Stuck in traffic? On a road trip? Or just having a rough morning commute? Here are 10 things you can do right now with your child in the car to help pass the time!
This is always a fun way to pass the time but don’t let them sing alone! Join in on the fun! This will help your child engage with the song longer. You can also make singing a game by trying to match the volume of the song. For example, turn it down really low and suggest that you whisper sing.
- Listen to a Book on Tape or Podcast
When singing doesn’t work, try a book on tape or a podcast. We have seen firsthand at SEEC how engaged children are when listening to an audio book. There are a lot of great free options out there, inclduing audio books from your local library that you can check out directly onto your device.
- Mystery Bag Object
Pass your child a bag full of miscellaneous items. Tell them to stick their hand into the bag without peaking and describe what they are feeling. Work together to try and guess what the item is.
- Zip and Button a Coat
Make car time a productive learning opportunity by having your child practice their fine motor skills on their jacket buttons and zippers. Other people in the car? Let them work on those coats too!
- Take Photos
Pass your child your phone so they can take photos of their journey. It is a great way to pass time and also provides you with their view of the world (this activity is best done with a second non-driving adult in the car to ensure phone or camera safety).
- Start a Band
Do you have a water bottle? Pens? Or anything that can shake or rattle? Then you have a band! Let your child use a pen to tap on different surfaces and create their own “drum.” Fill an empty water bottle with paper clips or other small items and convert it into a shaker!
No paper? No problem. This is a great chance to let your child explore drawing on new and different materials. An old map, napkin, or even a paper grocery bag can make a great drawing surface! Be sure to keep an eye on your child to make sure their pen doesn’t wander too far!
- 5 Question Game
A condensed version of 20 questions is a great way to engage your child. Have them think of something and then use 5 descriptive questions to try to guess what it is. Then switch!
- Balance Game
Pass your child an unbreakable object and ask them to balance it on their leg, knee, hand, head, etc. Time them to see how long they can balance each item. This is a great way to invite your child to sit still even if it is just for a few seconds.
When all else fails. Stop. It may take you a little longer to get to your destination but letting your child out of the seat to do some moving may help the ride go much smoother. If possible, find a safe place to park and do some running around the car or jumping jacks! To encourage them back into their seat make it a game to see who can get in the car first.
Have other ideas? Please share!