Ask a Teacher: Making Road Trips More Manageable
- June 26, 2012
- on 6/26/2012
- MoJo: want2dish
Submitted by citizen journalist Lisa Lebo
My family is about to embark on a ten-hour road trip, and I am trying to plan entertainment for my little girls in the car for my sake, not theirs. I am fearful that their sweet little voices will turn into whiny howls of, “Are we there yet?” In order to avoid the girls’ “who hit who” conversation that I would likely encounter on our way, I am turning to my “teacher side” to plan some fun and educational activities for our trip.
1.) BINGO: I have created little BINGO game boards for my girls to play as we pass certain landmarks. To do this, I consulted a map to see which cities we would be passing through first, and then I developed the game around these. My oldest daughter can read well, so her board has the names of cities and towns. However, my youngest daughters’ game boards have pictures of places we will pass and are not as specific. Whoever wins BINGO can choose the first snack!
2.) I SPY: I SPY is a great activity for children of all ages on long car rides. You can make the game as challenging or as easy as you want depending on the ages of the children. For the younger kids, try practicing concepts that they are familiar with, such as “I spy with my little eye, something blue.” For older children, how about, “I spy with my little eye, something that waves?” (This would be for a flag.)
3.) FOIL FUN: If you have little ones who are very busy, get some aluminum foil and rubber bands. Then, show them how to crunch up the foil and wrap rubber bands around it to make a ball. Another great tactile “toy” for younger children is bubble wrap. Give them a sheet and let them have at it, popping the bubbles. Toddlers especially enjoy the sounds and sensations associated with these household items.
4.) MATH: My elementary aged daughter loves practicing her math facts whenever I feel like quizzing her. Why not take this activity to the car and quiz kids aloud or let them quiz each other with flash cards? Or, with mom or dad as the leader, you could extend this activity by saying something silly like, “So, you counted 24 cows in Virginia and 34 in South Carolina. How many cows would be left if three of them hitchhiked to Florida? Do you think they would get there before us?” The kids would probably like this idea and would quickly enjoy making up their own cow equations for one another. Pick your livestock depending on your journey.
5.) DVD: I would just like to say that we did not think we needed a DVD player for our car when we had our first child; however, the vehicle we purchased happened to have one. And, seven years and three kids later, I am thankful that we have one. Really thankful. Once all of your other games and snacks run out, you can put in a DVD and breathe a sigh of relief. I always let each daughter choose a DVD, but I was tempted at the library to check out a child’s documentary on William Shakespeare. I thought that my kids would have no place else to go and would be forced to learn something; but, I thought better of it and checked out Strawberry Shortcake instead. If you are more determined than me, why not try a DVD on animal babies or how machines work? For older kids, try a video on extreme weather conditions (just avoid monsoons if you are going to the beach). And, for high schoolers, how about renting a movie of a book they would enjoy? (Pride and Prejudice is five hours long, if anyone is interested). Similarly, books on CD are also great ways to get their imaginations working. Take a trip to the library and check out the Play Aways, too.
Hopefully, you will be able to use some of these suggestions on your family’s next car trip. Enjoy the ride!
You must log in to post comments.