Using GO FISH To Grow

This post is going to focus on how you can use common games to help develop your child’s communication skills. Today’s blog is focused on the game Go Fish! This is a game that most people know how to play that is fun and can involve many players. Go Fish cards can also be used in multiple ways to target language skills. Have a look at how Go Fish can support your child’s communication skills:


  • Depending on the card deck you have chosen, e.g. animals, vehicles, everyday objects, this game can build your child’s vocabulary of common items within a particular category.

Expressive language

  • Encourage your child to explain the rules to you – encourage use of long sentences with conjunctions (e.g. and, then, after), and conditional words (e.g. if)
  • Asking questions- this game requires your child to develop yes/no questions to help find their pairs.
  • Build counting skills- encourage your child to count the number of pairs each player ends up with to determine who wins the game.
  • Go Fish can also be played as a descriptive version, where you describe the item without saying the item’s name. For example, instead of ‘do you have the giraffe?’, you might say ‘do you have an animal that has a long neck, lives in the zoo and likes to eat leaves?’. This will support your child’s descriptive vocabulary, as well as their ability to form more complex questions.

Understanding language

  • Your child will need to learn the rules of the game: break parts of the game to manageable steps.
  • Answering questions – this game can support building your child’s ability to comprehend yes/no questions and respond appropriately (e.g. ‘do you have the tractor?’)
  • Category Awareness- often Go Fish card decks fit within a particular theme or category. Encourage your child to identify these categories (e.g. animals, vehicles, Frozen, etc)


  • Encourage your child to sound out or read aloud names of each of the item.

Social skills

  • Model appropriate play behaviours e.g. taking turns, appropriate responses to winning/losing.
  • Following the rules – talk through the rules and encourage your child to follow them throughout the game.
  • Following meltdowns, talk through behaviours and strategies to keep calm.

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