How to teach your child to talk and understand

Last night….on our way to the supermarket….the kids asked if they could play “cash car“.   This is similar to “cash cab“, a show they enjoy watching on television.  What a fun and language enriching game…..I never thought to play it with them before…..Gregory and Katie both initiated the idea.  They were not only enjoying the car ride…we were all laughing hysterically…..okay so how do you play…and what prize are you playing for….in my kitchen I have a mason jar that I keep extra change in…….so I told them that if they won “cash car” they could have all of the money in the jar.  To them….that was like winning lotto…..Gregory said: “really we can keep all of it….no way….really mama!”  FYI: there was a total of $1.50 in change in the jar….so many pennies….to them….it was a significant amount of money.

To play the game….they had to answer the questions correctly….being sure not to get three strikes before we arrived at .  We love Uncle Giuseppe’s….even the little ones love going there….it’s and adventure all in itself.

We also asked them red light challenge questions….. for the red light challenge…this meant that the question was more challenging….as we waited at the red light..and they have to be sure to answer the entire question before the light turned  green……and if they got the question right it was worth double the points….so for each question they got correct they earned ten points…and for the red light challenge they would earn twenty points.  Still the prize…no matter how many points….as long as they did not get three strikes…was all of the money in the mason jar.

If you would like to play “cash car” with your kids…..below is a sampling of questions I asked… sure that when your child answers the question…they re-state the question….this will help them in school…when they have to answer a question….re-stating the question…and being sure to answer in a full sentence.  I will give examples below:



1. When is Dad’s birthday?

Answer in a full sentence: Dad’s birthday is January 1, 2011

2. How many months are there in a year?

Answer in a full sentence: There are twelve months in a year.

3. What is Andrew’s middle name:

Answer in full sentence: Andrew’s middle name is George.

****So I think you probably get the idea of re-stating the questions….question four and five below are red light challenge questions:

4. Name ten foods Andrew would NEVER eat. 

FYI….My Andrew is a very picky eater…many sensory issues when it comes to eating.  I have not yet had a chance to discuss feeding concerns in young children…and approaches that are beneficial to addressing sensory concerns when eating….but I will be sure to post about feeding concerns specific to sensory.  A sensory feeding issue refers to a child’s inability to eat certain foods….not because of an INABILITY to bite, lateralize, munch, chew and swallow….rather a sensory concern…because the child does not like how the food: LOOKS, SMELLS, or TASTES….this means the food may not look appetizing….Andrew can just look at macaroni salad and almost gag…because it does not look like he could eat it…..sometimes it is the smell that a child can not tolerate….and most importantly when it comes to sensory issues and feeding…the texture is too much for the little one to handle…..for Andrew it is the texture of many foods….but especially the banana.  Here is a great link if your little one has sensory feeding issues:

Below is a brief description of SOS feeding therapy:

 The Sequential Oral Sensory (SOS) approach is a developmental feeding therapy that allows the child to interact with the food in a playful, non-stressful way. It helps increase the child’s comfort level by exploring different properties of foods, including the color, shape, texture, smell, taste and consistency. The SOS approach follows a systematic hierarchy to feeding, from tolerating foods in the room, interacting with foods, smelling, touching, tasting and eventually eating the food.


Okay….so back to another red-light challenge question:

5. Spell your first and last name backwards…..and tell me the first sound in your first name and the first sound in your last name.

Back to the regular questions…not red light challenge questions:

6. Name five animals

7. Name five Zoo animals

8. Name five Farm animals

9. Tell me which one does not belong in the group and why: apple, shoe, banana

10. Name the four seasons

This was probably the most fun Gregory and Katie had in the car….in the next few weeks I will make a list of “cash car” questions….and keep adding to the list….and will have them saved under the categories link-under Cash Car.

And when we got home from shopping…Katie and Gregory counted out all of the money…what a great math lesson!

Cash Car” challenge…..see if your little ones can come up with the questions…and you have to answer them…..this is definitely more challenging.   Can they come up with the red light challenge questions…understanding what it means to make a question more challenging?!  Use the silly mama strategy….find under the teach me to talk page….so…… make mistakes when answering the questions….and ask your little one to edit your answer and help you to get it right!

Have fun with your little one or big one!






knee scooter

About Kim

My name is Kim Marino and I have been practicing as a licensed speech and language pathologist since 1993. I work on Long Island providing diagnostic evaluations and services to children from birth to age 21. My experience is vast and am proud to say that I work with children that may present with articulation and phonological concerns, oral motor feeding concerns, Down Syndrome feeding, cognitive rehabilitation, auditory processing delays, receptive language delays, cleft palate feeding and sound development and expressive language delays. Most importantly, I am the mother of four amazing children and am happily married to my childhood sweetheart. I feel blessed to have my four children and so lucky to share this journey in life with my husband. I always had it somewhere in my head that I wanted to develop a blog or a website of some sort so that I could provide families with an additional that parents could help their little ones become a better communicator. And as I was developing this blog....I realized that I also needed to share the stories about my life and my children....and the funny things along the way that help to keep me smiling. Whether you are a working mother or not...finding balance between home, children and life can be a challenge....I hope that my blog helps to bring a smile to your face..and also some tools to help you help your little or big one. I hope you enjoy! Kim
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