Sit down minimal pairs therapy is not for every kid and my caseload seems to consist of a lot of excitable 4 year old boys who groan at the sight of them! So one day I sat down with all my cluster reduction S-Blend minimal pair cards, opened my cupboard doors and made a list of all the different games we could play.
Even though you might not have these exact games, you may have a variation or it might give you some more ideas with things that you do own. Now, I’ll be honest… sometimes you have to be a little creative in your explanations about what they have to say but this quickly provided the light bulb moment for many of my kids.
How to use Minimal Pairs in games:
All you need is your S-Blend target word/phrase/sentence that will be part of your activity and its minimal pair in the form of a picture or real object. I then choose the level that the child is working on and tell them what they have to say to play the game:
- WORD: ‘spin’
- PHRASE: ‘I want to spin’/’My spin’/’Your spin’/’Can I spin?’
- SENTENCE: ‘Can I please have a spin’/’It’s your turn to spin Rebecca’/’I hope I spin the legs’.
If they reduce the cluster then I act all surprised ‘Pin! Why do you want that for? I thought you wanted to spin? I’m going spin though. Spin. Spin. Spin’…. and then I give them the pin and I’ll spin. Pretty quickly they learn that if they want to have fun and play, they have to say the word.
Stick-tick: Look for games with sticks (Kerplunk, magnets with sticks) or games where you can stick things in (lots of reinforcer games such as Pop up Pirate). I usually have either a picture of a tick or a plastic bug that I call a tick to give if they make an error.
Slice-lice: Great for hands on play. I might use the iPad and play free games such as Fruit Ninja where you have to slice the fruit, or use play-dough and let the child slice things up (or they get a picture of lice).
Scan-can: Think about playing shop and letting the child scan items if they say it correctly or (much more fun than giving them a can), use a phone/iPad to scan things like QR codes.
Spin-pin: This one should be easy as all you need are games that have a spinner so you can target the word ‘spin’. I always have a pin in my office, so this works well using a real object.
Swing-wing: The game Tumblin’ Monkeys or even Barrel of Monkeys is great for ‘swing’ practice. We might also practice physical activities swinging things such as hula hoop (swing the hoop around), ring toss (swing the ring with your arm)…. as I mentioned, the link might be a bit tenuous but it’s more motivating than getting a picture of a wing!
Related Activities: S-Blend Cluster Reduction Bingo Boards & Minimal Pairs.
Have anymore simple therapy ideas for cluster reduction? Comment below to share.