Summer is an exciting time full of adventure, sunshine, and family fun. Summer is also a great time to work on speech and language skills – at home and while traveling! Our therapists put together some of their top tips for incorporating speech-language activities into your summer schedules.

Speech-Language Activities at Home

(contributions from Elyse Schultz, M.S., CCC-SLP)

Go to a local farmer’s market

  • Word-finding difficulties? Have your kids sort food by category (fruits, vegetables, etc.) color (red, yellow, etc.) taste (sweet, sour, etc). If you can’t make it to the market, you can also have your kids help sort produce purchases from the grocery store.
  • Auditory memory concerns? Try helping your child by asking them to use repetitive phrasing (with lists) for activities like farmer’s market trips or picnics. Example: “I am going on a picnic and I am bringing….”
  • Articulation issues? Ask your child to find all the items at the market that contain your target sound (i.e., strawberries, sunflowers, lettuce, etc).

Go to a baseball game

  • Working on building vocabulary?  Preview vocabulary before headed to the stadium (bases, strike, outfield, pitcher, etc.) then speak to your child (and encourage them to describe) what they see while at the game.
  • Promoting early language development?  Practice and familiarize your child with a song then pause and let them finish the song (“Root, root, root for the home ___”).
  • Practicing vocal hygiene?  Let your child make a sign for their favorite team/player to refrain from yelling. Baseball games are full of excitement and loud noises, so practicing the signs with your child ahead of time is key.

Speech-Language Activities for Vacation

(contributions from Elyse Schultz, M.S., CCC-SLP)
  • Narrative development?  Have your child make a picture book of all the fun things they did on vacation so they can tell everyone else about how much fun they had instead of giving you the dreaded phrase “I don’t remember”.
  • Executive functioning?  Make sure to organize your suitcase so you can find everything you need without the fuss!
  • Social language? Introduce yourself and make a “new” friend! Try inviting them to play a game or think of questions to get to know them better! This is a great waiting activity you can do with your child, as well.

Speech-Language Activities for Road Trips

Using simple games can help make long car rides feel shorter and can also reinforce your child’s speech and language skills! Here are some games you can play:

  • I Spy- “I spy something green, it is part of nature, it is very tall and provides shade.” This game works on your child’s describing skills when they are the ones doing the “spying” and their inferencing skills when they are guessing. Make sure to include a variety of descriptors including size, shape, color, function, and features.
  • Speech Sound Bingo- Make a simple Bingo board. Every time your child sees a license plate with his/her sound in it, they have to write and say a word or sentence using their sound. After the board is filled, stop for a special treat to reward the hard work!
  • 20 questions- One person in the car thinks of a person, place or thing. Everyone gets to ask a simple yes/no question to gain information about the item. After each question, the person who asked the question gets to make a guess! This targets formulating questions, answering yes/no questions, and inferencing skills.
  • The ABC game- One person in the family chooses a category like “food.” The first person has to think of a food item that begins with the letter “A.” The next person needs to remember the food with the letter “A” and add their food item which would begin with the letter “B.” This works on naming items in a category and memory skills!
  • Road Trip Scavenger Hunt- Create a list of items you may see on a road trip (signs, horse, bike, etc). You can tailor your list to your destination. This is great for building vocabulary.
  • Create-A-Story Popcorn- Each family member adds a sentence or two to create a fictional story. After their sentence(s) they say “popcorn” and a family member’s name. That person gets to add the next part of the story. At the end, have your child summarize what happened in the story. This game usually leads to a lot of laughs while working on story telling, sentence formulation, and grammar!

Hopefully, these suggestions will not only make a long car ride seem shorter but also make it something fun!