In our family, we often use long weekends as an opportunity to take road trips. But long weekends aren’t the only time that we spend in the car. When I sit down to think about it, a good percentage of my day is spent driving the kids around town. It is no easy feat to get a toddler and a pre-teen out of the house in the morning, but once we make it to the car, I like to talk with my girls to calm down, reset and set the tone for a good and productive day.
Whether it is commuting to school or a long trip- car rides offer a great place for practicing language skills. It is often a time when you have everyone in the same place at the same time and can garner their attention. Here are a few tips for language activities that you can try on your next ride.
The Category Game- Name a category like “animals” or “foods.” Each person takes turns naming an item that fits into that group. If someone repeats or doesn’t give an answer he/she is out. The last person left in the game is the winner. You can increase the complexity by making your categories more specific (i.e. ocean animals, farm animals, foods that are green, outdoor occupations, etc.)
The Name Game- each person takes turns giving a name for each letter of the alphabet. This game can also be used with cities or states. Same rules apply- no repeats!
Rhyming Fun- the first player says a word like “rock” and each player gives a rhyming word (sock, lock, clock, dock.) The first person who is unable to give a rhyming word is out. Play continues until only one person is left in the game.
Audiobooks - a great option for longer rides with older children and adults
Music – sing nursery rhymes. Insert intentional pauses and let your preschooler fill in the blank. “Old McDonald had a farm e-i-e-i-o. And on his farm he had a _________.” Break the rules, allow his imagination the freedom to make up things on the farm and invent new sounds. The only rule is have fun!
Next time you are in the car, turn off the radio. Try a different activity or just talk to each other!