The repetitive nature of this games allows you to get a lot of trials with any goal that you are targeting, making it a must have speech therapy game. This game lends itself to a huge range of goals, making it adaptable for preschoolers, kindergarteners, and early elementary students. Target expressive language, receptive language, and early language with this simple turn taking game.
For those who don't know what this game is all about, you place balls into the holes and they land behind openable doors. You use a key to open the door. If you find a ball, you place it in the treasure hole path (I'm sure there is a more technical name than this). Once you find all the balls, the treasure box opens and a gem appears!
So, what can you target with this simple game?
Target Spatial Concepts: Ask the child to open doors that are in a particular spot. For example, open the door beside the _____ or open a door in the bottom row. This works well with the spatial concepts above, below, aside, beside, between, top, middle, and bottom. You can also work on concepts such as far away, close, and corner.
Following Directions: Ask the child to open two (or more) spaces in a particular order. For example, open the _____ and then the _______.
Basic Concepts: In/Out: Cariboo is a great game for the concepts in and out because you put the balls in and out, and you but the key in the hole and take it out of the hole.
Verb Tenses: You can easily contrast future, present, and past tense verbs by talking about how you will open the door, when you are opening the door, and when you opened the door. You can also model these verb tenses when talking about closing the door.
Vocabulary: Using Cariboo Cards that fit your theme will help you model and practice any words that you have used in different therapy activities. A quick and easy therapy session is a themed book paired with Cariboo Cards. You can check out my Cariboo Cards here (there are Summer, Pets,Winter, and Valentine’s Day cards).
Negation: Since there is only a ball sometimes, this is a great way to target negation. Each time you don’t find a ball, you can model “NO ball”.
Requesting: There is something magical about this Cariboo key. Kids are so motivated by it! After each turn, you can take the key back and encourage the child to request their turn.
Increasing MLU: There are so many two word phrases you can target within this game. For example, no ball, (color) ball, open door, close door, my key, key in, push key, ball in, and ball out.
Describing: If you are using Cariboo cards, you can ask your student to find items that meet a certain description. For example, find the animal that is furry, barks, and likes bones.
Identifying by function: If you are using Cariboo cards, you can ask the student to find items by what they are used for. For example, find the item we wear on our hands when it is cold.
I hope you have some ideas for different ways you can use this fun game with your caseload. Although it is difficult to find, since it is isn’t made anymore, it worth the investment. You might be able to find one at a local thrift store, Ebay, Facebook MarketPlace, or Garage Sales. Happy hunting!