Parent-Child Interaction: Car Therapy

Thanksgiving is associated with great food, amazing company, and overall appreciation. It is a wonderful night of celebration, but also requires a lot of time, effort, and travel for most families. Many families travel great distances for Thanksgiving break to be with their families and loved ones. What better way to kill some time in the car then by working on speech goals! It is additionally a very convenient time to practice these speech goals, as most parents spend an extreme amount of time driving their kiddos all around!

ETJ Photography
ETJ Photography

Car ride activities:

I Spy: I spy is a great game to play with children of all ages. For younger children, label everything around you while driving. Model first by saying “look I see a blue car”, then prompt your child by asking, “what do you see?” Continue to take turns until you run out of things to name! For the older children, play more traditional I spy. Model first by using describing words such as, “I spy something with four wheels, a vehicle, and the color of the sky”. Encourage children to name the category, describe what it looks like, and even what it is used for. I spy is a fantastic game to practice categorizing things, new vocabulary, and descriptive words

Talk about events: Engage your child in conversation. Ask your child about their day. Ask specific questions such as “What did you eat for lunch?” or “Who did you play with today”. Try to ask all 5 ‘WH’ questions: who, what, when, where, and why. If you are going on a trip, talk about where you are going, what you will do there, and whom they will see. After talking about it, ask your child follow up questions to ensure they processed the information.

Alphabet game: Pick a letter such as /r/ and encourage your kids to find that letter on as many things as they can. They can look on license plates, trucks, billboards, and/or signs. This game is a great way to encourage print awareness. For older children, pick a letter or sound, and have them name as many things that start with that letter or sound.

Nursery rhymes: Of course singing in the car is a must! Sing the ABC’s and other nursery rhyme songs your child knows. The car is a great place to learn new songs as well! For older children, play word games such as rhyming and alliteration. For rhyming you can say a word and have your child think of a rhyme. For alliteration, try to say a sentence with as many words starting with the same sound. “But a better butter makes a batter better”

Speech practice: The car is a great place to target speech sounds, because there is plenty of time for practice, practice, practice! Start off by saying the sound in isolation. Make it fun by singing a song, but replacing all the words with your new sound. “/s/Oh /s/when /s/the saints /s/go /s/marching /s/in”. Try to come up with as many words that have your child’s target sound in it. Play I spy with only /s/ sounds or /r/ sounds!

Make car rides fun and educational with these speech and language games! Happy thanksgiving to you and your family! Safe travels!



"Car Ride Activities for Speech and Language." Speech And Language Kids. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Nov. 2016.

Katie. "Honk! Honk! Speech Practice for the Car!" Playing With Words 365. N.p., 29 July 2013. Web. 09 Nov. 2016.

Vinson, Betsy Partin. Preschool and School-age Language Disorders. Clifton Park, NY: Delmar Cengage Learning, 2012. Print.