Whether traveling across the country on vacation or running errands on the weekend, car rides can be a great time for children with hearing loss to work on their speech, language and listening skills. Below is a list of car games and activities that are not only fun for children but also target these important skills (without them even knowing!).
- I Spy
“I Spy” is a great game to target receptive and expressive language as you and your child take turns being the clue giver and the guesser. “I Spy” can also be used to work on categories (“I spy a food”), adjectives (“I spy something soft”) and even phonics (“I spy something that starts with an ‘m’”).
- I’m going on a picnic
This is a fun way to work on auditory memory skills and alphabet knowledge. To begin, the first player states, “I’m going on a picnic, and I’m bringing (something that begins with an “a” such as apples). The next player then repeats, “I’m going on a picnic, and I’m bringing apples and (something that begins with a “b.”). This continues until a player can no longer remember all the items or cannot think of an item with their letter.
- 20 Questions
This classic game targets asking and answering questions, categories and vocabulary. One player thinks of a person, place or thing. The other players take turns asking yes/no questions to determine what the mystery object is.
- Speech sound practice
Pick a sound that your child is working on in speech therapy and have them search for things in the car or while looking out their window that begin with that sound. For example, if your child is working on /r/, they could spot a railroad, rain, the road, etc.
- Incorporate music.
Turn on the radio and have your child use their listening skills to identify familiar songs, song lyrics and singers. Instead of turning the station when the song ends, encourage your child to listen to what the DJ says and ask them questions about it to assess comprehension.
The car is a great time to simply talk to your child. Talk about where you are going and what they will see. This is a great way to introduce new vocabulary and concepts that they may encounter. For example, “We are going to pick peaches. We want to make sure we pick the peaches that are ripe. Ripe means it is ready to eat.”
That’s not all! There are plenty of other ways to maximize language and listening in the summer (and all year-round!)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jessica Klein is a speech-language pathologist and the associate director of the Emerson Center for Professional Development at CID. In addition to working at CID, she has also worked in a public school setting. Klein has co-authored several workshops, presented at a variety of professional conferences and written an online course about developing literacy skills in students who are deaf and hard of hearing.