Travelling with Kids: Reading Games for the Road

car reading games

Holidaying with kids can be lots of fun – but the actual travelling part of it can be far from it! Children can often get bored and restless on long car rides, but luckily, there are some ways you can keep them entertained, all while building important reading skills.

Play ‘I Spy’: This classic car journey game is perfect for helping your child with phonics (i.e. developing an ear for sounds). Pay attention to your surroundings and take turns giving clues about an object you have spotted. For example, “I spy with my little eye, something beginning with mmm.

Sound Lotto: Developing strong listening skills is important for your child’s reading skills too. Make a list of the sounds you expect to hear on your travels, such as trucks, motorbikes, laughter, high winds, or a particular instrument in a song played on the radio. Each time someone hears the sound, they can shout ‘Bingo!’ Older children can play a more sophisticated version using the sounds in certain words.

Find a word that starts with the letter…: Word games help your child think about word structures and increase your child’s awareness of letters and sounds. Take a few minutes to search for words that begin with a particular letter, such as ‘B’. Kick the game off by giving your children a few examples, such as ‘barn’ or ‘baby’ and ask them to find more.

Make time for rhymes: Rhyming is a powerful way to develop phonological awareness. You can start off by taking your child’s first name and match it with words that rhyme. Then take turns finding other things you come across and coming up with words that rhyme with these too.

Put things into categories: Vocabulary is one of the five essential components of reading instruction. Pick a theme such as ‘red’ or ‘animals’ and have every family member find ten words that fall under this category. This game will aid in your child’s vocabulary development after they eventually hear someone’s suggestion and ask, “What does that word mean?”.

Licence plates and signs: Go on a letter hunt and have your child spell a word that they know, such as their first name. Start by trying to find the first letter on licence plates or road signs. “The first letter in your name is ‘S’, can you find a licence plate or sign with an ‘S’ on it”, and so on.

What would you do if…:  This game is a great way to spend your time together and get to know how your children think. It also uses the same processes of comprehension, analysis and expression applied when children are reading. Think of interesting scenarios and ask your child what they would do in that situation. For example, “What would you do if you discovered hidden treasure?” or “What would you do if you got lost in the shopping mall?” You can also stock up on riddle or joke books, or some educational apps on your phone or tablet device to give your child some positive educational screen time on your travels.

Do you have any other fun games you play with your children while travelling?

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