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The National Capital

Trolley Museum


The National Capital Trolley Museum is one of Montgomery County's best-kept secrets! Spend an afternoon with your child working on their speech and language while you learn about, explore, and even ride historic trolley cars. The museum is open every Saturday and Sunday from 12-5 (except December 25th and 31st), but through August 15th 2019, as well as

October 3rd through November 15th, it is also open on Thursdays and Fridays from 10-2

for trolley rides and special children's activities.


EXPLORE: Expressive Narration
ENRICH: Retelling

ENGAGE: The ability to recount a personal experience



  • Take a ride on the historic streetcar! Before you ride, tell your child that you want him/her to remember as many details about the experience as possible so that he/she can tell a friend all about it.

  • During the ride, ask your child questions to prompt his/her memory of the trip, such as, "Where did we wait for the trolley?" "How did we get on the trolley?" "When you look out the window, what do you see?" "Are we moving slow or fast?"

  • After the ride, choose a friend or family member to have your child tell about his/her experience by completing these sentence starters:

    • We went to ...

    • We took a ride on a ...

    • During the ride, I saw ...

    • I thought the ride was ...

  • Challenge: See if your child can retell his/her experience in complete sentences without the sentence starters. You can use this Five Finger Retell visual as a prompt to help your child recount the key details of the ride.


EXPLORE: Comprehension of Basic Concepts
ENRICH: Understanding oral descriptions

ENGAGE: The ability to identify verbally-described objects



  • You can work on receptive language skills by playing an I Spy game with your child with the trolleys in the museum.

  • Take turns describing a trolley by color for the other person to find. For example, you could say "I spy a red trolley with green seats." Can your child scan the room and find the trolley you're describing?

  • Challenge: Add in other descriptive concepts to your "I spy" sentences, such as pattern (e.g. stripes, spots), size, and location in the room. An easy way to support your child if he/she needs help is to give a visual cue. For example, spread your hands wide apart to prompt the size word "long."


EXPLORE: Initial /r/ Blends
ENRICH: Correct Production of Speech Sounds for Clear Communication

ENGAGE: The ability to produce consonant blends containing /r/



  • Blends are groups of consonant sounds that blend together to make their own distinct consonant sound. Some children have difficulty pronouncing them and may omit a consonant sound, such as "dive" for "drive" or add a vowel in between the two consonants, such as "duh-rive."

  • Help your child practice each of the /r/ blends in single words:

    • /br/ - e.g. BRidge

    • /cr/ - e.g. CRown

    • /dr/ - e.g. DRive

    • /fr/ - e.g. FRee

    • /gr/ - e.g. GReat

    • /pr/ - e.g. PRice

    • /tr/ - e.g. TRolley

  • Next, have your child use /r/ blend words in sentences about what he/she has learned or seen at the museum. As an extra challenge, ask him/her to use the target word "TRolley" in each sentence as well. For example, "The TRolley took people across the BRidge."


EXPLORE: Pragmatic Language Skills
ENRICH: Positive Social Interactions

ENGAGE: The ability interact verbally while purchasing something



  • Give your child the task of buying the admission tickets at the museum, allowing them to practice engaging in polite interactions with strangers, asking informational questions, and exchanging money.

  • Before going to the museum, discuss the possible questions he/she might be asked, such as "How many adult tickets and how many child tickets do you need?" "Is anyone in your group a senior?" or "Are you interested in a tour?" Review appropriate responses to these questions.

  • Challenge your child to brainstorm two questions that he/she will ask while purchasing the tickets, such as "When does the next trolley ride leave?" or "Where can I find the restroom?"

  • Afterwards, debrief with your child to discuss how it went. Is there anything he/she could have said differently?

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