The following are ideas that my family has created for learning in the car:
Find a radio station that reports on current events. Listen while you are driving in the car and you can discuss the stories you find interesting.
Print and Read
Print an educational article off the Internet and take it in the car. The kids can practice taking turns reading it out loud. You can find good articles at:
Stop by the Library
You can stop by the library at the beginning of your errands. That way the kids will have something new and exciting to read in the car.
What I Learned Today
Everyone in the car takes turns sharing something new that they learned.
I've found that riding in the car is a good time to ask one of the kids - "How did you like that show on PBS last night?" The child gets to think through and explain what he has learned from the show. The other kids, in the car, get to listen and learn.
While traveling, collect and read local brochures. You can find them at the chamber of commerce and hotels.
Eat New Foods
While traveling, go to restaurants and eat foods that are unique to the area.
I like to take time in the car to tell the kids about something I heard on a radio show or TV show. It is usually an inspirational story or interesting fact. This can also lead to a discussion.
I taught my son how to count change in a grocery store parking lot. I had decided to stay in the car, with him, while my husband ran in to the store for some groceries. We discovered that the ash tray was filled with change. So, I taught him the value of each coin and then gave him a handful of coins. He got to count the coins and then chose some for me to count.
Act Out a Scene
The kids can practice drama in the car. My girls have memorized lines from Little House on the Prairie episodes. They enjoy impressing me with how well they can do the scene. If you have enough people in the car, you can also read a play aloud.
PE While You're Out
If you're out doing errands, going to lessons, shopping, or going to an appointment - you can plan for some PE time. Here are some easy to do ideas:
- Stop at a park to exercise on the play equipment.
- Use the walking path at a hospital, park, or college.
- Bring along the bikes to ride in the park or on a bike path.
- Bring items to run and play with like - balls, hacky sack, beach ball, softball and bat.
When my girls jump out of the car, they love to collect things like - leaves, flowers, rocks, and acorns. You can give each child a plastic zipper bag and encourage them to collect natural things. There are usually plants, trees, and flowers around buildings and stores.Your child may also enjoy a magnifying glass and nature notebook for sketching.
- complete the picture
- cooperative drawing (take turns drawing a line or shape on one piece of paper)
- draw a map (from home to the destination)
- shape collage (with pre-cut colored paper shapes and glue stick)
- learn how to draw (with a book from the library)
I try to remember to carry our read-a-loud book with me. Whether we are going for long road trips or waiting in a parking lot for 10 minutes a book has helped to pass the time, educate, and keep fights from breaking out.