Car or bus rides provide some of the best opportunities for engaging your child in conversation about both the natural and man-made world. As you look out the window there is so much to see and wonder about! You and your child can discuss the weather, the moon, rock formations and rivers; and man-made features such as tunnels, roads and buildings. Next time you take a drive, expose your little passengers to scientific concepts and go far with car science!
Describing weather: Wherever you are riding, you and your child can always discuss the weather. The first step is to describe various aspects of the weather—whether or not the sun is visible; the colors, shapes and numbers of clouds; and the various kinds of precipitation. As you do this, you model skills of observation.
Structures: What do the buildings and other structures look like? What are the different shapes you see? Are the buildings all made of the same materials? How can you tell? These are all questions that encourage your child to look carefully and think about structures – their designs and functions.
Follow the moon: Watching the moon is a favorite pastime of children as they ride. On one car or bus ride the moon’s shape can be observed, described and wondered about. Young children are famous for thinking that the moon follows them—after all, at the beginning of the ride they can view it out the window—just as they can at the end of the ride. It seems to have moved along with the car, but of course it hasn’t. Encourage your child to talk about her reasoning.