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Friday, April 12, 2013

Why I Make Open Ended Games

You know one of my favorite things to create is open ended games.

I love to think up games that would be fun to play but yet quick enough that it can be completed in one 20-30 minute therapy session.  I dislike starting a game and having to stop before somebody wins.  It leaves me feeling, well, "unfinished" and certainly is a major disappointment for the students playing.  We all want to know who wins. Right?

I love games that take little time to actually play on your turn so you lose very little therapy time.  A player's turn should be less than 30 seconds in my opinion.  You are not wasting precious therapy time in a nonessential task.  The point of using a game is not to play a game but to keep my kids interested  and attending.

I love games that motivate them to participate.  A basic requirement in all the games I create is that the student will complete a speech or language task prior to taking a turn in the game.

I love games that allow you to select your own targets.  Those tasks can be whatever you need them to do: Say their target word 5 times; use the word in a phrase 3 times; create a sentence with their target word or use 2 target words in one sentence, etc.  For language tasks you might require them to label objects or pictures; state functions; make associations;  state antonyms or synonyms; define words, etc.  State regular/irregular plurals or verbs; use them correctly in sentences; subject-verb agreement.  Whatever your target is you can address while using an open ended game!

I love games that can be used with any session/group.   When I was working in the schools, I became frustrated grouping kids for therapy.  You do not have the freedom to schedule groups according to your need.  You must schedule kids according to everyone else's schedules.  Then you end up having to target speech and language goals in one group session.  With open ended games this is not problematic.  Everyone can play the same game but work on their individual goals!

I love the versatility of mixing and matching games and targets.  In the past I would buy games that were wonderful but would only target one skill.  There were lots of R, S and L games, but what about the Sh and CH or F I needed. That is not a problem  now with open ended games ;)  Every child gets to play that game.  (That was the single push that started my path in creating games and software.  I had a child that couldn't play the game the other kids were playing because it didn't meet her needs.)

I love that it takes less storage space!  Who has endless storage? Who even has a dedicated room to call your own?  I love that I can make little games that takes up little space to store and that I only need one of that game.  I love that I can pull basic target stimuli to use with any of the games!

My list goes on and on but I think you get the gist of my reasoning for creating and using open ended games.

If you are not familiar with my open ended games but would like to see some just click this link:

Have FUN in therapy!


  1. Great post! This is exactly why I don't purchase most materials I see on TPT. They are very cute and well-made, but what if the goal is for synonyms with pumpkin clip-art and I have a student working on synonyms in April. I can't afford to purchase or store materials for all sounds/language goals for every season/holiday. I also like to use open-ended games that don't require any reading to accommodate more of my students.

    1. Thanks Emily! You're my kind of gal. You get me!