Forget the electronic devices and try a few ideas from Scholastic for kids on the bus or families on vacation. As posted on its website, Scholastic says put those long rides to good use with activities that keep the kids busy and build reading and math skills.
For grades K-3:
• Car bingo: Create a car bingo card with words, shapes, colors, and items that children will likely see during a trip (stop signs, billboards, railroad signs, etc.) to reinforce reading skills, math, and sight words.
• The number game: Look out the window and call out when you see one, two, three, or four of something, and so on.
• The alphabet game: One person chooses the right side of the road, and the other chooses the left. Call out objects that you see in alphabetical order (you can use a sign only for one letter). The first person to get to the letter “z” wins.
For grades 4-8:
• Capital game: Take note of each license plate you see, not by state, but by state capital. The first to correctly identify 10 state capitals wins.
• Cow game: One person takes the right side of the road, the other takes the left. Keep count of all the cows you see. You earn one point for each cow. When you see a cemetery out of your side of the car, you lose all your points.
• Animals galore: Decide on a number of points for each animal that you see (cow = 1 point, horse = 1 point, pig = 2 points, etc.). As you drive, add up the points. Play until one person gets 10 points, or for a set time.
• Math with license plates: Use the numbers on license plates to practice addition, subtraction, multiplication, and number patterns and see just how creative kids can get!