Often parents ask me what are some easy, effective ways to teach their preschooler. These parents are looking for a quick, simple way to help their preschooler grasp concepts like letters, colors, sight words, and more. I always tell them one thing, "Do your teaching in the car!" Check out these fun, simple ways to teach your preschooler in the car.
Why the Car?
Parents always give me a crazy look when I say to teach them in the car. Think about it, children are often bored, strapped in, and looking for something to do. Take this time to help engage them in a fun, car safe activity and help them learn at the same time. It also seems much more manageable when you are working with your child in short intervals (such as a 20 minute drive to school) than it does to sit down at home and work together.
Check Out My Top Five Activities
There are tons of different activities for your preschooler to accomplish in the car, but these are my top five. I have found that these five activities are easy ways for your child to be entertained and take minimal effort from you. Simply turn down that radio and try one of these:
This one will probably bring you back to your childhood and playing the letter game, but you can do this with so many things. I keep a stack of flashcards for letters and numbers in my car, have my son draw one for the car trip and then count how many he can find on the road. This is a fantastic activity for letter and number recognition, as well as counting. You can also do this with shapes or colors for your younger children.
2. Red Light Races
Pick an activity your child needs to practice and have some red light races. Every time you stop at a red light, the child has to try and do as many of the activity before the light turns green. I have done this with sight word flashcards, basic addition facts, color flash cards, letter cards, spelling words, and so much more!
3. Opposite Challenges
Opposites are a preschool skill that many children are lacking. The car is a perfect chance to practice opposites. The adult gives the child a word and they have to come up with the opposite. Sometimes I even try to incorporate what is around us. For example, "It is cold outside, what is the opposite of cold?" Once they get the concept I make the challenges harder and use this as a way to build my children's vocabulary.
4. Pattern Spotters
Children are often amazed that patterns are all around us. Patterns are such an important pre-Math skill as well as developing sequencing skills for your preschooler. Take the time to see if your child can spot a pattern out the window. Are the dashed lines a pattern? What about the houses in the neighborhood? Keep trying to find different patterns as you drive. You will be amazed at home many you can find.
5. Write and Copy Signs
This activity will need some dry erase boards for the car, but it is my children's favorite activity. I have them pick a sign (start at a red light when the car is stopped) and then have them try to copy the letters on the sign onto their whiteboard. As your children get older and more experienced, you can move onto then reading the sign. This is a fun way to practice writing and letter recognition.
My family really does love learning in the car. It keeps the children entertained and gives them something to do when they are normally bored and complaining. These activities are also engaging and different, something they cannot do at home, and it make it that much more exciting. Give these ideas a try and see what other car learning activities you can come up with. Never again will you hear, "Are we there yet?"
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