5 Communication and Speech Therapy Strategies on the Go
Sometimes it can feel like life is so busy that we have to schedule time just to sit and breathe. So how can we fit in the extra practice and support our kids need for building speech skills? We have to make the most of communication and speech therapy strategies on the go – even in small bits and pieces. Talk with your child’s SLP about ideas, and see if some of the following can help you and your child make the most of your time on the move.
5 Speech Therapy Strategies on the Go for Busy Families
1. I Spy A Rhyming Word
Take the classic game of I Spy and play it with a twist. As you’re driving, “spy” an object with your child and take turns coming up with as many rhyming words as you can. The last person who is able to come up with a rhyming word gets to spy the next object out the window for another round.
2. Life in the Other Lane
This game not only passes the time, but it helps to build storytelling skills, descriptive vocabulary, and stretches the imagination. As you and your child are commuting to the next activity, have her find a vehicle of other commuters or a family walking their dog – any other fellow people on the go. Then work together with your child to build a story about those people. Maybe the man driving the truck is wearing a baseball hat so you begin by saying “That is Frank and he is on his way to see his first Red Sox game.” See how creative you both can get, imagining the lives of the people around you.
3. Alphabet Sign Game
This is great for pre-reading and phonics skills. As you drive with your child, look for road signs, billboards, or even license plates. The goal is to move through the alphabet in order. For example, to start the game you’ll need to find a sign with the letter A – but don’t just have your child call out “A!” – have him say the phonetic pronunciations of the letter, too. Then it is time to search for a B, C, and so on.
4. Books on CD
Literacy is an integral part of communication skills. Build those reading skills on the go with an effective collection of books on CD or tape (many libraries offer them for loan). Besides being able to help build those reading skills while you’re driving between soccer practices and grocery shopping, audiobooks have several benefits for kids who struggle with speech and communication.
- Makes books accessible that might otherwise be too challenging because of unfamiliar vocabulary, unique character name pronunciations, or cultural dialects
- Reinforces listening skills that are extremely valuable for communication
- Exposes kids to different reading styles, as often the authors will read their own literature aloud
5. Soak Up Some Words
Kids who are kinesthetic learners or who have sensory issues can find it very difficult to be strapped into a seatbelt and still able to concentrate effectively. Give them some tactile learning options by taking several large, soft sponges and cutting them into 1″x3″ rectangles. On each one write a word of an object your child is likely to see along the way: truck, bird, cloud, barn, train, etc. and place the sponge tiles in a zippered bag or container. As your child sees these things, have her find the sponge tile with the matching word and read the spelling of it. Kids with sensory needs are given that tactile activity of holding the word, squeezing it, and working on that important muscle memory.
Finding the time to give our kids everything they need can feel like an overwhelming responsibility some days. However, if we stretch our imaginations, adjusting traditional travel games to fit our needs, we can make the most of those minutes driving between the seemingly endless activities and appointments or waiting for the next one to begin.