Age level: Upper Elementary, Middle School
Description: This fun and simple game gets kids racing to respond to challenges using four alphabet dice. Players must find words containing or excluding the letters shown on the dice. And with 150 challenges in the game, you never know what might show up next! If you’re the first one to answer the challenge, you get to keep the card. Turn the card over, and the color on the back of that card determines what challenge you will do next.
Skills & Modifications: I have played this game with several students ages 8-12. There are a few modifications I have found useful depending upon each learner’s particulr skill set. These modifications are listed within each skill description below.
- Playing with Speed – For learners who are not quite ready for this aspect of the game, you can transform it to a turn-taking game, in which the player rolls the dice then responds to the challenge. If you want to build the ability to play with speed, you can set a timer and the player gets to keep the card if they respond before the timer buzzes. As the learner experiences success, you systematically decrease the amount of time he/she has to respond.
- Categories – Many challenges require players to think of items from a specific category (such as vegetables, something green, or something that smells bad.) I love that Speedeebee provides motivating and fun materials to practice a skill that can be quite challenging for many learners with autism and other developmental delays.
- Spelling – The game requires that players be able to mentally spell in order to respond to some challenges. For one student, we modified the game by removing the speed element (which made it a turn-taking activity with no winner) and having him write down the word he selected as a response to check to see if it met the challenge. Over time, we will remove this step as he becomes more independent with this aspect of the game.
- Scanning – Part of gameplay is being able to scan the four dice while considering the challenge provided by the card. Since the dice are being rolled, players may be required to scan for information in which the letters are upside-down. Also, all dice have two pieces of information, color and letter, which the player must scan in order to respond to each challenge. If your learner is struggling with scanning, you can modify the game by only playing challenges that require one die. Once your learner has mastered the concept of the game, you can increase to two dice, then three, until you are playing the game as designed.
- Peer Play – This is a great game for encouraging play with peers or siblings, especially if you have a student who is highly motivated by words and spelling. It may be beneficial to introduce the game 1:1 with a teacher or parent so the learner can master the game before playing it with peers or siblings. The game is designed to be complete when the last card from the central pile is used. To decrease playing time, I sometimes either set a timer and the player with the most cards when the timer buzzes wins or I set a number of cards (such as 5) and the player who gets that number of cards first wins.
- Receptive & Expressive Language – This game requires higher-order language skills and quick understanding of each challenge. For example, a blue challenge on one card reads “Find a word containing the purple letter but NOT containing the other 3 (throw all 4 dice).” The player must be able to understand all aspects of that sentence and respond appropriately. If your learner is unable to understand sentences with multiple components, such as the one listed above, you may want to consider eliminating the aspect of the game related to color, and choose appropriate challenges for your particular learner. For example, on the same card, the green challenge reads “Name a cartoon character containing this letter (throw the die of your choice).” Another option would be to remove the dice until your learner has mastered the skill of retrieving information based on the challenge without additional parameters. For example, instead of choosing a vegetable that contains the letter showing on the die rolled, just choosing a vegetable.
Pros: I have many students who are highly motivated by letters, words, and spelling. This is a great avenue for providing access to more social interactions and age appropriate activities. I also appreciate that it has a quick pace and playing time.
Cons: None. This is a great game for learners age 8 and up!
Cost: $14.99 You should invest in this game if: you have learner who is highly motivated by letters and spellings, you are seeking fun activities for maintaing mastered language skills, or you are a parent looking for games the whole family can enjoy.