What do you while waiting at red lights? Back when I was teaching, my niece would ride to school with me and we would practice spelling words, recite her bible memory verse, and recall math facts at each red light. It was kind of like that show “Cash Cab,” except without the cash…or the cab 😉 But the thought of it being like the moving game show made it more fun for us. And using a red light as a timer added an extra level of excitement as she never knew when she was going to run out of time to answer the question! It was silly, fun, and educational. Definitely a two thumbs up activity for morning commutes!
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Fast forward 5 years and now I’m the mom of three toddlers and an infant. I’m not driving to the classroom anymore to teach, I teach my toddlers/preschoolers from home…and sometimes in the car. Yup. Just like my days of old (5 years ago), I still use red lights as an opportunity to connect, play, and learn with my kids! Here’s 5 things we do at red lights to learn, play, and connect with my kids:
This is about as simple as it gets! We just count. 1-2-3…..Sometimes we make it to the teens and sometimes we don’t. This game can be extended so many different ways, too. Speed counting, backwards counting, Skip counting, etc.
2. Singing Songs
This isn’t anything revolutionary since you’re probably listening to music and singing on the drive, but maybe use this short stop at the red light to dedicate to singing silly kid songs. If you don’t know many, you can find some new ones here that you might want to try out next time you’re stuck in traffic. Try to sing a different one at each stop (how many do you know?) This is a great chance to teach new nursery rhymes, which tend to be short and sweet 🙂
Preschoolers aren’t ready for spelling lists yet, but there may be other words they can spell, like “mom” “dad” and even their names! You can also incorporate some environmental print around them (STOP, food signs, street names, etc.)
Read now: 5 Unique Name Recognition Activities
Stop lights are just enough time to practice short prayers with toddlers and preschoolers. Even infants can benefit from hearing your prayers recited out loud!
5. Playing I Spy
This classic car game is PERFECT for toddlers! It’s a great way to expand vocabulary and help them become more aware of their surroundings. If you’ve got multiple kids in the car, this game becomes even more of a fun challenge for the whole family!
Read now: I Spy Number Trays
So how do you spend time sitting at traffic lights? Leave me your ideas in the comments below!
Going on a road trip? This Spot It game comes highly recommended!