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Steering Speech and Language in the Right Direction

Written By: Kaitlin Bednarz M.S., CCC-SLP

On your mark, get set, GO! Using cars in speech therapy/at home are a “wheely” great way to target play, speech, and language milestones! Here are some ways to use cars to build skills!


  • Model smooth vs. bumpy sounds when driving a car. You can drive the car on a smooth surface (i.e., table, floor) and on a bumpy surface (i.e., playdoh, rocks, etc.) to practice hearing/seeing the difference between the two!


  • Have your child produce the target sound while driving the car. Let your child drive over articulation cards (or pictures/words that have their target sound) while producing the word! For phonemic awareness practice, spell the target word (write on paper or with letter pieces) and have your child drive over their sound while stating if the sound was in the beginning, middle, or end of the word!

Pretend Play

  • Cars crashing: Pretend to crash cars then have a car/rescue vehicle come and help!

  • Car wash: Grab a bucket of water, soap, and a towel and pretend to have a car wash.

  • Sleep: Pretend the cars have to go to sleep. You can also pretend to wake the cars up.

  • Driving: Pretend the car is driving around town. Talk about all the places the car is going to. You can also practice “picking people up” from different locations.

Receptive Language Skills (understanding)

  • Following directions: tell your child where to drive. You can add multiple locations/details for increased difficulty.

  • Spatial concepts/prepositions: practice parking “in front, behind, next to”.

  • Imitating actions: act out driving, parking, braking, etc.

Expressive Language Skills (communication)

  • Transportation sounds

  • Describe what the cars look like

  • Verbs: drive, park, brake

  • 2 or more word phrases such as: go car, drive car fast/slow, stop car, follow me, park the car, park behind car

It’s time to pedal to the metal with cars at home/in speech therapy!

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