Car Ride Games
One of my favorite early childhood reads is “Mind In The Making- The Seven Essential Skills Every Child Needs” written by Ellen Galinsky. In this book, Ms. Galinsky discusses the life skills that children need to develop to be successful , active, contributing members of the twenty -first century.
Ms. Galinsky discusses research, examples, and suggests activities for each of the seven essential skills she describes. The seven essential skills include: focus and self control, perspective taking, communicating, making connections, critical thinking, taking on challenges, and self-directed, engaged learning.
Developing self-control and focus is essential for children to achieve their goals in life, especially in our modern world of distractions and information overload. These skills can be taught and practiced through fun and playful activities. The following activities promote focus, help children follow rules, promote cognitive flexibility, and promote inhibitory control. They are fun and easy and perfect for the long car rides some of us will be taking during this holiday season.
The Story Game: Take turns elaborating on a story line, a little at a time. The first person starts a story, tells a little of it, and then “passes” it to the next person, who continues the story however she likes. Take turns going first, setting the time, place and characters. The challenge is to listen for ways the story changes and what would come next in the story.
Nursery Rhymes: Recite nursery rhymes together. Stop at certain parts and have child supply the missing word. Reciting nursery rhymes promotes phonemic awareness skills and oral fluency, two of the most essential pre-reading skills .
Number Search: Leader calls a number. Families with older children can call out a two digit number. First family member to spot the number gets to choose the next number.
Alphabet Search: Work together to find a word that begins with each letter of the alphabet, beginning with A and working your way all the way through the alphabet.
I Spy Rhyme: Sing or say… “I spy with my little eye, something that rhymes with “bee”. It has large green leaves, it’s a _________.” Have child fill in the missing word. Change up the rhyming pair and its description. It’s challenging to listen for the cue and the rhyme, and it develops self-control to resist the urge to not blurt out answer until the end.
I’m thinking of An Animal: A variation of 20 questions. Leader thinks of an animal. Take turns asking yes or no questions about the animal. For example, “Does it swim?” Remind children to ask questions that describe the animal. Use clues to guess the animal.
Categories: Name a category, for example, “Things that Buzz” or “Things that Fly”, or use family experience for a category such as “Places We Have Visited”. Take turns naming something in that category without repeating. For older children, choose a broader category with the added rule that each suggestion must begin with the last letter of the previous suggestion.
What’s the Same/What’s Different?: Pick two things. List qualities that are the same about them, and qualities that are different.
Five Best: Pick a topic, for example, Five Best Fruits. Give everyone a couple of minutes to think. Each person names their five best. In my family, we raise hands if someone names something on our own list.
Tell Me About Your Day Questions: Everyone shares! What was the best thing that happened to you today? Worst? Surprising? Exciting?