Who says playing can’t be educational? Grab your cars and let’s play! Busy parents and speech-language pathologists can utilize a single toy for multiple functions and skills during the day! Sometimes a great, easy way to help your child develop language is to find a toy or book and use it regularly. Today’s topic is cars! I bet everyone has several of them somewhere in your office or at home!
- Start with a communication temptation. Put the cars in a bin that the child can’t open or can’t reach! Have the child ask to open it, ask for help, or make a request. Model the request for the child if they aren’t sure what to do.
- Use the cars to work on following directions. Give directions for creating a ramp, locations to drive to, and a place to make a parking lot. Location words (next to, over, turn right) are a great way to develop a child’s vocabulary and ability to follow directions.
- You can build vocabulary by teaching words that describe by finding surfaces the car drive on that are smooth and bumpy.
- You can continue to expand your child’s vocabulary by talking about different vehicles/cars (police car, fire truck, delivery truck, race car) or different parts on the vehicles (headlights, trunk, engine).
- Create verbal routines. Think “ready, set, go” or “one, two, three”. Model the phrases and encourage your child to do the same (“Your turn”) or start the verbal routine and let them finish it.
- Make a road using target words for your child. Every time you run over a word practice it!
- Be a NASCAR announcer while your child drives the car around your clinic or home. Encourage them to use expressive language to describe where the car is and how the car is driving, using adjectives like slow or fast.
- To use more pronouns, use the cars as delivery vehicles. Run errands for a man and a woman. Talk about what you’re doing for him and her, “She is ___. He is ___.”
- Drive your cars around the room to search for target articulation sounds. Find things in the room that have the child’s sound they are working on in speech therapy.
- Crafts are always a family affair and using car tires to paint a picture can be really fun! Put paint on a plate and let your child drive the wheels through the paint. Then drive the car over the paper! Super fun! Be sure to attach words to what you are doing, i.e, tracks, narrow, wide, straight, curvy.
Have fun playing cars with your kids while targeting lots of speech and language skills!
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