Discover the barrier games
Coming from English barrier games, barrier games are essential resources to support children's language skills. They can be used at home as well as at school or in a speech therapy practice. Plus, they make it easy to set up physical distancing during a session!
What is a barrier game?
Barrier games are oral communication games, which can be adapted to writing if necessary. Two people sit opposite each other and each receives the same objects. A barrier is positioned between them so that they cannot see each other's objects. Depending on the objective of the game, one player gives instructions to the other or both players give each other instructions, as in the game of Naval Battle for example. In the case of a player giving instructions to the other to reproduce a scene or a drawing, the goal is, once the barrier is removed, the child and the adult have the same result! For this, the child must listen attentively and / or give clear and precise instructions to the adult.
Skills that can be developed through barrier games
Barrier games are great tools for developing many language skills, but not only! Here are some tips and a selection of skills that can be worked on through these games.
Auditory memory is the child's ability to remember spoken (rather than written) information. To develop listening and memory skills, you need to start with an education that your child can easily follow. If they can follow it easily, you can gradually increase the length of the instructions. It may be helpful for the child to repeat the instructions to support their memory and to check if they are listening.
To develop vocabulary in young children, start with games where they know most of the words and add a few each time. For example, you can use figurines of familiar and unfamiliar animals, fruit and vegetable figurines, etc.
Barrier games are also great for familiarizing preschoolers with a new vocabulary. If your child is going to study at school theocean where the insects, why not do a barrier game on these themes? This will help your child practice understanding and using this specific vocabulary. Ask your child's teacher for a list of words and use Google Pictures to find pictures to use. If your child is more kinesthetic, prefer figurines to pictures so that he can manipulate them (and later, play with them). Once your child has mastered how barrier games work and can follow simple instructions with at least three keywords and form simple sentences, you can start adding some concepts to your games. These can for example include size, shape, position and colors.
A fun game to support the development of a descriptive language is to establish a rule that you cannot say the names of the pictures. Therefore, to "put the dog on the boat" you might have to say "put the brown barking animal on the blue vehicle going into the water". It's a fun way to develop descriptive vocabulary!
Learning or reinforcing specific grammatical concepts or structures, such as the pronouns (him, her, them, etc.) can also be targeted using barrier games.
Work on pronunciation of some sounds is very easy with barrier games! It is enough to choose carefully the material used to focus on the sound. For example, the sound barrier game "ch", which could be on the theme of princes and princesses, with words like castle, forest, knights, path etc.
Barrier games are great for kids who mumble or speak too quickly or quietly. These games offer listeners the opportunity to provide immediate and honest feedback on communication skills and the clarity of the child's speech. For example: “When you speak so fast, I don't quite know what to do. "
The theory of mind is understanding the point of view of others. Developing a theory of mind using barrier games works the same way as developing clear speech. That is, giving your child clear and specific feedback on how you can understand their instructions. Kids with bad theory of mind will often say things like "put this one over there" because they don't realize you can't see what they can see.
Children who are often reluctant to write tasks may be motivated to write through barrier games. One idea may be to take turns writing instructions and carrying them out.
Barrier games can also be effective in small groups and in class. The children sit in a circle. One child sits with his back to the rest of the group and gives instructions. Alternatively, the children can take turns teaching each one. You can do barrier games as a whole class activity using photocopied background boards and instructions that involve drawing, gluing or coloring on the sheets.
How to create a barrier game?
Go take a look at the activity "Barrier games to develop language skills" to easily set up various games!