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Road Trip Activities that Promote Speech and Language Development

Family Road Trip-excited kids peering out of back of car

Planning to hit the road with your kids this summer?

You might have thought about packing the snacks, tablets, and anything else that could help keep the kids entertained. Why not also fit in some easy road trip activities that are fun and can improve your child’s speech!

Here are a few favorite on-the-go activities that can boost speech and language skills for kids of all ages!

#1: "I Spy"

How to Play: This one is an old favorite! Describe something around you and the others guess what it is! You’ll say, “I spy something _______”, filling in the blank with a one-word clue that describes the object. Like, “I spy something blue” (which is perfect if you want to help your child learn colors).

Whoever figures it out first then takes a turn giving an “I spy” clue for the rest of the passengers to guess!

Tip: Modify the game for children under 3 years-old, if needed. Instead of describing an object, he or she can simply name something they see (for example, “I spy a tree”) and the others have to find it.

Skills it Helps With: Combining words, Vocabulary development, Turn-taking.

#2: Road Trip Bingo

How to Play: Each child gets a Bingo card with pictures of different things they might see on the road – like a gas station, tree, car, and stop sign. You can download one like this, and give your child a sheet of stickers to put on each item he or she finds!

Ask your children “WH” questions as they find the objects. For little ones around 2 and 3 years-old, focus on “What” and “Where” questions, like “Where was the airplane?”?

Try asking “Why” questions with kids who are 4 or older. For example, “Why do we stop at a stop sign?”.

Skills it Helps With: Matching, Vocabulary, Comprehension, Forming sentences.

#3: Singing

How to Play: Easy…the whole car gets to belt out the words to their favorite tunes!

Singing is one of the best ways to help your child build language. Whether it’s nursery rhymes like “Wheels on the Bus” and “BINGO”, or a Disney favorite like “Let It Go”, music encourages kids to make sounds, listen to rhymes, and learn new words.

Something to remember? Play it again! And again. And again. If your child asks you to repeat the same song, go ahead! Repetition helps children learn the words and boosts their understanding of what the song is about.

Skills it Helps With: Sound Awareness, Literacy, Vocabulary, Articulation, Imitatiom

#5: Create a Story

How to Play: Start off a story by giving a general plot. For example, “once there was a little boy who found a mysterious box…” The other passengers take turns adding a line to the story.

Use sequence words like “Next” or “Finally”, to help keep the story going. Your kids’ imagination can run wild as their story turns silly, scary, or somewhere in between!

Skills it Helps With: Narrative language skills, Grammar, Forming Sentences

#6: Find the Sound

How to Play: If your child struggles to articulate a certain sound, this one is perfect for getting some extra speech practice in!

Challenge him or her to find as many things as they can that begin with the sound you name. If your child can use some practice pronouncing the”R” sound, they can find things such as a red light, railroad tracks, and words on billboards starting with that sound!

Skills it Helps With: Articulation, Sound Awareness

#7: Alphabet Shopping

How to Play: Passengers take turns naming items that begin with each letter of the alphabet, in order.

They’ll say, “I’m going to the store to buy…” and name something starting with the letter A. The next person says the same line, and names an item starting with the letter B, and so on!

Skills it Helps With: Memory, Sound Awareness, Literacy

#7: 20 Questions

How to Play: An oldie but a goodie! One person thinks of an object and the rest of the players get to ask up to 20 questions to try and figure out what it is.

You can easily modify this depending on your child’s age. For younger children, start by telling them the category that the item is in, like “Food” or “Animal”.

Skills it Helps With: Describing, Vocabulary, Forming Questions, Answering Questions

Incorporating some of these screen-free, mess-free, and fun activities during your summer road trip can be a great way to boost your child’s speech and language skills! If you have concerns about your child’s skills in these areas, consider consulting an expert. TherapyWorks provides pediatric Speech, Occupational and Physical Therapies with licensed professionals that can evaluate your child and, if indicated, provide assistance.

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