Six Board Games that Develop Language Skills

Found this article and thought it to be note-worthy especially for you moms with younger children.

Are you looking for a unique gift this holiday season for the board game lover on your list? Whether it is for a child or an adult, a native English speaker or non-native English speaker, building language skills is important for anybody at any level. How about a game that promotes language skill development or vocabulary building and promises hours of fun and laughter with your friends, family or colleagues!

Like anything else, practicing healthy habits and developing new speech and language skills can escalate self-confidence, improve memory and cognition. If you were told that this process could be accomplished by playing games and having fun, would it sound too good to be true? Well, it is true. Here are a few games that will really bring joy this holiday season and build language and cognitive skills!

- Mad Gab-an excellent game for learning the importance of stress in words.

- Taboo-learn to describe an action, idea, or thing using different words.

- Cranium-develops word finding, spelling, unscrambling, and vocabulary skills.

- Scattergories-a game that requires you to express yourself quickly.

- Balderdash-learn to use creative word expression.

- Scrabble-an all time classic that builds vocabulary and spelling.

Do you fumble when trying to pronounce new words? Mad Gab gives you the opportunity to explore how stress on words changes the meaning completely. Try reading this combination of words until you are stressing the correct syllables and producing a common saying: Twin Tea Twin Tea Heinz Height OR Thirst Aim Awning. Can you figure it out? This game proves that stressing the right syllables is important to figure out words and it shows you how we link words together to form thoughts. The slogan for this game is: It's not what you SAY, It's what you HEAR!

Have you ever fumbled looking for the right words to use? Learning to describe actions and ideas coherently is an important skill. Most ideas can be expressed in multiple ways. We can say the same thing using different words. Since most of us experience moments of forgetting words, Taboo is a great way to practice describing ideas using different words. In this game, you must describe something without using specific words that are listed on your card. For example, try describing sugar without saying the words sweet, white, brown, coffee or candy! The game further develops speaking with clarity. When someone doesn't understand what you say, being able to describe what you want to say in another way is important to help your listener understand.

Improving your vocabulary will reap benefits throughout your life. New vocabulary helps build knowledge while ensuring brain activity for the aging brain. When you can use and speak new words, you'll produce a message that is clear and intentional. By playing with new words, you may also be able to access them more readily and decrease the number of times that you experience word finding problems. Both Scrabble and Cranium help develop vocabulary skills.

Having difficulty thinking quickly? How about a game that promotes quick responses. Sometimes when we want to express ourselves quickly, we need the skill of saying things concisely. Scattergories helps develop quick thinking. In this game, you match categories using words that start with the same letter. The catch? You only have three minutes to come up with the words to fit the categories.

Balderdash is a game of bluffing! Ok, maybe that's not such a good thing in real life but it sure is a lot of fun in a game. You will have to display a lot of confidence to hide your bluff. In this game you provide silly or serious descriptions of events and your team decides if you are telling the truth or bluffing.

If you are someone who likes to play games by yourself, there are plenty of language developing games available to play alone. Crossword puzzles, JUMBLE puzzles and word searches are all excellent games for vocabulary building. You can extend the learning by looking up unfamiliar words in the dictionary and writing them down in a small notebook. Then, try using them in conversation. Review them frequently to assure that they become part of your vocabulary bank.

Working on developing your language skills is fun and entertaining with any of these award winning games for all ages. Whether you are looking for something to do at a party, reunion, or during a vacation, you can't go wrong with these educational games! Don't forget to add them to your holiday list this year!

About the Author:

Lynda Stucky is an expert at working with people who want to speak with clarity, credibility, and influence. President and owner of ClearlySpeaking, her background in speech pathology offers unique skills for consulting business professionals on communication skills including accent modification (regional and foreign), voice care, vocal dynamics, diction, grammar and how to speak concisely. http://www.clearly-speaking.com

1 comment:

Karen Zemek, author of "My Funny Dad, Harry" said...

I am a game lover and have played most of these games. I like Taboo, although it's a challenge. I'm not very good at this one. I like Scattegories I think is a lot of fun, especially if you have a large group and lay in teams rather than individually. I like Scrabble. Password, Upwords, Razzle and Boggle are also also some good word games. Bolderdash was very fun too I thought, perhaps because I was able to bluff well and fool people.

Cranium, however, is not one I would recommend unless you are very, very smart. Several times we've played this with our puppet team and it took over an hour and still no one was even close to winning. I thought it was boring and just don't like that game. To me, games should be fun!

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