Riding in the Car - Supporting Your Child's Development

Whether you’re driving home in the car or catching public transport, the ride home from school can be the perfect opportunity to build on several skills in a fun way and support your child’s development.

Social/ emotional skills

  • Build emotional awareness and understanding by observing other people and identifying how they might be feeling and how you can tell. Bring your child’s attention to the person’s body language and facial expression.
  • Practice good manners such as saying hello and thank you to the bus driver if you are catching the bus.
  • Take the time to debrief and chat about what has been happening at school.

Visual perceptual and tracking skills

  • Treasure hunt – Create a list of items to find while on the ride home (e.g. a colourful building, a dog, wall art, a truck etc.). By scanning for different items, your child develops their visual tracking and visual perceptual skills. This activity also develops understanding of concepts and categorisation. Getting your child involved in writing the list or ticking off the list as objects are found can also give opportunities to develop handwriting skills, including pencil grasp.
  • Similarly, you could compete to see who can spot the greatest amount of an object (e.g. yellow vehicles).
  • If seated next to a window, use a chatterbox, puppet or simply make claws with your hand and “eat” or snap up vehicles of a certain colour or category (e.g. only red cars). This is also a good way to practice eye-hand coordination and sense of timing.
  • Play "I spy" using colours, shapes or any other concepts you would like to practice with your child.

Fine motor skills

  • If windows have fogged up, practice drawing pre-writing patterns, shapes or letter formations on the windows with your index finger.
  • Play simple hand games such as ‘chopsticks’, ‘rock, paper, scissors’ or ‘thumb war’. These games can also help develop skills in turn-taking, playing fairly, following rules, winning and losing and planning,

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