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One huge perk of homeschooling is the ability to learn anywhere. When you realize that life is full of teachable moments,road trips turn into learning adventures.
My kids love learning through play, so we often play games in the car. I love creating games to help them learn material they’re working on.
As I was brainstorming games, I realized we played a lot of language arts and math games in the car. Musical games are also some of our favorites.
But, I couldn’t think of a single science themed car game that we’d played. So my brain started working.
Here are five of the ones I thought of that my kids enjoyed. They’re all perfect for road trips since they don’t require any materials. They’re easy to learn, and fun!
Since most of my kids are in the younger grades, these science games don’t cover complex topics. Many are about animals, since animal science is accessible for kids of most ages (even the toddler can occasionally join in!)
5 Science Car Games for Kids
1. Animal Classification
There are five main classes of vertebrate animals (those kind have a backbone!)
Here’s a quick refresher for you:
Mammals: Animals that have fur or hair, and give birth to live babies
Birds: Animals that have feathers covering their bodies, lay eggs, and many have the ability to fly
Bony Fish: Animals that are covered with scales, have a skeleton, and live in the water
Amphibians: Cold blooded animals with moist skin that spend the first part of their life cycle in the water and the second part on land.
Reptiles: Cold blooded animals covered in dry scales, that live on land, but can go in the water
Honestly, I always confuse amphibians and reptiles! But that’s alright. This game is good practice for that!
How to Play
One person picks one of the classes of animals. Then all players take turns saying an animal from that class. So if the class called is birds, players might say:
and so on.
There’s no repeating an animal that’s already been said, so listen carefully! (We do let our toddlers repeat though, just to keep them engaged!)
If a player can’t think of an animal that hasn’t already been said, that person is out for the rest of the round.
The last person to correctly name an animal from the class wins. Pick another class and try again.
Some rounds (like mammals) will obviously last longer than others. But that makes it more of a challenge and fun!
2. Living or Non-living?
Every ecosystem features living (biotic) things and abiotic (not living) things. These work together to make the environment complete.
Knowing the difference between living and nonliving is an important concept. This game helps with that!
All players will need to be able to look out of a window.
The goal is to work as a team to name as many living and non-living things as you can.
Here are some examples:
How to Play:
Since this is a collaboration game, your kids can practice working as a team. First, decide how many items of each type you want to find. 10 items is a great starting point!
Let one player decide if you should look for living or non-living first. Then, everyone looks out the window and calls out when they see something fitting the category.
Count them as they’re called so you always know how many you have.
Once you’ve found the right number, switch categories and begin looking for the other one.
Before you switch, you can also take some time to discuss the items found and verify that each one was living or non-living. This adds a little more science into the game!
3. What Animal Am I?
In this game, one player thinks of an animal. The other players take turns asking questions to figure out what animal it is.
How to Play:
The first player secretly selects an animal.
The other players take turns asking yes or no questions to learn more. Here are some sample questions my kids thought of:
- Do you live on land?
- Can you breathe underwater?
- Do you live in a rain forest?
- Have I ever seen this animal?
- Are you a mammal?
- Do you lay eggs?
- Can you fly?
- Do you live on a farm?
- Does this animal say, “Moo!”?
- Do you eat other animals?
Based on the answers given, your questions can get more and more specific. Feel free to ask about coloring, size, or anything else that helps you get closer to guessing. Just remember to always ask yes or no questions!
Once you guess, have another player pick an animal and try again.
4. States of Matter
There are three main states of matter that children learn about in the early years of science, solids, liquids, and gasses.
This quick game helps children think about the properties of each, so they can correctly classify an object by the state of its matter.
How to Play:
Pick a player to go first. This player calls out one of the states of matter: solids, liquids, or gasses.
The other players take turns looking around them in the vehicle and out the window, and saying something from that category. Have the players decide if the object is correct.
Once everyone has picked an object, let another player pick the next category.
You can repeat each category more than once if interest holds. Liquids and solids will be the easiest to spot while traveling, so you may want to do those more often.
5. The Food Chain Game
This game explores the concept of food chains. It can get a little silly at times, which makes it even more fun!
How to Play:
One person goes first, and picks a small animal that eats grass, leaves, seeds, or nuts.
The next player names an animal that could eat the first person’s animal.
And so the game continues. How many animals can you fit into the food chain?
Once you reach a large predator or a human the food chain is complete. Stop the round and let someone else go first.
Will you play any of these science car games on your next trip?
Or do you have any other ideas for science car games?
Please share in the comments, I love to hear from you!