Adding Therapy tricks to your Vacation!

Ask an Expert

We’re going on vacation, is there anything I can do to work on language with my child while we are gone?

Yes! In fact, the possibilities are endless! Almost anything you do can be turned into a language opportunity, from labeling things you see in your new environment, to bringing portable activities along with you. Here are some specific examples that are good for airplanes, cars, hotel rooms, or wherever you may find yourself on vacation!

  1. Books: Books contain endless opportunities to encourage language development through pointing to pictures, imitation of words, labeling pictures, etc. Bring favorites or new ones to engage them.
  2. Crayons and paper or coloring books: These can be used for labeling pictures or colors, requesting (“more,” “help,” “all done,” etc.), using imagination to create open dialogue and promote exchange of language between you and your child.
  3. Songs and Fingerplays: Use songs they already know or teach them some new songs and fingerplays to practice imitation of words and actions, e.g. “Itsy Bitsy Spider,” “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” “Old MacDonald Had a Farm,” “Wheels on the Bus,” etc.
  4. Scavenger hunt! Wherever you are, there are bound to be opportunities for you to have your child look for something specific (such as an animal or car), something a certain color (if they know them), or other things in your environment. Have them imitate sounds, words, etc. or modify for whatever their goals are.
  5. Use your imagination! Whatever the trip entails, there are always ways to encourage language. Don’t forget to label what else you see throughout your trip to give them a language model of these new and exciting things in their environment!

April’s Featured Learning Toy

The Elefun Busy Ball PopperScreen Shot 2015-03-30 at 9.58.19 PM

The Elefun Busy Ball Popper by Playskool is a wonderful toy for engaging in joint attention, teaching turn taking, as well as promoting early language use. This is a great tool for teaching cause and effect, as your little one takes a turn putting the balls in and watching them pop back out! Encourage your child to request “more” verbally or through sign language before taking another turn. (*Therapist tip: You can turn the switch to off in between turns so that your child has to communicate with you for it to work again!)You can also support their expressive language use by adding words to your play: “Pop! Pop! Pop!” “Ready, set, go!” or “Go ball!”


One Large Cardbord Box can be…. anything!

Playing With Just Your Imagination:

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If you give a kid a cardboard box he’ll want…nothing! That is because a cardboard box (preferably big enough for them to fit in) could be anything! A house, a barn, a racecar, a spaceship, the perfect hide and seek hideout? They could transform into a robot or superhero, a princess in her castle or stuck in a tower, etc. The box becomes whatever your child wants it to be, which elicits fun and imaginative play for hours on end!