Added Note: I added links for the Children's Songbook CD and States CD.
Another added note: You can download the MP3 of The Books in the Old Testament and The Books in the New Testament from this page. You can listen to them before downloading or burning to a CD if you want.
I know it’s not the car edition anymore, but I was inspired by a few of last weeks’ posts to share what works for us.
I have no problem talking to my babies and kids in the van or pretty much anywhere because it teaches them vocabulary and communication. I want them to talk to me when they’re teens so I’m starting young to encourage it through example. And every once in a while to add variety to our regular trips I put on a kid CD. By 4 ½ years my oldest son knew all fifty states in alphabetical order and their capitals from listening to a fun musical CD about his states. My three year old daughter knows most of them as well—because it’s fun. Children love to sing and most children’s songs teach something, be it daily routines, rhythm and rhyme, counting, emotions, colors, you name it! And songs make it easy to learn. My kids also learned the Books of the Old Testament and New Testament in order because of songs (from the Primary Children's Songbook).
Car games teach a lot as well. And you don’t need supplies most of the time.
1. “I spy” teaches them to be observant and takes their mind off of having a tantrum about how long they’ve been in the car. They love “I spy.” “I spy with my little eye . . .” and then you describe what you see with more and more detail until they see it. And you let them take turns. And there’s no score. Just fun and lots of praise.
2. Counting cars by color. “Let’s count all the red cars.”
3. Quiz games. What animal says . . . ? Or how many sides does a hexagon have? What does red and orange make? How do you spell . . .? Who was the fifth president of the United States? Where does the president live? Just rattle off a bunch of random questions and they’ll feel really good about themselves if they know the answer and if they don’t, they’ll know it for next time.
4. One from my youth I have passed on to my kids is ducking our heads as we drive under overpasses, and lifting our feet over all cattle crossings and railroad tracks. I guess that one doesn’t teach a whole lot, but it’s a fun family thing to occupy their minds until we reach our destination.
5. Help me remember my shopping list (one of my favorites). This reminds me of a really old Sesame Street episode about a child skipping to the store reciting the three or four items over and over again so as not to forget them. I’ll say to them, “Okay kids, we are going to Wal-Mart to get: bananas, band-aids, light bulbs and tights. I’ll say bananas, and then Pookie you say band-aids, G remember light bulbs and I’ll help Bun say tights. Can you remember that?” And then we’ll go in order and eventually everyone is saying the whole list – or more like chanting the whole list to a rhythm. This usually results in as soon as we get there the welcome lady or man handing out the smiley stickers and the children reciting to them what we’re getting and everyone else we come in contact with. But hey, no tantrums and good helpers learning to memorize at a young age works for me!