Friday, October 14, 2011

Cartime/Learning time too!

Lots of area schools will be on Fall Break this weekend, so we turn our thoughts to being on the road...

Parents, let’s get out of the habit of turning on the DVD player, giving your kids your phone to play Angry Birds or just plain ignoring them while you are chatting on your phone, in the car. I know sometimes you just want some quiet time in the car, especially on a long car ride to visit Grandma and Pop, but if you are just going to Publix down the road or driving to school, why not squeeze in some learning time.  Here are some fun travel games you can play with your child.

1.) See how many things you can find that are rectangles shaped or how many things you can find that are red.  You use your own gauge for what your child might know. Again, it is the point of talking and getting some learning time in. For younger children, sing songs such as Old MacDonald to help them learn their animals and animal sounds.

2.) Draw and cut out magazine pictures of things that you might see while driving. For example, a school buses, a person on a bike, etc. Glue the pictures to individual index cards and cover them with contact paper for durability if you want. While you are driving, let your child pick three cards. Once she has spotted all three items, tell her she has won! And I am sure by this time you are at your destination.

3.) On your way back home, as you are going down your street, practice your address. You can say as you are pulling into your driveway, “Here we are! 1012 Market Street!”

4.) Another idea while driving is making up stories. You can start your child off by saying, “Once upon a time, there were”… and then have your child fill in the blanks. You can get as elaborate as you want or just make it simple. The idea is developing your child’s vocabulary all the while, sparking their imagination! When you get home, you could even make a book with your original story. You could dictate as your child retells the story. Again, a great teaching moment as it helps build your child’s vocabulary. Then, after you write the story in your own child’s words, have him illustrate each page. I know it sounds like a lot, but it really isn’t. You already made up the story as you were driving, you get home, write down the story on construction paper, have your child draw the pictures and then staple it together and there you have it! You not only made up a story with your child, but most importantly, you gave him your time. That is what they will remember and cherish the most.  

Things to remember: Kindergarten readiness is a journey, not a destination, so use your "journeying" as an opportunity to build skills through games and creative activities in the car.

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