School and traffic – two words every Maltese person dreads hearing every time summer comes to a close. Being stuck in traffic can be highly frustrating and feel like an utter waste of time, but these moments can be used for some quality time with your child.
Here are some fun activities and games to keep you and your little ones entertained (and educated) whilst sitting in gridlock traffic.
1. Listen to audio-books
This can be done both in Maltese and English (or any other language). Audio-books help to teach correct pronunciation, and improve comprehension and fluency, all the while expanding vocabulary. A number of Maltese audio-books are available by Merlin Publishers.
A great and fun way to expose your kids to the Maltese language. Learning and listening to songs is also a great way to increase your child’s vocabulary. There are plenty of great Maltese songs and cool local musicians. Create that playlist and have your own Maltese version of James Corden’s ‘Carpool Karaoke.’
3. Collaborative Storytelling
Build a story by taking it in turns to contribute a sentence, phrase or word. This helps develop listening skills, language, story building skills, and encourages creativity and imagination. You might even come up with something worth publishing! Pro- tip: Create your very own family audio-book – don’t forget to enunciate!
4. Memory Strategies
Memory is a key function to all learning. Help exercise those memory muscles with memory games such as asking your child to list 10 items seen in a specific place earlier that day or week, getting your kids to repeat lists of words you say and increasing the length of the list each round, or hum a tune and ask your child to repeat it. Structure the complexity of these challenges depending on the age and level of your child.
5. Building routines to set up the day
Discuss the plan of the school day and the timetable for after school if you have any extra activities that day. This will help your child to feel more secure and less anxious, and is an activity that can be done in either Maltese or English.
6. Number Plate Game
This is a great game to help increase and improve attention span and number skills. Pick a number and the first person to find a number plate who’s three digits add up to the chosen number wins. If your child is still too young to add numbers, you can start off by setting the goal to find a number plate with a specific digit or letter in it. Given the number of taxis on the Maltese roads you can have a competition to see who can count the most cars with a “Y” in the number plate.
7. Rhyming words
Simple and straightforward but very helpful to help develop pre-literacy skills. Stay away from duck and mob to avoid any awkward moments in the car.
8. 20 Questions
This is a game that works on critical thinking and problem solving. It also encourages your child to ask questions, regardless of whether the answer is right or wrong. Depending on the age and interests of your child you can talk about specific topics: animals, cartoon characters, sports personalities, politicians… the options are endless.
9. Teaching road safety
Start making your kids aware of road signs and what they mean. Then turn it into a game to find the correct sign and to match the sign with the correct meaning. Before you know it, they will be teaching their peers everything they’ve learned… Fast forward 10 years and who knows, they might be working for the Transport Ministry, managing all the new flyovers and tunnels.
(Just be careful what language you use because road safety won’t be the only thing your kids are teaching their friends) – “Ara, dak iċ-ċ**!”
10. General Knowledge Trivia
Quiz time is a fun way to engage your kids in learning new things. Locally built app ‘Adventures with Buzz’ is a fun interactive game created for families to use while traveling; a great way to pass the time whilst in traffic and make screen time healthy and something which brings families together.
11. A Long-standing classic – I Spy
This old timer can help make your child more aware of their own surroundings whilst building memory skills and basic literacy. Try and get your child to make their chosen object more descriptive and include colours and senses. Get ready to hear this one daily: “I spy with my little eye something beginning with C- Crane!!! And another one!!!”
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