There are many car activities that you can do that don't need a DVD player or CD player. Driving in a car seems to change how your brain works. It always made me more creative. Poems would come to my mind as I was driving. Driving in the country is a different experience than driving in the city. I find it very relaxing.
Teach your child how to read the maps. Give each child a map and have them follow along with it even if you know where you are going. This car activity will serve them well throughout their lives as they learn how to find the places on the map.
Look for a sign or license plate that has the letter A on it. Then find B. etc. If there is a group in the car, the game progresses fairly fast. It not only reinforces the letters but is a fun game even for the adults.
License Plate Game
This one works best when you are traveling where there are a lot of cars and trucks such as on an Interstate. Write down each new state you find on the license plates. You can also find unusual license plates for the same state now that there are specialty plates available. See who finds the most unusual license plate.
Take time to count things. You pick what you are looking for. When I was a kid we used to count Windmills on farms and VW bugs, but now those are almost gone so you have to pick something else that you see regularly but not too often such as:
- Unusual Cars such as PT Cruiser
- Unusual License Plates
- Moving Trucks with different states on them
Figure out what you want to look for such as colors, numbers, or letters. The person in charge says "I spy something blue" or whatever they see that others can see also. Then the other people make their best guess as to what it is. When the answer is guessed, then pass the game onto the next person. If no one can guess it, the first player tells what it was. Then go on to the next person.
Singing Favorite Songs
Have some songs that everyone knows that you can sing. If not everyone knows them, you can teach them to sing them as you travel.
Make up a bingo board on a piece of cardboard or posterboard. Pick out a number of things you are likely to see as you travel. You will need about 24 things. Make a 5 x 5 grid with the center as a free space. Then put the cardboard in a clear plastic bag. Use a dry erase marker to mark it.
You will want some easy items and some harder items to search for. This car activity increases the observation skills.
The object of the game is to get five objects in row either across, up and down, or diagonally.
You could also just make them on paper and print them out.
Each sheet has the same items but in different places.
Some suggestions for items on grid:
- Traffic Light
- Stop Sign
- Interstate Sign
- Red Car
- Moving Truck
- Yield Sign
- PT Cruiser
Think of things that you might see along the way of where you will be traveling.
Fill a small shoe box or plastic box with crayons, paper, activity book, small cars, small dolls, etc. A Dollar Store is a great place to find inexpensive things to put in it. Add some plastic zip bags to keep treasures in that are gathered along the trip.
Time to Talk
Use the travel time as the time to talk to each other. This car activity opens up the communications between the people in the car. We had one child who would only open up and talk when we were in the car. I guess he felt he had our undivided attention at that time.