5 Reasons You Need to Keep Open-Ended Games Around
Why do SLPs need to keep open-ended games around, anyway?
Have you ever walked into a therapy session with a great plan, only to have your students refuse to co-operate? Maybe they just put their heads down or their hoods up. Or they put their bodies on the floor and refused to communicate at all.
And some students just complain, “Not that again!” It happens, especially when students have special needs. Then all your planning goes out the door. What to do now? That’s why you need to keep open-ended games around!
Why have open-ended monthly thematic activities?
- Holidays: Open-ended games give you a chance to build communication skills before the day arrives. This can help lead to a calmer family holiday since students understand the event.
- Generalization: The same skills can be learned and generalized over multiple months if you choose your materials correctly. When the students see the new theme, they feel like they are doing something different. But you know that you are consolidating and expanding their skills!
- Everyday Themes: Kids like things that are familiar, especially if they have autism or are dealing with anxiety problems. By using open-ended games with an everyday theme to work on their areas of need, there is a familiar aspect embedded in the work. We can build communication skills using familiar, functional vocabulary, and activities. Working on functional skills is always important!
5 reasons to keep those open-ended games handy.
There are lots of reasons, but here are the 5 that come to mind:
- Review quickly if you have extra time after your planned activity.
- If a group doesn’t jive with a makeup session, incorporate games to help out.
- When your planned activity bombs (yes, that can happen to anyone!) you have an emergency back up plan ready-made.
- Hang them on a bulletin board because they make cute double-duty decorations.
- Students who request a specific game that they see will likely be more invested in that session, and you can make open-ended games work for most goals.
Plus, it is just plain fun!
So, instead of a boring skill review, try an open-ended printable game! Look at all of those colorful, fun printable games on the bulletin board photo. Readers who subscribe to the LLL newsletter have access over the year to these free printables. And more!