Homework for the car
A family road trip or even daily errands in the car can offer great opportunities to build speech-language skills!
¨ What's your job
This game starts with someone thinking of a job. Others then guess by trying to find out details about what the person does, where they work, tools they use, what skills you need etc. The skill is in asking just the right questions. Does this person work outdoors? Do they drive something? Do they use special tools? Can they work alone? etc. The aim is to see who can get it right. Every person in the car takes turns to ask a question and you keep rotating until someone gets it right.
¨ Guess the person
One person in the car thinks of a person everyone knows (e.g. a family member, TV star, book character, teacher, cartoon character, famous person), and then everyone takes turns to ask a question about them. Is it a man or a woman? Are they young or old? Does she have black hair? Does he wear glasses? Is she famous?
¨ Who lives there?
Wait till you stop at a traffic light so you can see a house long enough to remember some details. Take turns adding details to describe who might live there building on the previous person's clues. For example, first person says, "a mother lives there with her three children". The next person says, "the children are aged 3, 7 and 16". The next person says, "their names are, Sue, Pickle and Wobble.". The next says, "Wobble is named after his Dad (Bobble) who is on a round the world yacht trip" etc. When people run out of ideas you start again.
¨ Twenty questions
Someone chooses an object, person or place that others have to identify. The others in the car have a chance to ask questions (maximum of 20 for each thing chosen). The questions are answered with a 'yes' or a 'no'. When someone thinks they know it they can guess.
¨ Word association
Someone starts with a word and the next person has to add a word that has an association. The game ends when a word is repeated or someone is stuck. Here's how it might go. "Dogs", "bark", "bones", "kennel", "growl", "fleas", "wag", "tail", "scratch" etc.
The car is a great time to model slow and smooth speech for your child. Have a 5 minute conversation with your child each day with no distractions. Turn off your cell phone and the radio. Make it a rule that only one person may speak at a time. Think of how Mr. Rodgers spoke slow and easy. Validate the message your child is saying by putting more emphasis on the content of the message rather than the way it was delivered.
Have frequent discussions with your child about his stutter. Open communication is very important. If your child is being teased or has negative feelings related to his stutter, you want to know.
All of the games in this newsletter can be used to practice phrasing and easy speech.
Speech sound: Have your child look out the window and find items that contain a speech sound they may target in therapy. For example, if targeting the /s/ sound, your child may see signs, stoplight, stores, or a school bus. Have your child repeat the target word 3 times and then place it in a sentence.
Rhyme Time: The parent starts by saying a word that ends with the sound that the child is working on in speech. The next person needs to say a word that rhymes with the given word. Keep going until you run out of rhyming words.
Tongue Twisters: Choose the sound that you are working on in speech class. Your family works together to come up with a tongue twister. The first person says a name that starts with your sound. The next person says a verb. The next adds a noun or adjective. Keep going until you are not able to make the tongue twister longer.
Categories: Name a category. See how many items you can come up with in that category that start with your sound, have the sound in the middle or end with your sound. I.e.. Sports that start with an /r/.
The Brain Game
Select an object from anywhere outside the car and let each player try to come up with a dozen different uses for it. A wind turbine, for example, might be used as a giant’s back scratcher, turned in reverse and used as a fan, or have seats suspended from the arms and be used as an incredibly fast fairground ride. If driving in particularly monotonous country, everyday objects or items of luggage might be used instead.
I’m Going to the Beach and …..
This is a good memory game for car rides, restaurants, or anywhere that requires you to sit still. One person starts the game by saying, ‘I’m going to the beach and I’m going to bring my ….’ Fill in the blank with anything you want that starts with an ‘a’. The next person then repeats the first line and adds another item, ‘I’m going to the beach and I’m going to bring an apple and my boogie board,’ for example. Play continues around the group with each person repeating the items mentioned and adding their own at the end in ABC order. Each player must begin with the phrase ‘I’m going to the beach…’ and they must list all items in the correct order. The game starts over when someone forgets an item or messes up the order. It’s fun to change around the opening line, also. Instead of the beach you can go to the park, store, grandma’s house, or wherever.
Ack, Beep, Beep: All players look for something that starts with the letter A. The first player to spot an A object makes up a silly word or sound that starts with the same letter. Continue until the sounds start to drive you crazy. I see an airplane. Ack ack! I see a ball. Buzz, Buzz! I see a cow. Caflooey!