Speech Therapy
Marbles

Every child (over the age of 3 for choking reasons) seems to LOVE marbles and marble runs. 

When I pull out the marbles, this activity can last for the entire sessions at times. It took some creativity but I found a way to use marbles for articulation and language goals. 

Where to buy marbles and marble runs

I have had a few different marble runs. I will be honest, the cheaper/knock-off versions just don't work! They are flimsy which leads to much frustration. The extra dollars for the nicer versions are worth it. Seriously! I posed an affiliate link below in case you want to buy one. 

Also, you must buy one that has "funnels." This make the "races" more exciting!

Speech Therapy Using Marbles

My clients are always very motivated by races. We create a run together and make sure we add at least one funnel. Then every person gets a colored marble. We all start the marbles at the same time and cheer for our marbles to win! These races are exciting and quick so I can squeeze in a lot of practice. 

However, don't breeze through the building phase. That phase has the most speech and language practice.

Articulation Ideas

Typically, I work on "later-developing sounds" when playing marble races since each client has to be at least 3 or 4 years old due to choking concerns. 

A few articulation ideas:

  • /s/ - race, ready set go, start, slide, piece
  • /t/, /d/- ready set go, tube (when requesting pieces to build), slide (when requesting pieces to build)
  • /r/ - marble
  • /l/ - marble
  • /k/, /g/ - go, can I start?

Articulation guides and more!

If you need more guidance or more materials, we have just the thing.

Social Skills

If you have a social group, you can have the children build a marble run together. There are a lot of opportunities for social practice including:

  • Ask other students for a turn to build
  • Ask other students for a marble
  • Practice winning and losing gracefully
  • Work together/share ideas

Language Ideas

You may have to be a bit more creative to use marble races for language practice but I did come up with a few ideas.

Following Directions

  • Give sequential or descriptive directions such as find the "green tube and then the yellow one" during the building phase

Expanding Utterances

  • Have the child describe a picture or answer a question. For each word produced, the child earns a marble. Then, the child can put all the marbles down the run after the sentence is completed.

Vocabulary

  • The child can request a piece when building a race but he/she can't point! He or she has to describe the piece using descriptive words such as shape/color/function. 

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› Marble Runs



Bridget is an ASHA certified, practicing speech-language pathologist. She is passionate about providing parents with information on child speech and language development as well as provide functional, easy activities to do at home! Parents have the power to make a real difference. Follow Bridget at Facebook and Pinterest for more fun!

Author of  child language development eBook series