Vacations often have little spaces of time to fill, especially when travelling. Whether it’s by bus or car, kids sometimes need something else to do. Years ago, I picked up a plastic covered clipboard at the dollar store with just a small paper holder. Though it was inexpensive it has been really valuable. One little activity was to draw 3 columns on a sheet of paper: one for red cars, one for blue cars and one for white cars, but any colors will work. We watched the cars and marked a tally line each time we saw a red, blue or white car. Although I thought the kids would only be interested for a few minutes, they really liked having a reason to watch the cars that passed. Often, a child will notice that there is another color that seems to be more popular, so a new sheet of paper is needed.
This also works when just standing by a window and checking the cars that go by. To make it easier, just 2 columns can be used, one for cars and one for trucks. Or use 4 or 5 columns for quick munchkins. The clipboard and paper can also be used for just drawing when needed. It also works when sitting on airport chairs and counting how many people are males or females. This may be a simple counting activity, but it also helps kids learn to focus and pay attention to what is happening around them, to sort and categorize, and to collect information. That’s a lot of skills for a paper, pencil and clipboard. Surprisingly, it’s even kind of fun. Happy counting!