Free Social Skill

SEL on the Road:
Your car as a classroom

Parents spend so much time in the car with their kids, whether it’s driving them to/from school, running the basketball carpool, or just heading Grandmom’s for Sunday dinner.   With Spring Break being upon us, you might be spending even more time in the car driving to camps or on your way to a family vacation.  Many times, kids hop in the car with headphones on or ready to pop in a DVD.  Parents turn on the radio and are only focused on the place they are headed next.  Time in the car can be valuable bonding time that is often wasted by the distractions of technology.  Road trip games are classic and everyone has great memories of playing the license plate game in the car growing up.  Road trip games keep the kids engaged with the family and can also be tweaked to bring in valuable Social and Emotional Learning (SEL).

The License Plate Game

  • How to Play: Look for license plates from different states on cars driving by.
  • Bring in SEL: When a new state is found, have someone google that state and find a fun fact about it.  Parents can emphasize learning more about the people and places around you and becoming socially aware. 

The Alphabet Game

  • How to Play: Look for the letters of the alphabet in order from A-Z on signs and billboards
  • Bring in SEL: When a letter is found, have kids each name a personality trait that starts with that letter of the alphabet.  Recognizing personality traits helps to become more self-aware.


  • How to Play: One person calls out a category and says a word that fits that category.  Then, the next person says another word that fits the category that starts with the last letter of the word the first person said.  If a word is repeated, a new category is chosen.  Example: Category- Things to bring to the beach ToweL, LuncH, HaT, TankinI, etc
  • Bring in SEL: Along with some typical categories, such as:  food, sports, candy, etc, throw in some SE categories, like: emotions, things you want in a friend, things you are afraid of, etc

Fruit Cup

  • How to Play: Someone calls out the name of a piece of fruit.  When someone spots a car that is the same color as that fruit, everyone in the car earns a point for the team.  This played until the team earns 10 points.  If you run out of fruit, you can start calling out veggies.
  • Bring in SEL: As kids find cars of the particular color, ask what emotion that color could represent.  Don’t do this for every car, just sporadically throughout the game.   


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