Between your career, housework, and everything else you have on your schedule, it can be hard to find time to engage in educational activities with your child.
But, if you drive your child to school, this is one uninterrupted block of time you have together every weekday. Why not take advantage of that moment to start the school day right with some fun, educational activities?
Not only will it get your child’s mind warmed up for class, but the association between games and education will help her think of learning as fun. That’s not to mention the benefits you’ll get from bonding and taking your mind off the traffic.
Car games don’t have to be reserved for long trips. When it comes to games that are short, fun, educational, and require no equipment, your imagination’s the limit.
Try a few of the ideas listed below, test out your own variations, and ask your child to help you come up with new fun games you can play.
In this simple language and vocabulary game, you and your child take turns coming up with a random word. The other person has to come up with as many rhyming words as she can. Or, you could take turns thinking of homophones — words that sound the same but are spelled differently, like to, too, and two — and defining the differences among them.
Tell your child how many miles you’re driving to school, and how fast you’re driving. Then, ask her to calculate how long it will take you to arrive. Or, ask how fast you would need to drive to get to school in 15 or 30 minutes.
Build a story by taking turns contributing a single word or sentence. Try incorporating objects you see on the way to school. You can use this as an opportunity to identify story structure by asking your child to identify the beginning, middle, and end of your story. Or you can focus on infusing your story with literary devices, like similes or metaphors.
Pick a two-digit number of the day. Share it with your child when you start the drive, and have her add, subtract, multiply, or divide numbers she sees on license plates or signs to get to that number. See how many different equations she can come up with.
Is your child learning about music or taking instrument lessons in school? On your next trip to school, play music on the way there and discuss it. Try naming the different instruments used, determining the time signature in the song, or identifying the intervals between notes.
Take turns telling stories using only words that start with a single letter: “Amazing Allison always asks…” Whoever can tell the longest story wins. Move through a new letter each time to reinforce your child’s knowledge of the alphabet.
Ask your child what she’s learning in school, and make up a song about it together. Studies have shown that music helps with memory recall.
Once you’re in the habit of playing games on the way to school, you’ll be surprised how much easier it is to get your child ready for the day and into the car!
5 Math Games to Play on Your Weekend Road Trip. (n.d.). Retrieved November 10, 2014, from Kidventurous
Janel (No last name given). (2014). Get Ready for School with These Math Games. Retrieved from A Mom’s Take
Kuffner, P. (2001). Homophone Fun. Retrieved from Family Education
Mitchell, H. (2013, December 30). Why Does Music Aid in Memorization. Retrieved November 6, 2014, from The Wall Street Journal
Lynette, R. 3 More Games to Play While Waiting. (2010). Retrieved from Minds in Bloom
Padykula, J. (n.d.). 7 word games to play on the commute to school. Retrieved from Canadian Living