Need a Quick Game Using Tongue Depressors?

This is one of those games that I have had in my cupboard for so long that I don’t know where I saw the idea. I call it my ‘stick game’, which is VERY unoriginal and sounds more exciting than my ‘tongue depressor‘ game! It’s a fun reinforcer that involves minimal set-up, and is easy for the travelling SLP to pack in her bag.


All you need are tongue depressors (or craft sticks), and colored markers.

  1. Take a set of tongue depressors, draw and color in circles on ONE end of the stick. I prefer to use red and green as my student’s pick up on the meaning of ‘go’ and ‘stop’ easily.
  2. The total number of sticks is up to you. I have a set of 15 fifteen sticks (5x red, 5x green and 5x blank).

The aim of the game is simple: the person with with most sticks wins!

Put all of the sticks in a cup with the colored ends facing down. The first player pulls out a stick and follows the instructions. 

  • GREEN = Keep the stick and GO again! Pull out another stick.
  • RED = Lose all your sticks. Put any green and blank sticks back in the cup. Leave the red stick OFF to the side and out of play (otherwise, the game will never finish!)
  • BLANK = Pass. Keep the stick, but it is the next player’s turn.

Quick game with tongue depressors

 Now you can always jazz up this game with the following:

  1. Increasing or decreasing the number red, green, or blank sticks. You don’t have to have equal numbers. Remember though, more red sticks means that you LOSE more sticks.
  2. Add some extra colors into the mix! A purple stick might mean pull out an extra two sticks or a pink stick might mean give one of your sticks to another player.

In terms of when to play this, it can be in the last two minutes of a therapy session, or I will ask my student to say their target sound five times, AND THEN they can pull out a stick.

Want to see what else I use tongue depressors for? Read my blog post: 10 things to do with a packet of stickers and see how I use them for more quick speech activities.


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