Mystery Garden...a Secret Gem + FREEBIES
Updated: Mar 12, 2022
Need a fun game to use with almost any student??
One of my clinical graduate supervisors (Lisa Holland..shout out) introduced me to a simple, yet genius game called Mystery Garden by Ravensburger.
I just love when I find a game that I can adapt to almost any speech and language objective. I have had this game for over 7 years and I keep pulling it off my shelf from time to time! Here is the premise of the game: There is a board that has a magical garden scene on it with princesses, knights, giants, castles, dragons, and more (what kid doesn’t like all of that!). There are also secret tiles with images from the garden on them. The object of the game is to collect as many secret tiles as you can.
On each turn, a player draws a tile and the other players try to guess what it is by asking yes/no questions only. Each time the get a “no” answer, they have to move their game piece up a stone (there are 15 stones total that lead to a castle). If their piece makes it to the castle, they loose the turn and the person with the tile keeps it (adding to their collection of tiles). If they player guesses the image on the tile, they get to keep the tile! Each player takes turns answering and asking questions. As an SLP, I am sure you are already coming up with so many ways to use this in therapy! This game targets deductive reasoning, answering questions, asking questions, descriptive language, positional vocabulary, categories, turn taking, problem solving, recall, and more. This game is recommended for ages four and up. I use it with K-5th graders. Ways I adapt the game:
I reduce the number of chances for my older or more advanced students ( for example: start their piece on the 8th rock).
I have my articulation students look at the scene and point out target words before each turn. The student will write the words on their garden articulation worksheet (available for FREE below).
I use sheets of paper to block off part of the board (to reduce the visual field) for students who are too overwhelmed with the busy scene. You can do this to start the game (just make sure the tile chosen by the other player is in the section visible) or section it off as they play (if the student asked if it was on the top half and the other student answers was yes, you could block off the bottom portion then).
You can have students play in teams to encourage social skills (they can take turns asking questions or decide which questions to ask together).
Some of my students need cueing to get started with good questions! You want to narrow down the choices as fast as you can. For example; you would want to ask if it is an animal first before you guess a specific animal (such as a cow or deer). I also encourage them to ask a location question first (is it on the top? is it on the left? is it in the water?).
I made a visual cueing board (pictured above) for questions in this game. I always advise my students to try to think of broad category questions first and then get more specific once the choices are narrowed down (this is similar to the game play in Guess Who). I also use a simple YES/NO response board to help reinforce the YES/NO concept. I print these out and glue them front/back and laminate (one of each student). I store the boards in the game box so they are ready to go for therapy! You can get the articulation worksheet, the visual cueing board, and the YES/NO board for FREE by CLICKING HERE!! I hope you find them useful! I highly recommend this game for therapy! I used Smarty Symbols to make the visuals!
Since I purchased the game, they have come out with a newer updated version. I included boards for both versions (old & new). They are out of print but you can find them on eBay or other re-sell shops online (keep an eye out for them in thrift stores too!). I am bummed they aren't making it anymore!
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Thanks for reading!