On an average day as a momma of three I start my day by driving my oldest to school which takes approximately 20 minutes (on a good day school traffic is awful) each way. That is 40 minutes in the car just dropping of #1. If it is #2’s preschool day then it is another 15 minutes each way in the car. We are now up to 70 minutes of car time and we have not had the need to run any errands or have gone to any extracurricular activities. That is an over an hour a day in the CAR! This is essentially wasted time that with little effort you can use to educate your child and have their undivided attention (since they are literally strapped down). Here are some things that I do:
Use your VES(vehicle entertainment system) for good by playing educational DVD’s. Some of my favorites are SuperWhy!, Between the Lions, LeapFrog letter factory, and Reading Rainbow. Utilize your public library so you don’t have to buy countless DVD’s and you have an endless supply at your disposal.
Children’s Music. Have you ever had a song stuck in your head. It is because the melody of the song has works as a memory aid. Music is one of the most effective ways to teach a child. There are many artists that cater to teaching children. Some of the best are Raffia, Greg and Steve, Dr. Jean, and even Mickey Mouse. These artists teach everything from colors and shapes to continents and parts of an insect. You can often borrow these CD’s from your local library and play them until you and your child has learned the content.
Books on Tape. My oldest became familiar with the American Girl series when we borrowed the books on tape from the library. It is a great way to build reading comprehension in little ones and expose them to books they are not quite ready to read on their own. Plus then your ride to dance can count toward their nightly reading minutes.
Word games. Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate individual sounds-phonemes–in spoken words. Before children learn to read print, they need to become aware of how the sounds in words work. Therefore you can ask them to identify the first sound in a word such as “d” (the sound not the letter) for dog. You can then progress to middle or ending sounds. Rhyming is part of phonemic awareness so have them come up with words that rhyme to words you say. Blending is a preceding skill to reading where you say the sounds for the letters d-o-g and they have to put them together to say dog. Similarly they can count syllables in words such as caterpillar, cat-er-pill-ar 4 syllables. My four year old has played these games countless times and now likes to challenge me.
Use visual aids. The more your child sees something, the more they will remember it. You can create charts and put it on the back of the seat in front of them as a visual reminders of their learning. My son is learning his color words and I found a shocker chart at the dollar store to reinforce his learning. You can create a chart about anything your child is learning.
Good old Flash Cards Keep flash cards with whatever content you choose and have your child practice them in the car.
Don’t forget the classics! Games such a 20 questions and I spy teach reasoning and questioning skills. They allow them to use deductive reasoning to solve the riddle.
Please remember that your most important job while driving is getting your children to their destinations safely but there is no reason you cannot make the best of your time.