a child practice asking questions. If your child need a visual support and is an emerging reader, I would recommend a communication board such as one below that I created with Smarty Symbols.
Guess Who is a classic and fun game that can help your child learn to ask questions in order to figure out who the opponent has on their card. This game can be played by asking yes/no questions or open ended questions such as “What color hair does he have?” (this is how I play it sometimes). By playing with another player, the child hears the models of specific questions that they can immediately use in the next turn. For example, if one person asks, “Is your person a girl?”, the next player can ask the same question (if they haven’t already asked that question). I created this resource on Smarty Symbols to help aid those that may need some visual support with asking questions during this task. To download this, click Guess who visual support.
Battleship is a timeless and classic game! There are certain games that will never go away and Battleship is one of them! Although this game doesn’t specifically ask questions, you can modify the game by adding some question words on the child’s turn. In order to find out where the ship is on your opponents board, you need to guess the location. Instead of calling out F6 for example, encourage your child to ask “Is your boat in F6?” This can help give your child some vocabulary and context in creating a question.
Charades for Kids is an excellent game for emerging readers. When the player chooses a card, they act out the specific picture on the card. For the child who is working on asking questions, this can be an ideal time to learn this concept. With the other player acting out a specific animal, object or concept, it would be natural for the child to guess what it is. Modeling the question such as, “Is it a bear?”, “Is it a bat?”, “Is it an animal or something we play with?” “What do we do with this thing?”, etc.
Have any ideas of your own? Please comment!
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