Fun Math Activities for the Car
These tried and true math activities will help your kids pass the time in the car—and keep their math skills sharp!
1. As Easy as 1-2-3!Even young children can play a counting game. You can mix this up and make it more or less challenging depending on the age of your kids. Here are some counting suggestions.
a) Vehicles of a specific color (e.g., blue cars)
b) A specific type of vehicle (e.g., vans or trucks or cars or motorcycles)
c) Buildings (e.g., restaurants, gas stations, stores, dry cleaners, supermarkets…)
f) Fire hydrants
g) Police cars
2. What number?Have the person who’s turn it is think of a number, then provide clues for the other players to guess the number. The clues should go from general to specific.
For example, if my number is 77, my clues might be as follows:
I’m thinking of a number that is two digits.
My number is bigger than 50.
The digits of my number are the same.
You can also play the game by having one child think of a number and the others ask questions to try to discover the number.
3. I Spy!Have one child say, “I spy something that is green.”
The others try to guess what he saw.
4. Signs SignsThis is a good game for older children. Start with your house number. Every time they see a new sign (e.g. speed limit) they must add it to the last number that was generated by the previous player.
Here’s an example: My house number is 64.
The first speed limit sign we see is 35. The first player then says 99.
The store where we stop is Pier 7. So the next player says 106.
When we leave there the speed changes to 45 and the next player says 151.
5. License Plate Add UpsHave children take turns adding the numbers on license plates.
6. The Grocery GameMy kids love this one. It started when we were on our way to the grocery store but you can play it when you are going anywhere.
The first person names a grocery store object beginning with “a”. He also begins with “one”. So “one anchovy” is followed by “two buns” and then “three cucumbers”. The game continues increasing by number and next letter of the alphabet until someone reaches twenty-six zucchinis!
7. Geography Counting GameChildren must start with the city, county, village, or street where they are at the time and #1. Example: #1 Springfield. The next player must name a place which begins with “d” (e.g. Denver) and #2. So that player would say, “#1 Springfield, #2 Denver. The next player must then name a place which begins with “r” (e.g., Russia). He would say, “#1 Springfield. #2 Denver. #3 Russia. Depending on the age of the children, the choices can be limited to North America or to “cities”. But I am pretty open-minded. Atlases may be used because that is a skill too! Play continues to #10 OR until a player is stumped or makes a mistake in reciting the entire list.
Playing with numbers is fun! Before long, you will find that these games will lead you to creating some of your own!