Games & Toys To Promote Language and Articulation: The Design Drill

Games & Toys To Promote Language and Articulation: The Design Drill | District Speech & Language Therapy | Speech Therapists in Washington DC

This week we’re commencing a new series of speech therapy articles! In this series, we will highlight our favorite games and toys and how we use them to target language and articulation goals.

First up – Design Drill by BrightWorks.

Most millennials will remember growing up playing the game Lite Brite. You basically have a “magic screen” into which you plug in colorful pegs to make various designs/pictures. Then you turn off the lights, and to your amazement, your design magically glows in the dark!


Design Drill is similar to Lite Bright, but expands on the experience by adding a toy power drill to put the pegs in, rather than requiring you put them in by hand. I have used this with kiddos as young as 2 and as old as 9. They are all OBSESSED with this game (as am I), and always request it.

How you can use it for speech therapy in the clinic or at home:

Early Intervention

If your child has developmental delay, you can use this toy as a communicative temptation. First, model how to drill in one of the pegs. Your 2 or 3 year old will get really curious about how the drill works and will want to try it for themselves. However, because they have smaller hands, it will be harder for them to hold the drill and turn it on at the same time. That’s where you come in! You can encourage them to ask for “help,” “help please,” or “turn on” before you activate the device. Once you activate the device and drill in a peg with them, they tend to get really excited and want to drill more. That’s where you can have them make requests (e.g., Do you want the red nail or the blue one? Do you want one or two nails? Should we put it at the bottom or the top? Should we put it next to the yellow nail or above it?). Then, don’t give them the drill until they answer your question using one to two words, depending on what area of language you’re targeting.


If your child is working on a specific sound, you can practice 10-20 trials of that sound and then take a turn with the drill, practice, and then take a turn and so on.

Auditory Comprehension

If your child struggles with following directions, before they take a turn with the drill, you can tell them where to put the nail. For example, you can tell them “pick the pink nail and put it in the first row next to the green nail, or above the black nail.” You can modify the directions from simple to more complex.

If you live in the D.C. area and have concerns about your child’s language or articulation and would like to seek additional help beyond what your school based speech pathologist may be able to provide, visit our specialized speech therapy solutions page for more information on our assessment and speech therapy services for children of all ages.

District Speech and Language Therapy
1300 I St NW, #400E,
Washington, DC 20005


District Speech and Language Therapy specializes in speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy solutions, for both children and adults, in the Washington D.C and the Arlington Virginia areas.