Yikes… the official first day of summer is days away. Warmer weather, family barbecues, trips to the pool, soccer games and….your precious kids home all day or in a non-school routine for three months! During these three summer months, more time is often spent in the car as you shuttle between summer camps, daycare, play dates, classes, and sporting events for family members. Keeping kids occupied, happy and even well- mannered during random 5 to 30 minutes car rides or while waiting for a sibling to finish day camp can be difficult.
I-Phones, I-Pads and hand held video games are currently a popular way to keep children occupied during these situations. While there are certainly some beneficial games and applications for children, it’s important to take advantage of car moments and encourage activities that serve a purpose of growth and development while also being fun and socially interactive!
Here is a list of some quick, easy and small things you probably already have around the house that can be put together in your “Summer Survival Car Bag”. Involve your child in filling up your favorite tote with all or some of the items below and store in your car’s trunk. That way you will always have fun, educational activities available at your fingertips!
Summer Survival Bag
· Bottled Water
· Snacks- whole wheat pretzels, crackers, dried fruit etc.. Choose items that won’t melt when left in a hot car
· Tennis Shoes
· Colored pencils- because crayons, markers can melt!
· Coloring book or notepad
Deck of cards- “Go Fish” is a great game for young children to start recognizing numbers. Older kids can play Hears, War or any other favorite games
· Jump rope- if jumping roping is too advanced, have your child place a jump rope in a line on the ground and hop back and forth over the rope. One foot, two feet etc…
· Sidewalk Chalk
· Books to read
· Tennis ball/Soccer ball etc..
· Legos or Duplo blocks
· Etch a Sketch- mini ones retail at just $10.00
· Playdoh- save for outdoor situations (the park, sibling soccer game etc..)
*Play Charades or Simon Says- no materials needed but great activity to do anywhere and at anytime!
In the Car Activities/Games :
· Treasure Hunt Jar- fill a clear plastic jar with screw type lid (used peanut butter jar, etc..) with bird seed or sand and hide small object such as paper clip, marble, and rubber band. Have the child shake the jar around to find hidden object. Make sure to tap jar closed : )
· 20 Questions -think of an object and child can ask 20 yes or no questions to figure out the object. Trade roles of who asks the questions!
· I Spy- observing either out the window or in the car. Ask them to find something red, something bigger than a car, find something about 4 feet long etc… Another way to play, give the child a picture book or magazine and have them Spy something in the book or magazine
· Music- from the Library check- out sing along CD’s or audio books based on your childs age and interest.
*Use materials with your child at your discretion, some children can handle coloring in the car and some cannot. Use your best judgment and have fun!