26 Things to Talk About in the Car

Here are 26 simple things to point out and talk about when you’re in the car with your child.  I have always done this with my two (current ages: 4 and 2.5 years old) and I am always amazed at how observant they are now when we drive.  I think encouraging their curiosity in this way has also helped with ensuring they don’t need to be “entertained” on most regular car trips since this shows them there is an ever-changing world right outside their window to be looked at and explored on each drive. 🙂

1. Point out fire and police stations, as well as emergency vehicles you see on the roads.

2. Point out airports, and airplanes and helicopters you see in the sky.  Maybe you’ll see hot air balloons and blimps, too, if you’re lucky!

3. Point out road signs and talk about what they mean.

4. Talk about traffic lights — 3 colors, what they mean, green arrow, etc.

5. Point out hospitals and talk about ambulances, doctors, nurses, the emergency room.  

6. Point out sidewalks, people, dogs on leashes, bikes.

7. Point out natural items: flowers and their colors or types, types of trees (and how you can tell what season it is), fields of crops, cows or horses in a field, wavy grass.

8. Tell your child how far away places are that you’re driving.  Use words like miles, kilometers, and/or the amount of time it will take to arrive.

9.  When you get within a few minutes of a destination, count the seconds (1-60) to see how many minutes it takes.  “We’ll be at Dad’s office in about 3 minutes.  If we count sixty seconds three times we should be there!”

10. Point out vehicle models that are the same as ones you or friends/relatives drive.

11. Point out bridges, overpasses, tunnels, water towers, cell phone towers.

12. Point out sunrises and sunsets.  Talk about dawn and dusk.  Talk about the position of the sun in relation to the time of day.  Point out the moon and talk about what phase it is in or what shape it is tonight.  How many stars can you see?

13. Use directional terms as you drive.  “We’re turning left.”  “See those ducks in the pond on the right?”  “Daddy is following behind us.”  “That car in front of us has a big dog in the back seat!”  “We have to drive east to get to Grandmama’s house.”  “We’re about to go over the river.”

14. Point out farms, barns, tractors, combines, farm animals, and fields of crops.  

15.  Point out buildings: sky scrapers, banks, grocery stores, churches, apartment buildings, houses, townhouses, gas stations, restaurants, stores, universities, colleges, schools, libraries, office buildings, etc.

16. Point out various types of vehicles: cars, trucks, SUVs, delivery trucks, tankers, trains, 18-wheelers, mail trucks, school and city buses, bikes, motorcycles, scooters, tow-trucks, taxis, convertibles, sports cars, station wagons, vans, etc.

17.  Talk about the weather.  Is it sunny and bright?  Is it cloudy?  Is it raining?  Is it windy and how can you tell?  Does your window feel hot or cold?

18.  Talk about the different kinds of roads: two-lane, highway, exit ramps, interstate, curvy, straight, hilly, city road, country road, neighborhood street.  You can also talk about how fast you can go on each type of road and what the lines on the roads mean. 

19.  Point out rivers, lakes, streams, ponds, oceans.  You can talk about how calm or windy it is by observing the water.

20. Read the letters (or words if your child is a reader) and numbers on store fronts, license plates, and signs.

21. When you stop for gas, say how many gallons you put in the tank.

22. Use vehicle-related terminology as you drive — park, drive, reverse, brake, gas pedal, windshield, wipers, turn signal, door locks, driver’s seat, passenger seat, rear-view mirror, side view mirrors, accelerate, seat belts, console, cup holder.

23.  Point out big machinery and construction equipment: diggers, cranes, dump trucks, etc.  Point out construction sites and talk or speculate about what is being done or built.

24. Point out familiar places: places that are near your home when you’re driving back home, places you’ve visited before, new places that are like places you’ve been, etc.  Our kids always like to point out Lowe’s Hardware stores and our church.

25. If you use a GPS, talk about the pictures and colors represented on the screen and how it all works.  Luke noticed on ours that big highways are a different color than regular roads.  

26.  Talk about the areas you are driving through: downtown, country, city, neighborhoods, etc.

There are lots of other things you can point out and talk about on your drives, but I hope this list gives you some ideas for getting started.  This is one of the ways we “learn while we live” because L&L learn all kinds of things every time we get in the car, but it’s certainly not anything I plan out or write on a lesson plan.  I also find that parental enthusiasm (or lack thereof) is contagious, so point out things with real excitement and your little one will probably follow suit! 

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Genny Upton

A former teacher turned stay at home mom to two preschool aged children. Creator (and writer) at In Lieu of Preschool and Parent Teach Play. Currently publishing my first children's picture book!

  • Angela says:

    This is such a great idea! I do several of these already but you have given me such great additional ideas. i.e. different types of roads, vehicle related terminology, and talking about dawn and dusk. Keep up the good work!

  • Great ideas! Thanks for sharing!

  • […] noticeable letters on signs and buildings as we drive in the car.  Here’s a whole list of 26 things to talk about in the car with […]

  • Carmen says:

    Awesome! I’m so excited to start this with my son. I only do like 10 didn’t know there were so many other things to talk about! Thanks for sharing!

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