Learning in the Car

Driving in the car is a chore we do every day. ¬†It’s a great time to interact with your kiddo since they are a captive audience. ūüôā ¬†Of course, there is a lot to be said for a few minutes of silence. ¬†But if you get bored of the quiet (or it is not quiet at all because the natives are getting restless), here are a few ideas…

Babies

  • Talk out loud about….anything! ¬†Provide a running commentary about what is out the window, what streets you are on, where you are going, or what you’d like to eat for lunch.
  • Sing familiar songs: Mary Had a Little Lamb, ABCs, etc.
  • Talk out loud about….anything! ¬†Provide a running commentary about what is out the window, what streets you are on, where you are going, or what you’d like to eat for lunch.
  • Call attention to when the car stops and when it moves. ¬†Talk about red and green lights.

Toddlers and Preschoolers

  • Talk about….anything! ¬†Ask them questions about their day or where you are going. ¬†Try to ask them questions that will start a conversation and not just a “no” or “yes.”
  • Sing familiar songs, but change some words and see if they notice. ¬†Mary Had a Little Lion. ¬†Kids think this is hilarious!
  • Talk about driving rules and signs. ¬†What does a yellow light mean? ¬†Why are their lines on the road? ¬†What does a red sign mean?
  • Play “I Spy a Color.” ¬†See if they can find something red out the window or in the car. ¬†Once they find something, change the color.
  • Play “I’m Thinking of an Animal.” ¬†Traditionally you ask yes or no questions to figure out the animal. ¬†(Does the animal live on a farm? ¬†Does the animal fly?) ¬†For this age, giving those clues first and then allowing guessing works best. (I’m thinking of an animal that has wings and lives on a farm. ¬†Can you guess what it is?)
  • Ask some simple addition and subtraction math problems related to driving. ¬†(There are 3 people in the car now. ¬†After we pick up brother from school, how many will be in the car then?)
  • Count something together for the length of the (short) trip: the number of trucks you see, how many times you have to stop at a red light, the number of bicyclists on the road
  • Come up with as many rhymes as you can for a given word. ¬†Teach them how to go through the alphabet and rhyme: at, bat, cat, dat (no, that’s not a word)

Elementary

  • Talk about…anything! ¬†Driving is a great time to catch up and ask them about school, friends, sports, or hobbies.
  • Talk about driving. ¬†Why are steering wheels on the left side of the car? ¬†What does “miles per hour” mean? ¬†Why are speed limits important?
  • Ask “If you could be a _____________ what would you be and why?” ¬†Fill in the blank with animal, item in your classroom, food, plant, etc. ¬†Make sure you play, too!
  • Create an addition and subtraction game related to driving. ¬†Let the kids come up with rules. ¬†Maybe for every truck you get 2 points for every green light you pass and subtract a point for every red light. ¬†This is great mental math practice! ¬†You can always make the game easier or more difficult by changing the objects or point values.
  • Play “I’m Thinking of an Animal” the traditional way by asking yes or no questions to figure out the animal. ¬†Vary the game by playing “I’m Thinking of a Sport” or “I’m Thinking of a Number between 1 and 100” or “I’m Thinking of a Book.”
  • Play “I Spy something that starts with the letter _____”
  • Practice spelling words by taking turns saying the letters.
  • Take turns thinking of as many things that starts with a certain letter.
  • Choose a category of things (for example: food). ¬†Name something in that category (pizza). ¬†Then the next person has to name something that starts with the last letter of the item (a- apple…and then e- enchilada)