“Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?”…sound familiar?

We have put together a list of learning games for various ages that will not only keep your little restless ones entertained, but the learning games will develop your child’s cognitive skills too. Everyone’s a winner!

The following games keep your little ones entertained or help to wind them down, with a mix of silly and entertaining games, and simple games that help develop skills for calculation, comparison of sizes and lengths, learning colours, letters, learning new words, analysing & guessing the attributes of objects, memory and attention!The silly games will provide mental relaxation for your child between the cognitive ones! For the little travellers’, there is a lot of fun to be had so let’s go with the long journey games for the kids!

1. Talking friend – 1yr old (baby)

Take a scarf, a cardigan, yours or your child’s. Wrap your hands with this so that your thumb and fingers make “a mouth”. If you move your fingers towards and away from your thumb – the mouth opens and closes. Make the mouth “talk” with a funny muppet voice! Talk to your child as if it’s an imaginative animal. Ask how he’s doing and what’s upsetting him. The mouth can kiss the baby, tickle or even tell them how to get to the bathroom! Enjoy the imagination mum, no matter how silly you feel, you are helping your child’s development without knowing!

For more games for 0-1 year olds look up at our Free PlayMama 0-1 Lite app

2. For the youngest…

If your baby is at their first or second year, play easy learning games for development:

  • Touch their body parts and count how many of them they have out loud (one knee, second knee, one ear, second ear, one nose and … just one nose!)
  • Finger games or just naming and counting fingers (please see our PlayMama app for 0-1 and 1-2 for finger games)
  • Moving a 2-finger character walking along their body that sing songs, sniffs or comments on what “he” sees, perhaps counting the objects around the car, naming the colours, calling the names of people in the car. Really… try sniffing shoes or socks – a great way to make the kids laugh and keep them entertained!

3. Catch my fingers – 1+ yrs (baby)

Make a character with your 2 fingers and “walk” along your child’s body. Tease him or her to “catch me”. You can make this a lot of intrigue and fun when the finger character runs away or shouts loudly if caught. If your child is 4 or 5 – you can swap the roles!

4. I spy… 2.5+yrs

Ask your child to find simple objects by naming one of their features: yellow house, big bus, small bicycle, old lady, big tree – whatever they see around. When you child is used to the game, you can make them guess comparative qualities: a big and a small house, a big and a small car. If they are learning something at nursery encourage this skill for example learning shapes and sizes.

5. Inventing a story – 3+yrs

Story-time with kids made exciting! Mum or Dad to start with a few then ask you child to say what happens next. If you feel that your little one is challenging their imagination by inventing new twists in the story, then start with provocative questions. For example, “and then Little Red Riding Hood saw … a hedgehog? A lion? What if she meets a lion? Do you think she would run away or offer him a cake? So, what animal do you think she meets in our story?”

With little bit of practice this can become a favourite for your child with the stories opening limitless imagination!

6. Car Counting & Colours – 3+yrs

Easy game for all the family to enjoy – everyone picks a colour of car to count and when it passes by you win a point! Surprising to learn the most popular colour of car in your town or your journey, however, in our experience its usually the colour car your child counts that is the most popular 😉

7. Right or wrong  –  3 yrs

This is a way great opportunity for some silly laughter! Say the statement and ask your children to confirm if the statement is right or wrong by lifting their arms up or clasping hands. Let’s start: The Sky is Green. “NO!” The trees are green. “Yes!” (clap clap clap). Cars can fly. “No!” It’s also a good idea to encourage and help your kids to analyse the attributes of the objects. “Hair is liquid” – anyone disagree?

8. What’s in common? – 3+ yrs

This game develops the skill of categorising; name 4 objects and ask your child what’s different. If you’re in a car, it can be A Tree, A Road, A Car, A Bus. If you’re in a plane, it can be The sky, the sun, Clouds, a Boat. Or a snack or lunch that is packed – a cucumber, carrot, juice, napkin. If you choose items that are visible around you – if gives them more opportunity to discuss why!

9. Right or wrong  –  3 yrs

This is a way great opportunity for some silly laughter! Say the statement and ask your children to confirm if the statement is right or wrong by lifting their arms up or clasping hands. Let’s start: The Sky is Green. “NO!” The trees are green. “Yes!” (clap clap clap). Cars can fly. “No!” It’s also a good idea to encourage and help your kids to analyse the attributes of the objects. “Hair is liquid” – anyone disagree?

10. Palm Drawings 3+yrs

Draw a circle on your child’s palm and say “It’s a Circle.” Then ask your child to draw on your palm when your eyes are closed. Then guess what they have drawn – helps children’s attention and memory when practicing shapes letters or anything imaginative they want to draw!

11. Finger Theatre! 3.5+yrs

Roleplay game with only your fingers? A fun and easy learning game…Let’s try! Hold your two fingers against their two fingers and create characters, hold funny discussions with each other, offer to take a seat, pretend to jump and play together and even look through the window – the sillier the better – let them run free!!! Finger theatre a convenient game when there are no toys around – just you, your kids and your fingers!

12. Guess the cartoons or characters

Elsa from Disney? Scooby Doo? How much do you children love cartoons and characters?! One person challenges the other to guess who it is – the cat who’s always chasing the mouse but finds himself in awful situations. Who is a big smelly pig helping a cub to grow up after left alone in jungle? If struggling then you can give more clues or offer your kids to ask the questions. Practicing asking questions is not as easy as it sounds for young children, so encouragement with this learning games develops great skills.

13. Measure the body! – 3.5+yrs

This is great if you need to calm the kids down in the car; show your child you’re measuring their legs using your fingers in steps. How many steps are your fingers “walking” – up the whole leg? If your child likes the idea, take their hand to “measure” the length of your arms. Any other objects handy in the car? Its great fun for kids measuring the length of the front seat or a car window with a child’s shoe, hand or fingers!

14. Colour the World! 4+yrs

Ask your child to name as many blue objects as they know or can see. You can split by groups (one child and one adult make one group and compete with another group). Having a buddy to help is always encouraging and supportive at the same time whilst exploring a new game! A great way to get them to talk about their favourite colours.

15. What letter is it? 4 yrs

Practicing with letters can be more fun than just improving your child’s learning; even if your child is not reading yet it’s a great method to help them learn phonetics. So, let you’re your little learner correct you if you pretend the object begin with the wrong letter – …a Train begins with T, Dad begins with F… they’ll enjoy laughing at silly mamma!

16. Guess the word 4 yrs

Start describing something you want your young child to guess…”It’s tall, green and growing…”It’s small with 4 wheels and transports people around…” It’s huge and transports people in the sky. It can be anything… “It’s made of paper, the pages stick together & it tells a story… it’s round with dough on bottom and cheese and tomato on top we bake it in the oven.”

17. Find a word beginning with T 4+yrs

More than one car game to keep them entertained here, choose a letter and one by one name the words beginning with this letter. ..Tree, throne, trampoline, tool, taxi etc. It can be something around the car, a plane or a train. Or any word your little one knows and remembers. This helps your child with phonetics and speech and if they’re over 7, offer to name only objectives, or adjectives, or even verbs only! (draw, dive, dig).

18. Less than or More than? 4+yrs

Less than or more than? As soon as your little one is competent with the idea of numbers, this game can help kids to develop their comparison skills. Chose a secret number between 1 and 10. And let the others find out what you’ve chosen by asking is it less than 3? No? Is it more than 7? Is it 5?

 

19. Noughts & Crosses – 5+

If you have a pen a paper, this is an exciting game for kids on long journeys and helps develop their competitiveness! Don’t underestimate how great this game can be to entertain the kids!

20. How things help 6+yrs

This a game for little physicists. Choose any event, natural phenomenon or just a live object, animal or insect and name the benefits or importance of it. It can be positive (Sun makes flowers grow, gives energy to the sun batteries, warms up the atmosphere, dries up the washed clothes, helps berries to grow, gives light) and negative (dehydrate the grass, burns the forest). Rain (Fills with water, washes away the grease, cool down the temperature, makes muddy puddles and also, makes so many things boring…). Eating food. Snowing. Spiders… get your thinking hats on parents!


21. Name the Place!– 6 yrs+

This game refreshes children’s cognitive skills – by encouraging them to remember names of towns cities or countries, you’ll be surprised how well this improves their memory and attention; and pre-geography training! If they are advanced help them to differentiate cities and countries; “Let’s name towns beginning with M – Manchester, S Spain etc!

Or alternatively, one can name the town on A, the second person – on B, the third on C and so on.

If your kids exert competitiveness nicely, let’s add some rules for them to win – you or your early learner can win if the last player can’t name the place!

 

22. Guess the object – 20 questions 6+yrs

A great car game for parents and kids is 20 questions, pick a word and let the others in the car guess it by asking questions. Older kids tend to ask more inventive questions and the younger kids are such fast learners too; so… is it growing? moving? in a house? Talking?

 

We hope you can use some of these from our Car Games for Kids blog, to help your Journeys this Christmas!