Friday, May 15, 2015

11 Screen Free Activities for the Car

Back in the day, when my family and I took car trips to visit relatives, we didn't have screens to occupy our time (man that makes me feel old). Thankfully, neither my brother nor I suffered from car sickness, so we could read or color, or in reality, spend lots of time picking on each other. As we got older, Gameboys started making an appearance, but we still didn't spend the whole time playing on them (batteries were expensive).

Now screen time is everywhere. Not only do we have portable tablets, but many cars come with built in screens for kids to watch movies on. One family I know has a rule, the screen will not be turned on unless the car ride is more than 30 minutes. I hope that I 5 minute car ride doesn't require a screen to occupy anyone (not that I can talk, I would likely be checking my phone in that 5 minute car ride).

Allison McDonald, has a blog called "No Time for Flash Cards," with many ideas regarding how to interact with your young child. Back in September of 2014, she posted a great article about screen free activities for the car.

Her suggestions include:
  1. Talk! You don't have a to have a life changing conversation with your child every car ride, just chat about their day or maybe their favorite food. As we all know, favorite foods can change daily with young children, so why not keep up to date?
  2. Tell a Story. Could be a favorite or could be made up.
  3. Books. Keep a few in the car for each child, and mix them up when they get bored.
  4. Mini Chalk Board (or white board if you're courageous enough to allow markers near your young child). They can doodle, scribble and practice their letters.
  5. Sing! Who cares if you're rendition of "Let It Go" doesn't sound like Indina Menzel? Belt it out with your kids, because they don't care.
  6. Coloring sheets. It's a classic and you can keep sheets in the car. Pro OT tip here: the Crayola Twistable crayons will not melt in the car during the summer!
  7. Practice letter sounds, spelling, math...keeps their brains active and can shorten homework time if they've already practiced.
  8. Play 20 questions. Can be adapted to the level of your child easily.
  9. Count cars. Ok, that sounds a bit tedious, but Allison had a great idea. Talk about how many cars of a color you'll see, or type (if your child loves Jeeps or motorcycles, look out for those instead) and just count those ones. See if you can beat your bet!
  10. Have a compliment circle in your car. Each person says one thing great about everyone else in the car!
  11. Get some fresh air between stops. Make a quick trip to that park, or park further away from your destination to include a walk.

For more information and ideas from "No Time For Flash Cards," visit Allison's blog here.


Shelly feels like she might float away with all this rain!

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