The games we play

Got the game? Check!
Got some players? Check!
AAC system ready? Check!
Having fun? Check!
Building communication? Check!
 
Games are a perfect way to get everyone joining in and having fun. When we are playing games together, there is lots happening: interaction, engagement, turn taking, laughter. And on the back of these things, we can build communication. While we are playing games, we can get out our AAC system and model core word vocabulary. In every game, there are chances to use AAC for more than just requesting (eg. “I want…”), as we can also model language for rejecting things, giving information, commenting and for social interaction. But what words can we model? This blog post is designed to give you some starting points for choosing core words in some common games.

Activities

Before we start, it is important to discuss using activity-specific communication boards during game play, versus using your core word system; something which is discussed perfectly in this Do’s and Dont’s post from Jane Farrall. Whilst it may seem tempting to create folders with specific words for the different games you play, this should not be done every time. Because games are so fun and motivating, it can be the best time to model core words, and take the time to explore the fringe folders for those specific words you might need. In the long term, this is how your AAC user will learn how to use their core words and find their fringe words for communication, long after the game has finished.

Generic Core Words

Firstly there are some generic core words that can be used during game playing, with any game!
 
Requesting and Rejecting:
  • want, want that, want more, I want ___
  • can I play? can we play? play again
  • help, need help, I need help
  • not, not that, no more
  • stop, stop now, stop that, stop this, stop there
Getting/Giving Information and Commenting:
  • do, I do, I do it, you do it (instead of my turn/your turn)
  • go, you go, I go (instead of my turn/your turn)
  • what? what next? what that?
  • like, like it, I like it, you like it, not like, don’t like, I don’t like
  • look, look at that
  • give, give to you, give to me
  • play, play now, play this, I play, we play
Social Interaction:
  • good/bad
  • who? who’s go? who next?
  • silly/ funny/ fun/ boring
  • what like? what do you like to play?
  • win/lose (Home > Actions > Feeling Verbs)
  • Home > Chat for more great social words

Game core words

Here are some popular games and some core words and sentences you could try modeling. There are also suggestions for Fringe vocabulary that could also be modeled or added, depending on the language level of your AAC user. These fringe words have an example navigation path to help you find the words, if you are using Proloquo2Go: Crescendo vocabulary, Intermediate user, at a 7x11 grid size.
 
The AssistiveWare Core Word Classroom is filled with great activities and materials, including some Core Word 5 Minute Fillers for games suggested in this post. You will find the links to some of these in the table below.
 
Game Core and fringe words to try

Snakes and Ladders

Snakes and ladders

up/ go up
down/ go down
here/ go here
there/ go there
where?/ where go?
first to finish
 
Extra fringe vocabulary that could be modeled:
Home> Describe > Colours
Home> Home 2 > Numbers
 

Guess Who?

Guess Who

who?/ who have?
have
do
he/she
think/ I think
Is he/she ___?
Does he/she have __?
put down/ put up
get/ get different
 
Extra fringe vocabulary that could be modeled:
Home > Describe > Colours, Looks
Home > People
Home > Things > Clothing
Home > Chat > Yes/No
 

Pop Up Pirate

Pop Up Pirate

put/ put in/ put in blue
get/ get red/ get different
not go (pop)
look/ wait
give/ give me
now/ not now
 
Extra fringe vocabulary that could be modeled:
Home > Describe > Colours

Scrabble

Scrabble

what?/ what thinking?/ what word?
where?/ where put it?
need/ need help/ need a __
get/ get more/ get more letters
look/ look at that
think/ think about it
on/ put on
 
Extra fringe vocabulary that could be modeled:
You could find the words written on board on AAC system
You could model typing word in Typing view

Monopoly

Monopoly

go/ go and get/ go there/ go here/ go now
stop/ stop here/ stop there
more/ have more/ get more/ want more
get/ get house (use for buy)/ get some/ get all
give / give to __/ give me
here
there
out/ get out (of jail)/ get out now
in/ go in (jail)/ get in now
 
Extra fringe vocabulary that could be modeled:
Home > Describe > Colours
Home > Home 2 > Numbers
Home > Places
Home> Things > Things 2 > Money
 

Twister

Twister

here/ go here/ I go here/ you go here
there/ go there/ I go there/ you go there
put/ put it here/ put it there
on/off/ put on/ take off
do that/ not do that/ can’t do that
not there/ not here
change/ change quick
too slow/ fast/ hard
 
Extra fringe vocabulary that could be modeled:
Home > Describe > Colours
Home > Things > Body parts
Home > Home 2 > Where (left/right)

Trouble

Trouble

go/ go there / go home
stop/ not there
where? where go? where stop?
what? what next? what that?
not go/ can't go
all/ all in/ all out
some/ some here/ some out/ some in
different/ got different/ go different
 
Extra fringe vocabulary that could be modeled:
Home > Describe > Colours
Home > Home 2 > Numbers
Home > Actions > specific actions “push”, “jump”

Snap

Snap

put/put on/ put on more
go/ go now/ go quick
what? what next? what that?
give/ give to me
get/ get it/ get some/ get all
how many
not same/ different
 
Extra fringe vocabulary that could be modeled:
Home > Things (for words to match pictures on cards)
Home > Describe > Describe 2 > Opposites > same
Home > Home 2 > Numbers
 

Memory

Memory

get/ get that/ get this
turn/ turn over
look/ look and see
have/ I have/ I have it
get/ I get/ got
not same/ different
look same/ look different
 
Extra fringe vocabulary that could be modeled:
Home > Things (for words to match pictures on cards)
Home > Describe > Describe 2 > Opposites > same
 

Go Fish

Go Fish

have?/ have it?/ have this?
have you got __?
not/ not that
get/ get that/ get all/ get some/ get one/ get more
give/ give me/ give to me/ give to you
look/ I look/ look and see
 
Extra fringe vocabulary that could be modeled:
Home > Things (for words to match pictures on cards)
Home > Describe > Describe 2 > Opposites > same

UNO

Uno

put/ put on/ put there
change
think
get/ get that/ get 2/ get 4/ get all
take/ take off
different / need different
no more/ none/ not have/ don’t have/ I don't have that
say it/ say UNO
 
Extra fringe vocabulary that could be modeled:
Home > Describe > Colors
Home > More (Home 2) > Numbers
Home > Describe > Describe 2 > Opposites > same
 

Jenga

Jenga

put/ put on
take/ take out/ take off
up / go up/ make (build) it up
down / go down/ make it (fall) down
get more/ get some/ get all
not that/ not that one/ don’t do that
too fast/slow/hard/easy
 
Extra fringe vocabulary that could be modeled:
Home > Things > Things 2 > Toys > blocks
Home > Describe > Opposites

Zingo Bingo

Zingo Bingo

have/ have it/ I have it/ I have that
have some/ have all
get it/ got it/ I got it/ I got that
go
look/ look and see
 
Extra fringe vocabulary that could be modeled:
Home > Things (for the various words on the Bingo boards)
Home > Describe > Describe 2 > Opposites > same

Ker Plunk

Ker Plunk

put/ put in
take/ take out
down/ go down
get/ get some/ get all
what? what next?
not that/ not that one/ don’t do that
 
Extra fringe vocabulary that could be modeled:
Home > Describe > Colors
Home > Home 2 > Numbers

Hungry Hippos

Hippos

go/ go now/ go slow/ go quick
get/ get that/ get more/ get all/ get some
more/ more now
all
some
what? what hippo?
 
Extra fringe vocabulary that could be modeled:
Home > Describe > Colors
Home > Home 2 > Numbers
Home > Things > Animals > Animals 2 > Wild  > hippo
Home > Things > Things 2 > Toys > ball

Dominoes

Dominoes

put/ put down/ put here/ put there
take off/ pick up
get/ get more
not same/ different
all done
no more
there/ not there/ not here
not that/ not that one
 
Extra fringe vocabulary that could be modeled:
Home > Home 2 > Numbers

Connect 4

Connect 4

in/ put in/ put in more/ put in one
do
some in/ all in
I do it/ you do it
same/ not same/ different
4 together
4 in line
4 go up
4 go across
 
Extra fringe vocabulary that could be modeled:
Home > Describe > Colors
Home > More (Home 2) > Numbers

Yahtzee

Yahtzee

get/ get that/ get some/ get all
help/ need help/ help me count
more/ want more/ 
different/ not same
count
go/ I go/ you go
look/ look and see
think/ think need/ think what need
what? what one?
not that/ not that one/ don’t do that
 
Extra fringe vocabulary that could be modeled:
Home > Home 2 > Numbers

Mr. Potato Head

Mr. Potato Head

who? who make?
what? what next? what that?
put/ put on/ put in/ put in there/ put on that
he/she is ___
take off
looks good/ looks bad
 
Extra fringe vocabulary that could be modeled:
Home > Describe > Colors
Home > Things > Clothing/ Body Parts
Home > People > People 2 > Jobs
 

Cake Splat/ Pie Face

Cake Splat

 
go/ go now/ go slow/ go quick
bad/ that bad
put/ put on/ put on more
you do it/ I do it
not that/ no more/ not me
get some on/ get all on/ not get it
on my face/nose/ chin
take off
eat/taste it/ not eat it
 
Extra fringe vocabulary that could be modeled:
Home > Home 2 > Numbers
Home > Describe > Describe 2 > Positive/ Negative
Home > Things > Body Parts
 
 
So many ideas, so many words and so many ways that we can build communication for our AAC users! Make the learning fun!
 
What are your favorite games? We would love you to share photos and stories of games you play and especially all the words you use.
 
~ Amanda Hartmann
 
Amanda is a Speech-Language Pathologist with over 19 years experience working in schools and with families and as a technology consultant. All this has led to a passion for working with children and young adults with disabilities and learning difficulties. She gives lectures on Augmentative and Alternative Communication at the University of Queensland and loves sharing what she knows about AAC and literacy!

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