Communication Games 2 – Pop Up Pirate

And now the second instalment of Isla’s favourite communication games! Pop up Pirate is good fun and adds that element of the unexpected that may children love. If you’ve not seen the game before, take a look at this promotional video by the manufacturers, Tomy.

From a speech & language therapist’s point of view, there is an awful lot you can do with Pop Up Pirate and here are my top 5 uses for it:

  1. Looking and attention – This is a good small group activity for reinforcing the value of looking at the person who is talking and paying attention. Put the swords in a box and put it next to the pirate in the middle of the group. The rules are that you can take a sword and put it in when I look at you and wink. AND if you’re doing good looking you might get more than one go. It’s amazing how even the most distractable wee person will focus when you play like this!
  2. Colour and number comprehensionwork on these areas by giving instructions like ‘Take a blue sword’, ‘Take 2 swords’ or ‘Take 3 red swords’. You have a nice simple carrier phrase in ‘Take…sword(s)’ and you can vary the difficulty of instructions really easily by adding extra elements.
  3. Reward - You can either play the game at the end of an activity or use is as an ongoing reward throughout, for example name a picture then have a turn at the game.
  4. Treasure hunt - hide the swords round the room each with one of the pictures you want the child to name. As the child finds each one, ask him/her to name it then they can have a turn at the game. Alternatively, you can collect all the pieces and play the game at the end once all the pictures have been named.
  5. Speech work – Pop up Pirate is really good for some phrase level ‘s’ practise as the game involves swords (your ‘s’ word!) in 4 different colours. The child can ask you for the next sword using a short phrase like ‘a blue sword please’ or a longer one like ‘I’d like a red sword please’.
Using Pop up Pirate to name pictures in the mobile therapy room

I often use Pop up Pirate to make naming pictures more interesting when I’m working on a child’s speech production.