We are living in a society where more and more time is spent in the car. Long gone are the days when the father went to work in the only car the family owned, while the mother stayed at home with the children. In today’s society, most parents work outside of the home. Quality of time is much more important than the quantity of time a parent is able to spend with his/her child. “Make every minute count!” should be the parent’s motto.
Do we really need cars that come equipped with televisions and DVDs? Can’t’ we actually put some “quality” into the decreasing “quantity” of time that we are able to spend with our children?
The following are some ideas your child (and you!) might enjoy trying the next time you are going to or from home:
If you don’t know any silly songs, then a visit to your public library, a search on the internet, or a conversation with your child’s teacher is a good place to start. There are family-friendly sources like “Wee Sing” CDs that are compilations of songs children truly enjoy singing along with. And, of course, when the parent sings along, it multiplies the fun for the child! (“Mares eat oats, and does eat oats, and little lambs eat ivy, a kid ‘ll eat ivy too, wouldn’t you….”)
Mom and/or Dad, get off that cell phone! Let’s play! This car game can be adapted to the age of your child. “Let’s all look for a dog.” “Can anyone see a woman wearing a hat?” The first person to spy the intended object can nominate the next search item.
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Remember to match the difficulty to your child’s age. Start the game with an easy word like “cat” and take turns adding new words to the list. Cat-mat-sat-rat-pat-bat…
In this game, each person takes turns and adds one more item to the ever-increasing list of items already on the list. “I went to the store and bought a pencil.” Becomes “I went to the store and bought a pencil and an apple.” ETC.
Find the Letter
Each person tries to find the letter that is being searched for. Billboards, signs, and license plates make ideal places to look.
Make sure to gear this game to the age of your child. Don’t make it a chore! “Mr. Bee-bop has five cows and one walks down the road. How many cows are left?” “Miss Potato-flu had three kittens. She found two more. How many kittens does Miss Potato-flu have now?”
License Plate Game
See how many different license plates you and your children can find en route. If your child is too young to read the plates, then have him/her search for different colored license plates or cars.
I Spy Game
This game used to be referred to as “Is it bigger than a bread box?” or “Person, place, or thing?” Have the person who is “it” think of an item. The other players try to discover what the object is, asking questions which can only be answered with “yes” or “no.”
Pick a color and have the children list items that can be that color. Yellow: banana, sun, pencil, etc. Be forewarned: This can get pretty silly!
The Best and the Worst
Let each family member share the worst thing that happened to them that day, and then the very best thing. Hopefully, there will be many great things that your child will have on his/her list of “Bests.”
Sing Along with the Oldies
Ever wonder why so many twenty year olds love the Beatles? Chances are pretty good that they grew up singing along to the group that their parents discovered in the 1960s. Simon and Garfunkel, John Sebastian, Carly Simon, Randy Newman, the list goes on and on!
So, rather than turning the television on while your in the car with your child, why don’t you spend that same time having fun with your child? It may be that you’ll actually enjoy yourself! It’s probably pretty safe to say that your child will!