Building Speech, Language and Social Skills on the Road

My family will be heading out on a week-long summer road trip in a few days. We’re going to the Grand Canyon and everyone is pretty excited. And now that my boys are young teens (ages 12 and 15) they’re taking an active role in getting ready for all that family time in the car.

My sons are focusing on creating a music playlist we can all enjoy, not an easy task given the variety in tastes. We’ve agreed that everyone will contribute songs and my sons will curate the list. It’s a slow process that requires them to work together, take turns making choices, and sometimes compromise with one another and their parents.


Of course, a simpler approach to the playlist would be for each person to have their own headphones and musical autonomy. But I’m trying to use the long car trip as a way to promote some family time and togetherness. I’ll report back on how it all goes…

Meanwhile, if you’re planning your own family road trip, here are some other ideas to keep young ones occupied while building speech, language and social skills along the way:

The Alphabet Game: Look out the car window to find words starting with each letter from A to Z. A great way to work on attention, cognitive flexibility, vocabulary, and spelling.

Twenty Questions: Come up with questions to help guess what someone else is thinking about. Useful for practice with categorization, building vocabulary, inferencing, perspective taking, and asking questions.

I Spy: Use “smart guesses” to figure out what another person is seeing out the window and thinking about. Helpful for focusing attention and learning to use guesswork and questions to come up with new information.

Mad Libs: These fill in the blank short stories are great for teaching the parts of speech, practicing reading and building imagination and creativity. They are super fun for the family and a good way to get everyone laughing and enjoying their vacation.

Happy road tripping to all!  What are some of your favorite games to play on a road trip? 


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