I was asked a questions months ago about how I use mini-golf in speech therapy so I thought I’d share some of those ideas here. If you have some other great ideas, I’d love to hear them! Just comment at the bottom of this blog.
I’ve been perfecting my mini-golf game for some time now and I’ve used this activity for all kinds of language goals from receptive and expressive language, articulation and phonological processing/patterning issues, social skills, story recall and retelling, fluency, etc. So here is a list of mini-golf game variations I’ve used for numerous speech and language goals:
1) Hole in One: This simple game I’ve used for groups of 2-4 students. I simply set up one or two golf holes and the children take turns trying to get as many holes in one as they can in the time they have to hit the golf balls. How do I determine the amount of time? Well it’s the time it takes for the student(s) I am current working with to respond to the determined number of stimulus cards I am presenting. I usually stick to 3-5 stimulus cards per child. So if I have a group of 4 students, I set up 2 golf holes and have two students hitting the balls into their respective holes, while I work with the other 2 students. Once they have finished their alotted number of stimulus cards, it’s time to switch spots. I usually don’t have winners or losers as they children are typically too young to recall or count how many total holes in one they achieved but it’s just good fun!
2) Sound discrimination: I like to use this activity for children working on articulation, phonological processing/patterning issues or phonological awareness issues. I simply tape a different target letter to each golf hole’s flag and set up the holes in different parts of the room. If the child hears, identifies, or correctly produces the target sound, the child is given the chance to hit the ball into the correct hole. If I want to know if the child is discriminating correctly non-verbally, I may allow the child to choose which “sound” he/she hears by choosing which golf hole to target (just adding a little twist to the game).
3) Golf Ball Trail: This is a simple way to get a number of stimulus cards trialed for each stroke. I place a line of stimulus cards from the golf ball, all the way to the golf hole. The child hits the ball and any stimulus cards he/she touches must be trialed after the hit. We keep track of the number of holes in one the child gets and whomever has the most (either between two or more students or if 1:1 therapy, the competition is between the client and myself) wins.
4) Zig Zag Golf: This is a simple fun way to create a crazy golf game and it great if you don’t have a lot of space. I cut out construction paper and number 1-5 (or 1-10 if I have a larger room) and place the numbers on the floor in a zig zag pattern. Then I place stimulus cards on each number. The child must follow the pattern beginning at #1 all the way to #5 (or the closest number to the whole) before he/she can try for a hole in one. Of course as you stop by each # you much practice the stimulus card(s) there. If I have more than one child playing this game at one time I just cut out #s using two different colored construction paper so the students know which “trail” to follow. This can get pretty fun and crazy when the #s are close together are placed really far away all over the room!!!!
5) Simon Says “Golf”: This is a fun game for kiddos working on receptive language skills particularly following simple or complex directions. I place #s 1-5 on the floor in a straight line. One line for each student participating. I give students directions at the complexity at which they are current practicing (each taking turns). If the student correctly follows the direction, he/she moves one step closer to the golf tee, if not, student stays put. After 5 trials, Simon (meaning myself) will say “Golf” and all students get to golf as fast as they can and as many times as they can until one of them gets the ball in the whole. Then we of course must have several rematches!
These are just a few ideas of ways I use mini-golf in therapy. Do you have any other ideas? Please share below!
Enjoy and happy talking and golfing!