Pop The Pig! Game Ideas to Support Language Skills

If your child has visited the BAC, it’s likely that he or she has played with Pop the Pig (or Pop the Pirate!) Both of these toys serve as excellent speech-language resources that are easy to use at home. You can play these games with your child while simultaneously targeting his or her speech and language goals in the following ways:

Language Expansion:

  • Model full-length sentences while playing with your child such as, “The pig is so hungry!”, “We need to feed the pig!”, “The pig needs to chew, chew, chew!”, or “He is so full! His belly is getting so big!”
  • After frequently modeling these sentences, allow your child to fill in your phrase by pausing (e.g. “He is so….”)
  • Encourage your child to specify what color hamburger he or she wants to feed the pig. Consider providing a choice between two different colors. Allow your child to fill in your starter sentence, “I want the…”
  • Encourage your child to combine words such as “feed pig”, “feed pig blue”, “pig eats”, “pig chews”, “put in”, “put in blue”, “clean-up”, “pig pops”, “my turn”, “your turn”, etc.

Play Skills:

  • Emphasize turn-taking with your child by asking “Who’s turn is it?” or “Who should go next?” Encourage your child to use the phrases “my turn” and “your turn.”
  • Encourage functional and pretend play by pretending to eat the hamburgers, pretending that the pig is eating the hamburgers, and feeding various players.
  • Encourage flexible thinking by playing with the die. This may mean your child will lose a turn, not get their first choice of colored hamburger, etc.

WH-Question Comprehension:

  • Ask your child various WH-questions connected to playing the game. Examples include “When do we eat hamburgers?” “Where do we buy hamburgers?” “Why do we need to feed the pig?” “Where should we put the hamburger?” “Why did he pop?” etc.


  • Incorporating games within articulation practice is a great way to make this work more fun. Encourage your child to produce his or her sound between each turn. If your child is working on sounds within words or sentences, encourage repeated practice of these words throughout the game.

Zingo Tip!

Our clinicians love to engage children in play-based activities that not only address their goals, but also allow them to have fun! We added stickers to our Zingo game so that we can practice pronouns (ex. her kite), building sentences (ex. He has a tree), and following directions (ex. give the apple back to the girl) with each turn.

Story Time!

Are oral or written narratives challenging for your kiddo? Is learning a new story map/chart each year with a new teacher difficult?

Our speech-language pathologists often utilize the Story Grammar Marker, a multi-sensory manipulative, to teach narrative development. Children greatly benefit from the multi-sensory use of the tool rather then a visual only support. Another great feature is that the Story Grammar Marker can be use with the child as they progress from prek to high school. It support learning a variety of story structures  and can be used for oral narrative and written language.

For information about the Story Grammar Marker visit: https://mindwingconcepts.com/pages/methodology


Valentine’s Day FUN at the Boston Ability Center

We’ve been busy making Valentines here at the BAC, all while working on our speech and language goals! Here’s how:

Articulation: We said words and sentences containing our targeted speech sounds while decorating the Valentines. One word or sentence for each sticker added!

Following Directions: Our clinicians gave directions while we made Valentines. Some of us followed directions with prepositions (ex. “Put the pink heart on top of the red heart”) while others followed 2-step directions (ex. “First put the heart sticker on, then put on the flower”).

Expressive Language: We described the decorations that we used and talked about where we were putting them on the Valentine . There were lots of opportunities to learn new vocabulary that relates to the upcoming holiday!

Using AAC: For those of us who utilize augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), we had the chance to practice using our topic boards and devices to learn new language. One of our favorite symbols to use was “more!” as we added sparkly stickers to our Valentine.

Social Skills: Many of us worked with peers to create our Valentines.  It was a great opportunity to practice sharing materials, being flexible, and even engaging in conversations while we worked!  We practiced making “smart guesses” about what our Valentine recipients would like to have on their Valentines!

This hands-on activity was engaging and motivating for all of us here at the BAC! The best part…you can easily complete this activity at home with your child as well to continue the fun AND give them another opportunity to work on their speech and language goals! Grab some construction paper, stickers, glitter glue, etc. and get crafting!

Valentine’s Day Playdough

Chocolate Playdough Recipe

– 1 1/2 cups flour
– Tablespoons vegetable oil
– 1/2 cup cocoa powder
– 1 cup salt
– 2 cups water
– 2 Tablespoons cream of tartar

Add all ingredients to a medium-large saucepan and mix well. Over medium-high heat cool, stirring constantly, until it forms a soft ball in the middle of the pan. This takes about 5 minutes. Using your spatula scope out the playdough on wax paper and allow to cool a couple minutes; it will be hot at this point. Knead the playdough a couple times to get the smooth, glossy playdough look and enjoy!

Play ideas

Empty chocolate boxes to put in pretend ‘chocolates’

Make cupcakes/cookies and decorate with sprinkles to add another texture/sensory experience or add a strawberry on top! Another idea is to add candles and have a birthday party!

Make a variety of ‘cookies’ to learn about quantity, sizes and shapes

Pretend to work at a bakery and take a customer’s order. Take turns playing different roles.

Practice thinking of others and make a smart guess about what kind of cookie a friend would like. Big vs. small; heart vs. circle shaped; blue sprinkles vs. pink sprinkles

Make pretend ‘hot cocoa’ with marshmallows!




Why is Inferencing and Predicting Important?

By: Ariel Schuman, MS, CF-SLP

Filiatrault-Veilleux, et al. (2016) studied 3-6 year old children and their ability to comprehend inferences. They found that this skill typically emerges early in development, between the ages of 3 and 4. Inferential abilities continue to develop gradually until children are about 6 years old. Researchers have determined that this period, between the ages 3 and 6 years, is important for the emergence and continued development of inferencing and prediction skills. Furthermore, this skill is also important in aiding children in their later reading comprehension abilities.

At the Boston Ability Center, we target inferencing and predicting through various activities. A popular project that many of our clients enjoy involves creating special crafts and/or conducting different experiments each week. Often times children complete these activities with a peer, simultaneously encouraging the development of their social pragmatic skills. As our clients create beaded dragon flies, flour-filled stress balls, pool noodle pumpkins, and countless others, they utilize pictured supports in the form of photographic images. These pictures can help children predict what the next step in the sequence may be. Our clinicians stop periodically throughout the activity to ask clients questions such as, “What do you think we will do next?” or “Why do you think we will need to use a funnel?” These conversations support comprehension of WH-questions, and encourage children to utilize their inferencing skills to make decisions and plan accordingly.

Books are another great way to learn about inferencing and making predictions. Below are also some wonderful books to support your child’s development:


Winter Fun in the Speech Department at BAC

Our speech-language pathologists are having fun using theme based learning with the upcoming holidays and cold, winter weather. This week clinicians focused on winter/snow theme!

Below is a picture of a kiddo who is using his AAC Device to build his expressive and receptive vocabulary, increase length of utterances and utilize prepositions in a phrase. Following language generation, the kiddo placed the item in the wintery scene.

Some kiddos read the story “There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Snow” (if you haven’t read this book, it is a great one! Lots of choral responses, theme based vocabulary, opportunities for predictions, and more!) After reading the story, kiddos followed directions of varying length and complexity and made a snowman! Not only was the activity a great reinforcer but it also supported expressive and receptive language development.