Educational Games for Car Trips

Do you have a long family road trip this summer? Are you dreading the idea of keeping your children entertained in the car? Instead of turning to electronic entertainment, try playing some of these games. They aren’t just a great way to pass the time, but they are educational and can be a positive experience for your family to share.

  1. Alphabet Game – This game can be played in a variety of ways. One way is to choose a subject (i.e. Girls’ names, places, or animals, etc.) Players take turns naming something in that category in alphabetical order. (aardvark, baboon, camel, donkey, etc.) Another way to play is to start with A and look for the alphabet in order on street signs, billboards, or license plates. First person to get to Z wins! (You can also do this with numbers and be the first to find 1-20 in order.)
  2. “I’m Going on a Trip” – This game is similar to the alphabet game in that players give responses in alphabetical order. The first person starts by saying, “I’m going on a trip and in my suitcase I packed an apple.” The next person says the same thing, but then adds to it: “…I packed an apple and a book.” As you can imagine, the game gets harder and really tests your memory the longer it goes on!
  3. Storytelling – One person starts a story with just a few sentences. The next person continues the story. The game really taps into your child’s creative side.
  4. Game Show – Host your own game show in your car. Try “Name That Tune”. Players take turns humming a few bars of a familiar tune that others then have to guess. Another game show idea is “20 Questions”. The first player thinks of a person, place, or thing. The other players can only ask questions that have a yes or no answer. Players can guess at any time – but any time they do – the question counts in the total. The game ends when the subject is guessed or the other players reach the 20 question limit.
  5. License Plate Game – This is an old favorite, especially if you are traveling on an interstate highway. There are many ways to play this game including counting how many different states you can find or trying to find license plates that start with the letter A, etc.
  6. Counting Cars – Choose a color or type of vehicle. Let the first person who finds 20 of that type choose the music to listen to for the next hour or the restaurant to eat at for the next meal.
  7. Map It Out – Even though many people use GPS for navigation, reading a map is a useful skill for children to develop. Prior to leaving on your trip, obtain or print out some maps of your route. Have children mark key locations as you see them.

Looking for additional games? Click here for more! You can also check out our blog post on Summer Learning Loss for more educational ideas!

Summer Math Ideas

Can you believe summer is more than half way over?!  Time has flown by! As mentioned in previous posts on Summer Learning Loss, “brain drain” has kicked in by now and (whether they want to admit it or not) they are itching for some mental stimulation. Below are some Math games and activities that will challenge them academically! Let’s mold those little mushy brains before it’s too late:

At Home Math

  • Teach your child how to write out a checkbook.  Make it fun by allowing your child to choose what he/she wants to “buy” (ex: New pair of shoes, video game, etc)
  • Have your child measure ingredients as you cook together
  • Label a soccer ball (or beach ball) with the numbers 0-9 in each hexagon.  Stand apart from your child and pass the ball back and forth.  Whatever numbers your thumbs land on when catching the ball are the numbers that you will add, subtract or multiply!
  • Pass a ball back and forth and count by 2’s, 3’s, 5’s, etc
  • Play “war” with a deck of cards–but add, subtract or multiply the two numbers together. Whoever says the correct answer first wins the cards
  • Play board games together!
  • Roll a double dice and have your child add, subtract or multiply the two numbers together
  • Let your child know what time you are leaving for an event, and have them calculate how much time there is between the current time and the time you are leaving
  • Start a change jar and at the end of the week, have your child count the contents
  • Pour different amounts of rice or water into three or four glasses that are the same size.  Compare the amounts of rice/water using terms such as more, less or same as

Math on the Go

  • Have your child count the items in the grocery cart. Have them tell you when you’ve reached a certain number
  • Give the child a set amount they can “spend” at the store. Have them add different items to reach the set amount
  • Have your child help by counting change
  • When at a restaurant, have your child find the most expensive item and the least expensive item on the menu.  Let them find the difference (subtract)
  • Have your child calculate the proper tip
  • Have your child write down license plate numbers. They can add, subtract and multiply the numbers. You can also have them put the license plate numbers in order from least to greatest
  • Have your child keep track of the time you left and the time you arrived, and calculate how long the trip took
  • If you are at the beach, have your child draw shapes in the sand

These are just a few basic ideas that you can do around the house and on the go!  Don’t let summer pass you by without some math fact practice and a few of these simple ideas!