Autism Treatment Center of America®

Five Fun Games to Initiate

Sentence Fishing


To encourage use of longer sentences.


Physical games (e.g. rides, bounces, swinging, etc.) Preparation: In large print, type out sentences describing the activities you think your child will be motivated for. For example, “I want a fast ride”, “I want a bumpy bounce”, “Give me a slow swing”, “I want an elephant ride”, “I want a sneezing ride”! Be creative with the types of rides, bounces and swings you can offer to your child. Type out as many as you can think of. Next laminate the sentences strips so you can reuse them. Then cut up the sentence strips into three sections to create three “pools” of words / phrases. The first pool will contain the beginnings of the sentences (e.g. “I want”, “give me”), the second pool will contain descriptor words (e.g. “fast”, “bumpy”, “helicopter” etc.) and the third pool will contain the verbs (e.g. “ride”, “swing”, “bounce” etc.) To each word attach a paper clip. Finally make a fishing pole with a small magnet on the end of the string. Put the three categories of words in three separate “pools” (basins, boxes, etc.) in the playroom.

Introducing the Game:

When your child gives you a Green Light run over to the third pool (verbs) and catch yourself a word. Read this to your child and offer them whatever action is written on the card.

Building the Motivation:

Next time round try caching a word from the third pool and then one from the second pool then read the phrase to your child (e.g. “elephant bounce”). Offer this action to your child. Do this until your child is motivated enough to come help you fish for a word from each pool.


Once you child is motivated enough for a request you can ask him/her to either read the whole sentence or repeat it after you. Then give him/her the physical action. Eventually you can move towards your child not needing the written prompt to produce a full sentence.

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