Language development is vital for young children from the time they are born. Being able to work on vocabulary no matter where you are is crucial when you have young kids. As an Early Childhood Special Educator, it’s my job to find easy ways for parents to practice these and other skills seamlessly while going through the motions of their day, in the car, or during bedtime routines.
During a recent excursion with my girls I realized (yet again) that you truly can work on language development no matter where you are. And that’s the great thing about building language skills with kids, there is SO. MUCH. YOU. CAN. DO!
But I digress…
When you have kids at all different ages and stages as I do, you have to find ways to get creative in the games you play and the vocabulary exercises that you introduce.
This week in the car we were playing I Spy, one of our favorites. This time we were playing I Spy with a twist. I love playing I Spy in the car, because it requires them to be actively looking for things out their window and they love when they find something fun to shout out.
Language Development on the Go
We play by having one of the twins shout out an object, something they are familiar with. Most of the time they would yell out things like barn, cat, horse, owl, deer, or a favorite colored truck/car.
Side note: The twins are two years old and have been in speech therapy for over a year now for different reasons. Even though Tuna has a great vocabulary, it doesn’t hurt to have her point out things she is familiar with and even try to find objects that she isn’t. Shrimp’s vocabulary is really taking off, but I often still have a hard time understanding her, so this is just extra practice for us both.
Back to the game, once Tuna or Shrimp have found something fun to spy, all the girls try to find it before it’s out of sight, however we take Miss B’s role one step further. She then has to think of something that rhymes with that object.
This gives me the opportunity to work on rhyming skills with Miss B. She still loves to make up words that rhyme which is fun, but we also try to find real words that rhyme. Sometimes when she’s really into it we talk about the beginning and ending sounds. And on rare occasions she will let me go into the spelling of the words with her, rare occasions ONLY!
Real Life Application
On this particular day we ran to the library, the park, bowling (a fun unexpected treat), and lunch for Gammi’s birthday. This game lasted all day! At the library, while bowling, and at the restaurant for lunch the kids were finding objects and Miss B was rhyming away.
To recap, this game hits on the following:
- Builds vocabulary
- Reinforces letter, color, shape and object recognition
- Builds rhyming skills
- Practices beginning/ending sounds
A wonderful vocabulary lesson with absolutely no prep or materials needed!
Building vocabulary is something that you can do anywhere! So the next time you and your little ones are in the car, instead of zoning out and cranking up the music (both of which I am known to do), take a few minutes to play I Spy.
You never know what you or your child may learn from a friendly game of I Spy in the car. And don’t be afraid to change it up, make it work for you and your child.
What are some of your favorite games to play in the car?