We are preparing to head off on our annual trip to the Oregon Coast in a few weeks and I have been filling up my Pinterest boards with ideas. It got me thinking about how parents can make family road trips educational at the same time as making them more fun for everyone in the car. Do not miss the awesome sweepstakes below – Little Pim language learning for kids has sponsored this post.
1. A sense of humor. I have to make this number one because no one can have fun or learn a thing if everyone in the car is at each others’ throats. So pack an extra helping of patience and lots of laughs because unless you really want to stop at every exit to carry out the empty threats you are throwing into the back seat, it’s more productive to let the little things slide.
2. Books about where you are going. Before you leave, head to the library and search for books about where you are going. Don’t limit yourself to the children’s section either; you might find some wonderful books with great images in the adult section too.
3. Apps. I am not a huge fan of too much screen time, but while traveling I loosen that considerably. What I don’t loosen up on is the quality. I would much rather have my kids learn a new language, read a book on a tablet, or work on math skills.
4. Travel chalkboards. Use them to play hangman, practice drawing road signs, play tic tac toe and more. Bring a plastic cup full of chalk to put in your cup holder. Here’s a tutorial for making your own.
5. Counting games. Count red cars, count Starbucks, count construction zones…the sky is the limit, and this requires absolutely nothing extra in your car.
6. Stop and read the historical markers. If there are more questions after reading them, use your smart phone to find out more as you continue on your way.
7. Audio books. Local libraries have fantastic collections of audio books. To take the learning even further, hand your kids copies of the book to follow along.
8. Foreign language music CDs. My kids have been specifically asking for the Little Pim Spanish CD even though I am trying to get them to listen to the French one. They love it. Music is a great way to learn languages, and a long road trip is a perfect time to listen.
9. Play alphabet games. If you need a new variation of the old classic check out my post on Scholastic Parents with some fun new twists.
10. Tell stories. In our family we have a whole slew of ongoing made up stories. We all take turns, and to listen to your child make up stories is not only educational but entertaining too!
What is your best road trip tip? Add it in comments and we will keep this list growing. You can see great travel, parenting and of course language learning tips on Little Pim’s Pinterest boards.
Lucy Windevoxhel says
What a great post!! We have one audio book that we absolutely love, and it’s in Spanish, so my daughter reads along while we drive to preschool/camp some days and it helps me get her to talk in Spanish more. This book in particular is very engaging, the narrative, dialogues and music make it lots of fun. Do you have any recommendations for audio books?
Allison McDonald says
Thank you! I asked my facebook community which audio books they love and here are the answers : http://www.facebook.com/notimeforflashcards/posts/10152228145257715
Crystal Way says
Loved the tips! Planning on a road trip with my little ones in the coming months so I really appreciate the ideas 🙂
rebecca at thisfineday says
We road trip often from Northern California (where we live) to Southern California (where my family lives). Snacks are a huge part of our trip as are books to read while driving and markers and coloring books. The kids also love music and singing – to our music, so we do lots of that too!
Allison McDonald says
Yes snacks – I pack a whole pantry full 😉 What are your kids favorites?
my daughter keeps checking Spanish picture books out of the library. It might be nice if she could translate for me, instead of vice versa.
My kids love The Super Fun Road Trip Coupon Book for Kids. It’s a great way to add variety to a long car ride. They get to select a coupon for each hour they make good choices and are happy. It makes for an enjoyable ride.
So many people want to just plug their kids in for the whole trip. I love your wide range of ideas to keep them learning! Definitely agree — keep your sense of humor!
Gude at Hodge Podge says
Some great tips here, thank you! 🙂
We also like to play ‘travel bingo’ and I found some great free printables here: http://iheartorganizing.blogspot.co.uk/p/free-printables.html
Would love to win 🙂