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speech and language activities for travel

Speech and Language Games for Traveling

Vacations are wonderful times to make memories and experience new places. Likewise, these experiences offer unique opportunities to expose your child to new vocabulary and practice language skills in a new environment. Although the hours spent in a car or on a plane seem anticlimactic and dull, this time offers the perfect opportunity to mix fun and language practice to maintain skills while away from therapy. Check out this list of speech and language games for traveling that will keep children entertained while also practicing various speech and language skills.

Speech and Language Games for Traveling:

  1. I Spy: This traditional game is a great exercise to use adjectives and to target expanding a child’sSpeech and Language Games for Travel utterance length. A player can provide clues that include descriptive words or colors (e.g., “I spy something that is shiny” or “I spy something that is blue”). This is a great opportunity for repeated practice of the meaning of an “adjective” as well as for improving a child’s vocabulary.
  1. Category Game: The Category Game is an easy adaptation of the game Concentration that is more appropriate for the car. The Category Game involves thinking of one category/group of items (e.g., Disney movies) and then taking turns until someone can’t think of anything. This is a great vocabulary activity that targets enhancing a child’s lexicon and improving his or her word retrieval skills. As children become more advanced, the category can also be more difficult.
  1. The Picnic Game: The Picnic Game is a great way to exercise memory and pre-literacy skills. The Picnic Game starts with the phrase, “I’m going on a picnic and I’m going to bring…”. The first player picks an item that starts with the letter “A” (e.g., apple). The next person then recites what has been previously said, adding their own item that starts with the next letter of the alphabet (e.g., “I’m going on a picnic and I’m going to bring an apple and a banjo”). This game will test a player’s short term memory, as well as give him or her added exposure to the alphabet.
  1. Speech Sound Game: This game is similar to the Category Game, but rather than focusing on vocabulary, this game will target a child’s phonological awareness skills. To start, a player will pick a speech sound (e.g., “s”). Players will then have to think of words that start with that sound (e.g., “sit….sand….sun”). The first one who can’t think of a word is out. This game can be made more difficult by starting with just a random word (e.g., “pot”). Rather than thinking of words that all start with “p”, the next player will have to think of a word that starts with “t” (i.e., the last sound of the word that was said before). This is a great way to practice segmenting the sounds within a word, as well as give extra practice for producing certain speech sounds. Phonological awareness skills provide a foundation for later developing literacy skills.
  1. 20 Questions: This game is a great way to target receptive and expressive language skills. To begin a player will think of a person, place or thing and announce what category that is in. The other players will then ask yes/no questions in order to try to guess what the player is thinking of within 20 questions. This game requires answering with a reliable yes or no, as well as using a variety of vocabulary words to ask creative questions. 20 Questions can also be adapted to a variety of levels, making it as easy or hard for each player’s skills.

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7 Activities to Develop Receptive Language

Are you concerned with your child’s receptive language development? Does your child have a receptive language disorder or delay? Receptive language deficits may manifest themselves in difficulty following directions, engaging in conversation, and/or answering questions. Utilize the activities listed below at home to help improve your child’s receptive language.

7 Activities to Improve Receptive Language:

  1. Read Books: Reading with your child provides an opportunity to address many skills. To target receptive7 Activities to Develop Receptive Language language, encourage your child to find and point to pictures on the pages. Draw their attention to pictures by labeling and pointing to them in order to expand vocabulary. Re-state important parts of the story and ask questions to support story comprehension.
  2. “I Spy”: This activity is similar to reading books with your child. Label and point to pictures on the pages of an “I Spy” book. Make it a game and see who can find the most objects on the page! Make it more challenging by assigning specific items to you and your child that incorporate basic concepts (“You find a small key and I’ll find a big one!”) You can also play “I Spy” without the book and find objects around the house or in your community.
  3. Simon Says: This classic game is a great way to target following directions. It encourages your child to listen for ‘Simon says’ and then follow the accompanying direction. You can tailor the direction to the skill level of your child, and increase the difficulty as the game progresses. You can start with a basic direction such as ‘raise your hands’ and end up with one like ‘count to five, touch your knees, and say your name’. For a fun twist, you can even switch roles and have your child be Simon!
  4. Twister: Play this exciting game to target following directions and learning basic concepts! Basic concepts included in the game are right and left, colors, and body parts. If this is too challenging for your child, you can make it simpler by focusing on a certain aspect. You can hop to different colors or place a body part on a certain color.
  5. Puzzle: You can turn putting a puzzle together into a time for targeting receptive language. Have your child find specific pieces and answer questions about them. (“Find the car!”, “What does a car say?”) Label all the pieces to help increase your child’s vocabulary. You can also come up with other pieces that might belong in the puzzle. For example, if the puzzle is all about zoo animals, think of additional zoo animals that were not included in the puzzle.
  6. Go Grocery Shopping: In your own kitchen, that is! Create a shopping list, including pictures if necessary, and have your child go shopping. Give directions such as ‘The cereal is in the cupboard’ or ask questions such as ‘Where do we keep the milk?’ You can expand the activity by having your shopping list include items to make cookies, and then follow directions while baking together!
  7.  Play: Engage in play with your child and their toys! You can target verbs, such as running, jumping, or sleeping. Work on basic concepts like in, on, and off. Follow your child’s lead while being an accurate model for language. Encourage creativity through play!

It can be fun, creative, and rewarding to find ways to incorporate language skills into your everyday activities and routines. Use these ideas to get started and tailor them as needed. Make language fun!

Click here to read about 5 red flags for receptive language delay.





5 Activities to Promote Language Use in the Car

Are we there yet? Are we there yet? How much longer? Are these commonly heard phrases in your car? It’s summertime and a road trip is just around the corner.

Learn 5 activities for car rides that are not only fun, but a great way to encourage language skills on the go!

  1. I Spy: “I spy with my little eye…” Use this game to target the following skills:
    • Articulation: See if you can find objects, restaurants, stores, etc. that begin with the sound your child is working on in speech therapy.
    • Receptive language: Ask your child to find 5 items outside the car that belong to a certain category. For example, “Can you find 5 different animals?”
  2. Story Time: Making up silly stories can make for a fun ride! Ask your child to make up a story using ideas, activities, or characters he sees out the window. Be sure the story follows an appropriate sequence of events. This activity can also be a team game. Each person in the family takes turns adding a sentence to the story!
  3. Camping Trip: This is a game to get the whole family involved in your child’s language development. The game begins with one person saying, “I went on a camping trip and I brought…” The frist person states an item that begins with the letter A (apple). The following family member repeats the phrase and adds his own item beginning with the letter B (“I went on a camping trip and I brought an apple and a bouncy ball”). See how far down the alphabet you can get while you target auditory memory, attention, and phonemic awareness!
  4. Clue: This game is great for targeting receptive and expressive language!
    • Receptive Language: Tell your child you are thinking of an object. Provide “clues” (function of the object, category, attributes, etc.) to help them figure it out!
    • Expressive Language: Now it is your child’s turn! Let your child provide you with clues and see if you can figure out what object he is thinking of.
  5. Rhyme: It is rhyme time! Take turns picking a word. Work together or make it a race to see who can find the most objects outside the car that rhyme with the chosen word!

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