Whether it’s term-time or the holidays, there’s always so much to squeeze in to each week that good intentions to play learning games usually get pushed towards the bottom of the list.
But long car journeys are a really good opportunity. Simple games distract my boys from their favourite hobbies of shrieking or squabbling. And you get to squeeze in a bit of learning on the way!
Video: Car journey games
Get ideas for fun and educational car games for kids! Educational author and parent Isabel Thomas shares her ideas to relieve the boredom of long car journeys.
Activities and games for the car
We love car bingo. Draw a grid on a piece of scrap paper, and write six things for your child to spot. If they can’t read yet, draw pictures instead.
Tell them it’s their job to look out for those things and tick them off. You can change the theme depending on the journey or your child’s interests. Try people, features of the landscape, weather, types of buildings, types of vehicles or animals, or road signs.
There are lots of games that use letter sounds, and they’re brilliant for helping beginner readers listen out for different sounds. Pick one where they have to think about the sound at the beginning and end of a word.
Even quicker and simpler is ‘I spy’ using colours or shapes instead of letter sounds. In this game, everyone tries to collect a rainbow by looking for objects that are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.
These games work just as well on bus and train journeys, or other times where you’re stuck in one place like waiting for an appointment. It’s learning by stealth!