More Than Just a Car Ride – Educationals on the Road

20 Feb

car educational materials

Going to various activities, along with running regular everyday errands can eat up a lot of time in our day. As soon DS was old enough to read on his own it occurred to me that I could make this time count rather than having him stare mindlessly out the window. Here are some ways I’ve found to make a car ride more than just a car ride.


I have always played music when in the car, so my son has heard whatever I played, which was a variety of age-level fun stuff to accomodate him and “regular” music for me. When we started homeschooling we added a different aspect to this as well. I decided that time in the car could be a time to introduce classical composers through general classical CDs as well as through the ClassicalKids CDs, which include fun stories that use each composer’s music in the story, either as background music or part of the story, and then include interesting facts about the composer and his life.

I also found this was a good time to do various “units” of music, foreign language songs, and songs that simply were created to teach specific information. We have used time in the car to learn various marches and other patriotic tunes, the words for the body parts in Spanish, the state capitals and numerous other songs that have been educational.

Books on CD

Somewhere along the line I realized that our library has a variety of audiobooks available, both for children and adults. Once in awhile we check one of these out and it allows for us to hear a good story while we’re taking a longer drive. I’ve been able to introduce him to several classic stories, and also some newer ones.


Like I said, I realized car time could be beneficial shortly after my son could read. I had a pocket on the back of my driver’s side seat that held a few toys and some things to keep him busy, but this organizer was not capable of holding very much, and could barely hold a small book or two. I solved the problem by going to Target, buying a cleaning caddy that had two side divisions, and strapping that into the middle of the back seat so my child could easily reach it. One side is for small toys and the other side is for books.

My son loves to read and he spends a good portion of his time in the car reading. His caddy has a chapter book or two, several regular books on various topics that are educational, and then maybe a book I printed from the computer from free ebooks I’ve downloaded, and once in awhile a magazine. I’ve had books on topics such as money and financial issues (he’s really into money!), a graphic novel on Sir Isaac Newton, books on things like weather and animals, and currently he has a short printed book about Benjamin Franklin that he has found he enjoys. There are also a couple of fun books in there for the days he’s not interested in that other stuff.

Every now and then I rotate the books around with others that are new that I have waiting just for his caddy or longer ones (like DK Eyewitness books) that he hasn’t seen in awhile. Every few months I use Scholastic Book Clubs to get a variety of books, and can usually get a good amount of decent books for $20-$30 knowing those books will last him awhile. It’s a double bonus: he learns (and is reading!) in time that would normally just be used with him sitting there doing nothing, and (SHH – a mommy secret), except for the occasional question, it often keeps him quiet for awhile.


Awhile back I was at an educational supply store when we came across something called the “Math Shark” which is basically a small electronic that looks like a calculator that has built in drills for various math functions. This little gizmo sits in the “toy side” of the caddy and is there when my son decides he’s up for some drills. He likes to bring me into the game and, since the Math Shark also includes a calculator function, come up with large numbers to ask me random multiplication questions.

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There are probably tons of other ideas for things to do in the car that would be beneficial for your children. Just look at the resources you have, use your creativity, and find a way to put that car time to good use!

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