On the road
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Syndicated column from The Parent Institute
[JULY 20, 2006]
Q: With school
out for the summer, we are planning a family car trip to visit
relatives. Do you have any suggestions on how to make many hours on
the road fun for all?
A: "Are we there yet?"
It's a question nearly every child has asked -- usually over and
over -- unless everyone is occupied with fun activities. You can
turn your vacation trip into a learning opportunity. Here are some
Make the planning fun!
Learn about the
places you're going to visit. Find a good travel guide. Use
the encyclopedia and the almanac. Go online to do more research
(you can even read the newspaper from the places you'll visit).
Send away for brochures.
children to research the things they might see along your
way. If you will be passing historic sites, check out some
library books before you leave. What's the history of the places
you'll pass? Did famous battles occur nearby? What famous people
came from this state or city?
geography. What's the population of the places you'll visit?
What is the most important industry? What is the state bird and
flower? What is the state motto and what does it mean?
Get a map for
each child. Give each one a marker to highlight the route
you will be traveling. Have them keep math facts fresh by
calculating distance and mileage.
Have fun on the road.
Listen to audio
books. They can build interest in reading, and they're
available for almost all ages. Ask your librarian or bookseller
language. Find tapes that teach the whole family a foreign
language. One series, for example, is called "Learn in your
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Count state license plates, play word games or give your
children puzzles to solve.
children songs you loved as a child. Or have your children
sing their favorite songs and teach you the words. See if you
can make up new lyrics for familiar tunes.
stops. Take a ball to toss. Many children can handle no more
than two hours in the car at a time. Getting out for just a few
minutes can make a big difference.
Write about your travels.
Keep a travel
journal. Have everyone contribute pictures and thoughts
about what you see and do. It's a great way keep memories fresh.
And it's a great way to read and write together.
Bring a supply of postcard stamps and a list of addresses.
Allow each child to purchase, write and send postcards along the
Doing a little research and planning before you leave will make
the trip more interesting and pleasant for your family. And, when
school starts again, if classes study the places you visit, your
children will be proud to be the "experts."
For more information
about helping children learn or to submit your own question, go to
http://advisor.parent-institute.com. All questions will receive
a prompt answer by e-mail.
Copyright 2006, The Parent Institute
"Ask the Learning Advisor -- Ideas for Raising
Successful Children" is a free, syndicated column from the Parent