7 ways to use Zingo in therapy as MORE than just a general reinforcer

I love using games in therapy because a) they’re easy, and b) they lend themselves naturally to a variety of different skills, such as following directions, turn-taking, and learning how to handle a loss.

Often times, we might be using games as just a general reinforcer while we do drill with other skills, but today I wanted to share with you how I’ve used the game Zingo on its own to target a variety of communication skills, without needing any additional materials! 

Social Skills/Social Phrases:

Learning social phrases (“bummer” “aw man” “cool!” “good try” etc…) and how to handle it when a game isn’t going your way are more great skills to target with this, or really any turn-taking game!  


I have some little friends who have a REALLY hard time waiting their turns.  We’re talking meltdown city if waiting is involved. Turn-taking in Zingo is simple, with concrete beginnings and ends of your turn, which is one of the things I L-O-V-E about using it to target waiting your turn.

Common Object Vocabulary/Functions/WH Questions:

The picture tiles depict common objects such as “car” “apple” “boat” “tree” “train” “cake” etc… You can work on labeling these pictures, describing their function (when applicable), and answering WH questions about the items (“What do you do with a car?” “Where do you see a boat?” “Who drives a train?” etc…)


You slide the top (aka the “Zinger”) OUT, picture tiles come OUT, and then you either put the tiles ON your board, or back IN the Zinger.  Lots of opportunities for repetition with these prepositions within the game.

Answering Yes/No:

Target yes/no by asking, “Is it a match?” or “Do you have a __?” Also a great opportunity to work on the concept of negation … “not a match” or “I don’t have a ___”


VC words: I used this with one of my little guys with Apraxia who is working on words that start with vowel sounds.  I was able to target the words “out” and “in” with tons of repetitions in a functional way, without it feeling like drill.

/SL/:  Do you have any kids working on s-blends? (#justkidding. I know you do.).  Practice the word “SLide” each time you slide the Zinger out.

“CH”: I’ve used this game to target final “ch” with “match” and “no match.”

/V/: Work on word final /v/ within the phrases/sentences “I have…” or “I don’t have…”

/G/: Your kiddos can practice “go” with “It GOES on my board” or “It GOES back in.”  Or, I’ve also simplified it to “go on” and “go back in”/”go in”)


My turn, your turn, I got, you got, you have (#) left, I have (#) left, He has, She has… I go, you go… plenty of ways to target pronouns in a more natural setting/manner versus, say, using a card deck of pronouns.

Zingo is one of my favorite games to use in therapy because it’s so easy to target a variety of skills! 

Looking for more ways to use games to target your communication goals without just using them as a reinforcer? You’ll love this post on my favorite games for final consonant deletion! 

4 thoughts on “7 ways to use Zingo in therapy as MORE than just a general reinforcer

  1. I love using games in education and therapy too. I think it's way better than just explaining everything, and games usually cost less, than the professional methodical stuff. Like, I remember that I couldn't afford to buy the Persona cards, so I replaced them with Dixit card. And everything was good. There weren't any of the services reviews, where would be said they it's impossible or bad for health.

  2. Sometimes I play it by using describing words! One person is “it” and the other person guesses what the tile is by “it’s” description. It’s nice because they don’t rely on the colors since it’s all black and they really have to use how it looks or what it does or how it works, etc.

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