My dad and I were talking on the phone once and he
told me how
much fun he and my niece and nephew had playing games on
I was surprised to hear that because usually you don’t hear
“fun”, “kids”, and “car trip” in the same sentence. He told me about a
game they made up where they tell stories using billboards they see on
the side of the road.
He said they can either be make-believe
memories and they limit it to a few sentences so that
everyone gets a
You should have seen me!
It was just like when your mouth
to water over a rich piece of chocolate cake, except my
totally overtakes my face, my eyes get big, and I totally interrupt to
exclaim, “That is the best speech and language therapy idea ever!”
continued to tell me how to play the game, but I can only remember one
example because my mind
was off on overdrive thinking of how to use all
the traditional travel games for building speech and language.
remembered a few of the games Luke and I made-up to make some of
our L-O-N-G road trips go by faster. So here they are - speech therapy
activities while traveling (some can obviously be used when you’re not
Watch the billboards and
take turns picking one to tell a story about.
The story can be make-believe or a real memory. Limit the stories to a
few sentences so that everyone can have multiple turns.
Billboard reads “Kia Murdock” – There is a mom and dad out there that
loved their daughter so much that they decided to buy a billboard and
put her name on it in huge letters way up in the sky for everyone to
see. And her name was “Kia Murdock.”
Variation: each person
adds on to the ongoing story using the next
billboard they choose
Watch for letters and numbers on signs, license plates, buildings, etc
outside of the car and call them out as you see them to claim them as
yours. Everyone plays individually, starting with A going all the way
to Z, and then finds the numbers 1 through 10.
Once a letter/number has
been called out, no one else can use that same one. The first person to
find all the letters and numbers in order wins.
Example: A on
Auto parts on the right, B on that green car, C on the top of that
sign, and so on. Anyone can question where someone finds a letter and
he/she has to be able to describe where it was.
awareness and grapheme recognition, reading,
prepositions, direction words, adjectives, articulation
Variations: do it
backwards, or have each person say the sound the
letter makes when it is found
Take turns spying and guessing things outside the car. When it is your
turn, select something and say, “I spy something… (and say the color)
red.” The others in the car guess what it might be until someone
guesses correctly. Then it’s that person’s turn to spy and give a clue.
adjectives to describe words and no colors are allowed,
example – “I spy something sharp.” “I spy something healthy.” “I spy
Take turns creating riddles for the others to guess. If you don’t have
a riddle when it’s time, you can pass and take the pressure off of you
because creating good
ones is harder than it sounds.
Each riddle must
have at least 3 items that have something in common and the others must
guess. Sometimes working backwards from the answer you want helps you
choose the 3 items that go best.
Difficulty levels can vary too.
Example: What do
the words soccer, basket, tennis have in common? They
are all types of balls. What do the words pie, line, bar have in
common? They are all types of graphs.
vocabulary, abstract thinking, adjectives, turn taking, team work
Variations: When it is difficult, try making riddles together. Talk out
loud and let others suggest items that could go in your riddle. You
could also make other types of riddles too, such as “What has 4 legs
but cannot walk? A table.”
*I made this game up so of course I like it, but I also like it because
it makes your brain think in a way it’s not used to. It’s challenging
for everyone! If you have fun just guessing riddles, checkout Tri-Bond.
5. 20 Questions
Take turns thinking of something – it can be anything. The others try
to guess what it is by asking up to 20 yes/no questions. Whoever
guesses what it is before 20 questions is the winner and they get to
choose something next.
If no one guesses it in time, that player
stumped everyone! They choose someone else to go next.
asking/answering questions and question format,
articulation, turn taking, categorization, descriptions
Variations: use “wh” questions (who, where, what, when, why, how)
instead of yes/no questions, choose the secret word from a given
category to make it easier; example, types of candy, things you wear,
Sing the song (more like a chant) “Boom Chicka Boom” the regular way
first followed by a few different verses or “styles” to get the hang of
it. Then have everyone start making up their own “styles.”
and nothing is off limits.
You will find yourself laughing
in no time!
I have explained how to some of my favorite styles below and here are
some more to get you started: opera, cowboy, Elvis, Michael Jackson,
backwards, Barney, doctor, baby, sneezy, grumpy, sleepy, dopey, scared,
romantic, dog, cat, alligator, lion, airplane, train, mad, ouchy,
UNDER-WATER STYLE: Say the whole song while rubbing your finger over
your lips and it sounds like you are under water. Kids love this one!
BARBIE STYLE: Say the whole song with a high voice and add the word
“like” in at different places so you sound like a valley girl from
California – “I said, like, a boom chick a boom yeah!”
ARMY STYLE: I said a boom chicka boom (say the booms so they sound like
bombs). I said a boom chicka boom. I said a boom, chicka rocka, chicka
rocka, chicka… (throw a grenade and wait for it to explode) BOOM! Oh
yeah. So strong (show your muscles). One more time.
JANITOR STYLE: I said a broom sweepa moppa (pretend to sweep and mop).
I said a broom sweepa moppa. I said so broom sweepa moppa sweepa broom.
Oh yeah. So clean. One more time.
PREACHER STYLE: I sayeth unto thou a boometh chica boometh (raising
your finger solemnly). I sayeth unto thou a boometh chicka boometh. I
sayeth unto thou a boometh chicka rocketh chicka rocketh chicka let my
people go. Oh yeah. So preachy. One more time.
*One time Luke and I played this with our girls, non-stop,
last 2 hours of a car ride. We were all laughing the whole time at what
styles my girls asked for.
They were so creative that they had me
stumped a few times on how to do that style. Try doing it in “itchy
style or hungry style.” Then try doing it over and over again because
they think it’s so funny!
7. Going on a
Take turns taking a letter from the alphabet in order, starting with A,
and saying, “(blank) my name is (blank) and I’m going on a trip to
(blank) and I’m taking (blank) (blanks).
Fill in each of the blanks
with an appropriate word starting with the letter you are on.
“A my name is Alana and I’m going on a trip to Aruba and I’m taking
angry alligators.” “B my name is Bob and I’m going on a trip to
Bulgaria and I’m taking black beans for my baby baboons.”
embellishing it as long as you only use words that begin with your
Variations: I prefer to keep it light and fun, but if you want to make
it hard, have each person remember and say what everyone else said
before them, i.e. everything from A-J if you are on J. It’s a good way
to test your short-term memory.
8. Knock Knock
Take turns creating knock-knock jokes using what you see outside the
car for inspiration.
Example: You see
trees. “Knock knock. Who’s there?
Trees. Trees who? Teresa’s not my name. My name’s Hollie!” You see a
car. “Knock knock. Who’s there? Cargo. Cargo who? Car go beep beep and
run over you!”
Targets: social skills,
turn taking, figurative language, vocabulary,
Variation: try making other jokes too; example – What is green and goes
on for miles? Trees. Ha ha. You are on a car trip remember?
At the beginning of your trip, have everyone make a Bingo card by
drawing a grid on a piece of paper that is 5 by 5 squares and writing
Bingo across the top.
Then have each person write or draw in things
they think they might see on the car trip; example – stop sign, cow,
mail box, stop light, speed limit sign, exit sign, police car,
semi-truck, license plate, etc.
When everyone’s card is ready then you
can start playing. If a person sees an item from their card, they must
say it out loud and then mark it off or color the space in. When five
in a row are completed, they win a bingo.
Targets: social skills,
prediction, short-term memory, articulation
had cute wipe-off travel bingo cards when I was little that my mom had
to these. They were so fun, but as a speech therapist
I say, “Why not predict and discuss what you might see and make your
10. If and
Have each person write 5 “What if…” statements and 5 “Then…” statements
on a piece of paper and cut/tear them apart into 10 separate strips.
Collect everyone’s “What if…” papers into a pile and “Then” papers into
another pile. Take turns pulling out one paper from each pile and
reading the “If/Then” statement aloud. The combinations that result
will be hilarious.
Example: “What if it snowed on my birthday?” “Then I
would take my shirt off and run around yelling, “I love it! I love it!”
Funny because that is not the “Then” statement that went with it, but
it turned out to be funny.
concept, vocabulary, turn taking, social skills,
*I haven’t played this in the car yet because my girls are too young,
but I have played it at many parties and it is fun depending on the
people you are with. Laugh out loud.
Have everyone take a piece of paper and write “WHO?” the make-believe
story is about on the first line (a hippo, superman, my sister).
have them fold it and pass the paper to the person next to them who
does not peak at the folded part. Now that person writes the answer to
“DID WHAT?” on the next line and folds it over so the next person
cannot see (jumped off a 2-story building, went fishing, kissed a
When everyone is finished writing that section, pass it on and
that person now answers “WHERE?” the story happened (in my bedroom, at
Disney World, in grandpa’s barn).
Fold it over and pass it again so the
next person can write “WHEN?” the story happened (after dinner, at
midnight, after eating a big pot of spaghetti).
And after folding and
passing it one more time, the last person writes an answer to “WHY?”
(because he was so lonely, because he ate too much sugar that day).
After all sections have been completed, everyone can open the papers
all the way up and give it to the first owner of the paper. Have fun
and take turns reading the nonsense, crazy stories out loud and don’t
Play the classic “Truth or Dare” game by taking turns choosing to
answer a truth question or complete a dare. (Now you are in the car so
the dares can’t really be that scary!)
If the person chooses a truth,
then they must answer any question that the person on their right wants
to ask. If the person chooses a dare, then they must do whatever the
person on their right dares them to do. (The dares must always keep car
safety and not distracting the driver in mind.)
Play advances to the
Examples of Truth questions:
Have you ever kissed a boy?
What is your least favorite food?
Examples of Dares in the car:
the ABC’s. Kiss the person on your left. Sing your favorite song.
questions, social skills, turn taking, eye contact,
language skills, articulation skills
Variation: just take turns asking questions to get to know each other
better with no dares - there are several games out there that have good
thought provoking questions you never thought of asking.
I hope these help you while on the go improve
someone’s speech and language skills, if not your own! Remember most of
them can be modified for use at home or in the classroom. Let me know
how you like them.
We are both MS CCC-SLPs and fell in love while studying for our degrees. Since then we have done everything together - graduated, worked, and started a family. We spend most of our time with our family and the rest making this site for you.