Five Fun Games to Initiate

Roll-A-Conversation

Goal:

Conversation with social content

Motivation:

Whatever your child likes to talk about (e.g. cars).

Preparation:

Make two large dice (square boxes wrapped in paper). One die with be the situations dice, each face will be labeled with a different situation related to your child’s area of interest (e.g. Car breaks down, Shopping for a new car, etc.). Label the faces on the other die with names of people your child knows (for example, the volunteers in your program, close family members, also include you and your child).

Introducing the Game:

Simply explain to your child how to play the game. To play the game you take turns in rolling both dice together. The combination of situation and name that you roll forms the topic of conversation. The idea is to talk about how that particular person would act in the given situation to encourage conversations that are focused on personal information rather than factual information. If you roll the same combination for a second time, roll the name die again until you have a different name.

Building the Motivation:

You take your turn first, roll both dice and then describe how you think that person would act in the situation. Make your description fun and animated and detailed, as if painting a picture of the scene. Try to add into your description as many of your child’s other motivations as possible. For example, if you know your child likes slapstick humor, then include people falling over or dropping things, etc., or add in other topics you know s/he tends to be motivated by. Ask you child to take the next turn. Help him/her with the description as much as you feel is necessary and celebrate any ideas s/he delivers. You take another turn.

Requesting:

When s/he has got the general idea of how to play the game and is motivated to do so start to challenge your child more. Give less help, pause and allow your child to come up with ideas spontaneously. If s/he gives you a factual account of what might happen or a general description, not related to the specific named person, celebrate him/her and ask for more specificity on how that specific person would act. Give pointers if necessary (“Remember how Bob likes to talk a lot, what do you think he would do if his car broke down?”)

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