Fun Games to Play with Your Children in Waiting Rooms


“Waiting room”… appropriately named! We wait with our children in hockey arenas, dance studios, dentists’ offices, in traffic and in grocery store check-outs. Keeping our kids engaged in a fun activity usually makes the waiting time much better. Having activities to do that don’t require any props are the key to “happy waiting”.  My kids would ask for fun games to play that were “inside my head”. Here are a few of the games from inside my head…

Higgy Piggy

To play Higgy Piggy, you create a riddle and the answer is two rhyming words. This is best played with kids who understand the concepts. It targets synonyms and rhyming.  One person comes up with the question and the rest, guess. For example: Q: What is a favourite bug? A: Best pest Q: What does a cold ship wear? A: A boat coat.

I Spy

Waiting rooms are often limited in colour, but to target adjectives, you can also pick an item by its shape, size, texture, etc. “I Spy with my little eye something that is yellow or round or a parallelogram or tiny or bumpy”.  Everyone takes turns guessing what is spied.  The winner of the round chooses the next object.

20 Questions

This is also a fun game for kids of all ages that targets question generation and convergent thinking skills (i.e. putting all the clues together to reach a correct conclusion). Everyone agrees on the category or group they will all pick from (for example animals, food, sports). When it’s your turn, choose an item from this category. Then, everyone asks yes or no questions about your item and tries to guess what it is. For example: It’s an animal. Is it a pet? No. Is it a farm animal? Yes.  Does it lay eggs? No. Does it moo? No. Is it pink? Yes.

Tell a Tale

Someone starts by making up the beginning of a story, perhaps something dramatic like “Once upon a time in a creaky old house….” The next person adds to the story, “there lived a three-legged orange monkey”. Each person takes their turn connecting an idea to the story. It encourages everyone to think creatively!

Cherry and Pit

This activity is an excellent conversation starter and an opportunity to support each other. When it’s your turn, you tell about the best part of your day, the “cherry”, and the worst thing about your day, the “pit”. Matching your response to the others cherry or pit with cheers or support is an excellent social language skill for children to practice.

I’m going on a Picnic

This is an alphabet/memory game. Start the game by saying, “I’m going on a trip and in my suitcase I will pack A for alligator shoes” (or any word that begins with A).The next person says, “I’m going on a trip and in my suitcase I will pack A for alligator shoes and B for a broom” The next person tries to remember everything the person before them brought and adds an item with the next letter of the alphabet. Chances are, the waiting will be over before you get to Z.

SandyMastoris-220Sandy is a dedicated professional with 30 years experience serving clients with communication challenges.  She specializes in working with clients who have an acquired brain injury.  Sandy’s expertise also includes planning and implementing  pragmatic/social language programs. Sandy enjoys the successes of her clients and working within a committed and professional team.



Eidetic is a great speech therapy app for the iPhone or iPad for anyone with memory issues- it has proven to be very beneficial for acquired brain injury and stroke clients at our practice.  Eidetic allows you to practice memorizing information in an organized way.   It helps you encode and consolidate the information in a meaningful and contextualized way to make retrieving it at a later date easier.


Eidetic uses a technique called “spaced repetition” to help you memorize information such as, phone numbers, vocabulary, facts, lists, quotes, messages, etc.

Spaced repetition is a learning technique that incorporates increasing intervals of time between review of previously learned material in order to capitalize on the spacing effect. Spaced repetition is commonly applied in contexts in which you need to acquire a large number of items and retain them indefinitely in memory. It is therefore well suited for the problem of vocabulary/information retention for students studying for tests or for the acquired brain injury population, word finding issues for those who have suffered from a stroke or acquired brain injury, or the geriatric population to aid in everyday recall due to natural memory loss from aging.


Eidetic uses notifications that can be personalized, so that you can test yourself.  It spaces the tests out over time to help you retain the information in long term memory.  You can select the length of the testing period- cram for it in one day, or space it out for more natural learning over 2 weeks or a month.

When learning the information, you can hear the information and see the information to tap into both learning styles and you can share your progress through email, twitter, and other social mediums.  The Tips section gives you strategies to help learn the information in a more meaningful way such as, reminding you to reduce distractions in your environment before starting, organizing items into smaller chunks of information, using multi-modalities to memorize information (drawing, reading aloud, writing), and using mnemonics.

Once you have mastered the tests, you can archive what you have learned in case you need it for future reference.

Eidetic has a “do not disturb” feature to allow you to set the times during the day when you wish to be tested and when you do not want to be prompted to take the test.

The best part is…….. Eidetic is FREE!!  (You can upgrade to the Pro version for $5.79).

LindaSaarenvirta-220Linda Saarenvirta has been practicing for 11 years as a Speech-Language Pathologist.  She has worked with a variety of clientele, but for the past 5 years has focussed in the area of vocal rehabilitation including the use of videostroboscopy and Visi-Pitch.  She enjoys working with all clientele and believes strongly in the client centered approach that S.L. Hunter SpeechWorks provides.

To Rest or Not To Rest: Mental Rest After Concussion

shutterstock_176789375Shake it off. Play through it. Tough it out. This used to be what young athletes everywhere would hear after taking a blow to the body or hit to the head. Thankfully, that is slowly changing as we realize that this is dangerous advice to be giving. We’re all well versed now in the importance of physical rest as part of concussion treatment. However, when home and “resting” you may be unknowingly doing some damage by engaging in some boredom-busting activities that could prolong your concussion recovery or lead to more permanent concussion symptoms.


The importance of “mental rest” in addition to physical rest as a part of concussion treatment is starting to gain some momentum on the internet. “Mental rest” involves avoiding activities that stimulate the brain a lot, such as doing homework, reading, texting, playing videogames, and watching TV. The logic behind this is that avoiding these things helps save your “brain energy” to use for healing from the concussion rather than being used up on these activities. Health care providers have been starting to add this recommendation to their repertoire of concussion advice; however, a recent study indicates that we may be recommending too much of a good thing.


Recent studies in Pediatrics (1, 2) provided some of the first real evidence that “mental rest” is, in fact, helpful during concussion recovery, BUT we need to be careful about how much. The study showed that people doing mild and moderate levels of mental activity recovered just the same as those doing nothing. It was only those who engaged in their full schedule of activities with no restrictions that struggled to recover as quickly and as fully. What this means is that doing absolutely nothing after a concussion isn’t going to make you heal any faster than if you thoughtfully re-engage in your normal activities – if anything, it will just make you fall farther behind in school and lead to increased boredom and restlessness at home.


So, when it comes to “mental rest” after a concussion, just remember this general rule of thumb: Do as much as you can without triggering or worsening your symptoms. Do as little physical and mental activity as possible for the first 3-5 days, but after that, gradually increase your level of activity as you can. Take advantage of academic accommodations at school like having a note-taker, extended deadlines for assignments, and alternatives to test-taking. If you’re unsure what accommodations you need or how to arrange them, a Speech-Language Pathologist can help liaise with your school to set those in place for you. If symptoms persist beyond 3 months, a Speech-Language Pathologist can also help to come up with and put in place some strategies to help with the memory and thinking problems you may be experiencing that could be negatively impacting your school or work performance.

MelissaKiley-220Melissa Kiley is a registered Speech-Language Pathologist with a special interest in concussion/acquired brain injury as well as literacy skills  development. She has been working with clients for over 10 years and is highly skilled in developing functional and innovative treatments.


With Easter just around the corner, it’s time to get prepared for fun easter activities to do at home to help speech and language communication for preschoolers.


Corduroy’s Easter by Lisa McCue: For ages 2.5-4

IMG_0875This is a wonderful flap-book to help hold the attention of little ones. It is great to work on early concepts such as, open and close and is great for vocabulary building. It is great to help your child begin to learn about Easter traditions such as decorating eggs while exploring locations such as the farm and grocery store. You don’t need to read the word the first time around, you can simply just talk about the pictures. Avoid asking questions to your child, but rather label the pictures and wait for him/her to label too!


IMG_0876Clifford’s Happy Easter by Norman Bridwell: For ages 4-6

This is colourful book that is great for working on sequencing and helping a child learn about an Easter egg hunt and decorating eggs.  If your child has difficulty with the /k/ and /g/ sounds this book can also help to target those sounds. This book perfect for working on comprehension and has a humorous story. Who doesn’t love Clifford?!


IMG_0877Easter time is a great time to pick up a bunch of plastic eggs. They can work on so many different language and articulation skills. Definitely a very versatile therapy tool. Make sure to obtain eggs that are multi coloured and different sizes (yes they sell big and small versions). Here are some ideas of what you can do during a traditional Easter egg hunt!

Where Questions/prepositions

A classic egg hunt is a great way to work on “where” questions, particularly using prepositions and doesn’t take as much space as you might think. Place the eggs in strategic locations, under, in, next to, beside items in the environment. Ask your child “where” a certain coloured egg is and prompt them for a preposition in their response.


Stimulate a yes/no activity by obtaining various items that will or will not fit into the eggs. Play one of three ways, 1) make predictions about what will firt into the egg and then ask again when you see the result (eg. “Do you think this will fit?” and “Does it fit?”) 2) mix and match coloured and different sizes of tops and bottoms and ask the child if a select two should go together. Also an exercise in same/different 3) place different items inside the eggs prior to seeing the child. When the child arrives, have them shake, listen to or feel the weight of the egg and what’s inside and guess the contents. They can then check to see if they’re right or wrong by answering “yes” or “no”.

Descriptive Vocabulary

Using traditional Easter egg colouring kits or just plain markers, try to use concepts of “same” and “different” in addition to descriptive words that relate the eggs. One could be polka dots, one could be striped. If you use wax writing while dying one could be “rough” while one could be “smooth”. A complementary game of “I Spy” would nicely help to reinforce these concepts (eg. “I Spy an egg that is pink and bumpy”). Using store bought plastic eggs, consider gluing differing textures of items for the same effect.


Make labels for the eggs that have initial, medial and final target sound on them. For eg. “sock” (initial s ), “grasshopper” (medial s) and “bats” (final s). Colour code the labels so if your child can’t read they can still determine the sound placement. Have fun collecting the eggs in a basket.


Eggshell collage

Use food colouring to colour crushed eggshells. Use a few different colours. (You can use eggshells from eggs you have used. There is no need to hard boil these eggshells.) Let your child glue eggshells to a piece of paper, after the dye has dried.

Easter Basket

Children cut out two identical Easter basket shapes and about three different coloured eggs. The grass in the picture can be made with green construction paper and store bough Easter grass. Children can glue the eggs and grass to the basket, then staple the two basket pieces together.


These are great to play with the entire family! Share the Easter fun!

Egg Toss

Divide the family into two teams. Use plastic eggs and an Easter basket. Place a piece of masking tape on the floor for a throw line. The distance from the basket to the line should vary with abilities. Have the family take turns throwing the eggs into the basket. Whichever team gets the most eggs in the basket wins.

Bunny Bowling

Gather 8 half gallon milk cartons, or 2 liter bottles. Fill the bottles about 1/8 full with water ad seal the lid. Then, decorate the bottles like bunnies, adding construction paper ears, and use permanent markers for the eyes and nose. Set the bottles up like they were bowling pins and have the family roll a ball to try to knock them over. If they don’t knock over easily, remove some water.

AmyWebAmy Grossi is a pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist, practicing for over 10 years. She has gathered experience working for the ministry and private clinics. Amy enjoys the area of early language, literacy development, apraxia and fluency.