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Speech in the Schools

Not Quite Magic But Still Fun!

Published February 24, 2014 11:43 AM by Valerie Lill

Early this school year I had written about using games in speech therapy. Although I had thought I had put that topic to rest,  I've recently become acquainted with a new game that I need to share with my fellow school-based SLPs!  On a recent visit from his grandmother, my son received a game called Magic Jinn.  Every time this game is played all I can think about is, "I wonder when my son will outgrow this so I can bring it to school to use in therapy?" I've seen the game priced anywhere from $15 - $20 and is available at any large chain retail or toy store.

To play the game, the player needs to think of an animal.  Magic Jinn asks a series of yes/no questions ("I don't know" and "It depends" are also acceptable answers) regarding the animal's salient attributes (i.e., size, shape, color, diet, location).  Based on the player's responses, Magic Jinn attempts to guess the animal.  Magic Jinn is not a genie, rather he resembles an odd-looking, blue cat with orange stripes.  To top it off, he speaks in a British accent.  Just try playing this game a few times and not end up talking in a British accent for the next hour (or longer!).

Last weekend, my son and two adolescent nephews had an absolute blast trying to stump Magic Jinn. We all got a kick out of the familiar animals he couldn't guess (despite multiple attempts) such as a gorilla and a bear.  We were surprised that he was able to guess some less common creatures, such as a leech and a sponge.  We were able to stump Magic Jinn on a few rarer animals such as an orangutan, a capybara, a Gila monster, and a naked mole rat. Magic Jinn gets quite creative with his guesses sometimes, including fictional creatures such as a werewolf and a hippogriff!  (He's British, so I guess he's a fan of Harry Potter?)

Although it might be a few years until I can actually try Magic Jinn in therapy, here are some ideas on how it could be used/how students may benefit from it:

  • Accurate answers to the questions posed by Magic Jinn are very important. If you don't know the answers to the feature questions or answer them incorrectly, the odds of Magic Jinn guessing the animal in mind is slim.Gives students an opportunity to practice answering yes/no questions.
  • Describing/Naming salient attributes - Any child working on these semantic language skills would benefit from playing this game.Students need to think of responses to questions such as, "Does this animal have fur?""Does this animal eat plants, fruits, and vegetables?"
  • Categorization - Magic Jinn poses questions about categories of animals such as, "Does this animal live in the sea?" "Is it a reptile?" Students need to be familiar with sub-categories of animals when playing this game.
  • Magic Jinn asks a lot of questions that don't make sense based on previous questions asked. For example, he asked if an animal had fur. When I answered "no" a few questions later he asked, "Is it a guinea pig?"For students working on more advanced semantic language skills, these absurdities and non-logical questions provide a great teaching opportunity. Example: Why doesn't it make sense for him to ask if the animal is an insect?Answer: Because I already answered "yes" when he asked, "Is it a reptile?". (This exchange actually happened when trying to get him to guess Gila Monster. The closest he got was "iguana").

Are any of you familiar with Magic Jinn? If so, how have you used it in therapy?  If not, I highly recommend adding it to your repertoire of games. His guesses aren't magic, but they certainly are fun!

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Dear Valerie,

Thanks for the blog regarding Magic Jinn.  On a hunch, I searched apps and found two free apps called Magic Jinn.  One focuses on animals and the other on countries.  The apps are very engaging and your list of possible target skills will enhance the use of this game as a therapy tool.

Donna Bingaman ,MS, CCC-SLP

Donna , , SLP Imagine South Lake Charter School March 25, 2014 9:50 AM
Clermont FL

Dear Valerie,

  I recently invented a unique set of playing cards that have 56 cards instead of 52. They are designed to enhance base 10 math skills and have the face card's names and suit written out below. I included the "1" card to complete the odds and even concepts so clearly visible on the cards- plus the 6 looks like a 6 and the nine looks like the straight stick nine that we write. They should only be played in the upright position. I have some games described on my site

My patients are loving them-

Please let me know what you think-


Dana Merritt MS SLP

Dana Merritt, private practice - Speech Pathologist , Merritt Speech & Learning March 24, 2014 8:33 AM
Jacksonville FL

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About this Blog

    Speech in the Schools
    Occupation: School-based speech-language pathologists
    Setting: Traditional and specialized K-12 classrooms
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