Our guest blog post is written by educator Christopher Herman and shares fun and educational activities for young learners to help combat cabin fever.
When the weather gets bad outside, it is important to keep your child occupied with engaging indoor activities. The humble toy car offers an excellent starting point for easy, educational fun. Below, check out our ideas to turn snow days into “ready, set, go” days with toy cars and items around the house.
If you need to pop out to purchase some of these supplies, turn your run to the store into an educational experience. Challenge kids to find the items and add up the totals, or have them compare prices on similar items and figure out the price differentials. These simple math activities help keep kids sharp over a school break.
What You Need
- Toy cars
- Shaving cream
- Construction paper (black, yellow)
- Poster board
- Cardboard (from an old box, for example)
Shaving Cream Racing
Trace while you race with this activity. Spread a thin layer of shaving cream on a wipeable service, and have kids race to create things that you call out. From letters to numbers, Shaving Cream Racing helps kids get ready to write by honing fine motor skills and working on number and letter recognition. For more of a challenge, help kids with letter-sound correspondence by calling out letter sounds rather than letter names.
Help kids cut strips of black construction paper (with optional yellow road marks) and challenge them to create tracks in the shape of different geometrical shapes. Call out a shape, and have kids create it with their tracks, noting the side and angle attributes as you play. Great shapes to focus on include triangles, circles, squares, rectangles, and even hexagons for a greater challenge.
Encourage your kids to use poster board and markers to create their very own board game, using toy cars as game pieces. From a Monopoly-style race to own the board, to a simple parking spot game that matches numbered cars with numbered spots, the possibilities here are endless. Practicing one-to-one correspondence, letter/number recognition, or shape identification in a game setting helps children get the exposure they need to master these skills, and have fun doing it.
Using cardboard and other items to “prop” it up, have kids create ramps to launch their toy cars down. Encourage them to play around with the height and length of their ramps, and have them hypothesize how these changes could affect how far the car can travel. Not only will this activity help children understand simple physics concepts, inclines and angles, but it will familiarize them with the scientific method, by making hypotheses and testing them.
Winter weather is no longer an excuse to eschew educational fun. The next time your kids are stuck indoors, make the most out of it with little more than some toy cars and common household items. These activities will spark creativity and hone important academic concepts that will give them a head start when school resumes again.
For more teaching resources, check out education.com.