Dobble is a great game for anyone of any age to play.  There are 55 cards and each card has 8 symbols.  Every card shares only one symbol with every other card and the idea of the game is to identify those symbols which are matched.  It is fun, fast-paced and can help to develop lots of skills such as concentration, observation and processing speed.  Dobble can also be used, in many different ways, as an educational resource.  It is a really versatile game!

Memory – Kim’s Game
I use Dobble to support memory development especially with my Dyslexic pupils who have working memory difficulties. The child is given a card and asked to look at and remember the pictures on the card for a specific amount of time. The time can be varied depending upon the needs and confidence of the child. I encourage the child to make links between the pictures to help develop their memory strategies. I will then take the card and cover one of the pictures on the card using my thumb. I re-show the card to the child and ask them to identify which picture is covered. If they are finding the activity too challenging, I will assist them by giving a verbal clue.

Memory – Remember a given number of items.
I show the child a card making sure they are able to recognise and name all of the pictures. I then set them a challenge to remember a given number of items in a given time. How many items depends on the needs of the individual child – my aim is to not only improve memory but also confidence and self-esteem. There needs to be enough of a challenge but the task should also be achievable. I may start with one item and then increase to two, three and so on.

Speech and language support – On my card I have . . .
The Dobble cards have over 50 different symbols which can be used to help develop speech and language. For my first speech and language game, I split the cards with my pupil and ask them to say the sentence “On my card I have a ………..., have you? They choose one of the pictures on their card and describe it for example, “On my card I have a red heart, have you?” I then answer “I do/do not have a red heart on my card” echoing the description they have given. The pupil has three chances to guess which symbol I have on my card – if they guess right, they get the card, if they do not guess the shared symbol, I keep the card. You can also use different words for colours or describe the items by size or even assign personality words to the items!

Speech and language support – I am looking at . . .
For this version of a speech and language game, the young person picks one of the card symbols and describes it without using the colour or name of the item. To provide support if needed, you can use word banks and also model how to describe a symbol. If I guess the symbol correctly from the description, the young person keeps the card.

Speech and language – verbal stories.
Using one of the cards, the child verbally tells a short story which involves all of the symbols on the card. This activity can be easily differentiated by limiting the number of symbols to be included, for example starting with two symbols then increasing. The story can also be shared so the child will say a sentence with one symbol in it then I will say the next sentence with a different symbol. Sharing in this way also allows me to guide the story to make it easier for the child to think of the next sentence.

Creative writing – sentences to short stories.
This is exactly the same as the verbal stories activity but instead, is written or typed. Writing can start with simple sentences and move right through to story writing. There are so many different sentence and text level activities you can do with these cards – here are a few to get you started! Connectives – incorporating two of the symbols; clauses/subordinate clauses, using adjectives/adverbs, 100 word stories, newspaper articles and descriptive writing.

Creative writing – poetry.
The cards can also be used as a poetry stimulus. Haikus, tankas, acrostic poems and list poems are just a few poetry types that I have explored using Dobble cards.

Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH).
I find Dobble is a great game to support SEMH.  As I have mentioned, I often use it to support improvements in confidence and self-esteem.  Being able to keep up with a teacher/adult and sometimes beat them can really help a child and make them feel good about themselves.  There is a balance that needs to be met and I never allow a child to feel they have won easily as this devalues the accomplishment, I am careful about how “the win” happens and the language I use.  Sometimes there is no need to act – the child is better which is great!  Dobble can also help to introduce strategies for anxiety management such as listing visible objects – listing the symbols on the cards.