5 Fun Language-Based Car Activities With Your Preschooler

Language-Based Car Activities With Your Preschooler

Let’s face it; car rides with young children can be painful, especially the long ones. With the exhausted ‘Are we there yet?’  whinging, the fights with siblings, and the panicked toilet stops, it can make you wonder why you got in the car in the first place. But car rides can be unavoidable, so why not make them productive?

Encouraging your child to learn through play is a fantastic way to help them gain language skills and confidence. Most children love to take part in activities that feel like fun and give them a sense of achievement when they know they have learned something new. Take advantage of this to make car rides more enjoyable for all of you. If your child is struggling with speech, it might be helpful to consult with a Speech Therapist in Penrith, who can provide tailored activities and strategies to support your child’s language development during these car rides

Being in the car does not have to feel like a torture session. Turn it into a time of bonding, sneakily blended with educational fun. Easier said than done? Well, we have some tips on how to get more out of your car rides with your preschooler with five fun language-based car activities.

Why Are Language-based Activities Good For Your Child? 

Children acquire language skills during moments you may not suspect. Even before they start speaking words and sentences, they are beginning to understand what is being said around them. Interaction is a crucial factor in language development, so sitting in a small space together, such as a car, can be a great time to connect and encourage learning and growth.

Play-based activities are significantly beneficial for children in many situations. These allow kids to engage with others and express themselves in ways that are appropriate for their abilities. Exposing them to language through games and activities helps to build their vocabulary in a low-stress and enjoyable way. 

Bringing these into the car environment can help them to expand their language, thinking, listening, and comprehension skills, entertain them, develop their attention spans, and create a safe and encouraging space in which you can grow your relationship.

Five Car Activities That Can Help Your Child Learn 

Countless games exist that can be useful for linguistic development and many of these are great for car rides. Five car activities that we recommend include the following:

  • Create A Story Together


Building a story together is an enjoyable and entertaining way to build your child’s vocabulary and creativity. One person says a sentence to begin the story, and then each person adds a connecting sentence that develops into a story. This helps kids to realise the relation between certain words and to place words in context. You may choose to add elements such as a specific theme to challenge their imagination and encourage them to choose relevant wording.

  • The Classic: I Spy


Surely everyone loves a good game of I Spy! One person begins by saying, ‘I spy with my little eye’. They then choose an item everyone can see and say what letter it begins with. For example, ‘I spy with my little eye something beginning with ‘g’. This game helps to grow phonic and language knowledge and skills and can also involve learning to keep to guidelines, such as only choosing items that are red or that are inside the car.

  •   Jokes, Riddles, And Tongue Twisters


You might think these are too silly to be learning activities. However, these involve important linguistic aspects such as grammar and pronunciation. They can also lighten the mood in the car and have everyone in stitches!

  • Word Games


There are lots of games that involve word play to promote and develop skills such as listening, comprehension, and vocabulary. Examples of these include:

  • Talking to each other using rhyme. This might be something like, ‘In my car there is a jar, and in the jar there is a bar, and on the bar there is a star, and that small star likes to play guitar.’
  • Using words that sound the same but mean different things, such as ‘bear and bare’, and ‘heel and heal’. This involves identifying similarities, memory, definitions, spelling, and understanding of word context. 
  • Listing a few words from one themed category, accompanied by one that does not belong. Your child must choose the wrong word. They can then do this for you. If your chosen category is food, you may say ‘chocolate, mango, fork, rice, and carrots.’ They should choose ‘fork’ as the word that is not a food
  • Sing


Whether it’s acapella, group harmonisation, or joining in with the radio, singing is an awesome way to spend the time, utilise the power of repetition, learn new words, practise rhyme, rhythm and sentence structure, and develop memory skills. And if the idea of listening to ‘the wheels on the bus’ or ‘the ants go marching’ over and over seems traumatic, fear not! There is nothing stopping you from putting on your favourite music, as long as it has child-friendly content!

Turn Car Rides Into A Fun Learning Activity

When developing a learning environment within the car, it is important to keep the atmosphere light, pressure-free, supportive, and interactive. Furthermore, explain to your child that safety while driving is crucial and that you will pay attention to them as much as possible but may have to focus on the road sometimes. Also remind them that the games should not distract the driver.

Car rides can come with tiredness, boredom, and stress for all parties – young and old. However, there are ways to make them more productive by utilising the time and space to learn with fun car activities. At Chatterbox, we have lots of tips, advice, and suggestions when it comes to helping your child develop their language skills. Contact your speech therapist now to learn more fun ways to help your child learn!