The Blog

As a newspaper columnist, Nancy Devlin, Ph.D. has written over 700 articles on subjects related to education and parenting. Welcome to her Classroom!

Planning a Car Trip

Vacation  from  school  provides the  opportunity  for  many
families to travel together.   How pleasant an experience this is
for  the family depends on how well the trips are  planned.   One
way to enhance the pleasure and educational value of an auto trip
is to bring along tapes and to plan games.

We  can  all search in our memories and come up with  games.
These  are  some I remember.   In Alphabet Hunt you try  to  find
words  on  billboard  signs that begin with the  letters  of  the
alphabet  in  the correct order.   Whoever finds the  most  words
wins.  For young children, you can write out the alphabet so they
know  which letter comes next.   Then there is the Packing  Game.
Each  player  says something he is going to pack for a  vacation.
It  is  best to do it in alphabetical  order.   The  next  person
repeats what was said before and adds something to the list.

It is always fun to make up a story.   One person begins the
story  and  the next person adds to the plot.   It can be a  soap
opera,  a mystery,  science fiction or just plain silly.  Try Twenty Questions.

There  are  many games found in books. Ask  your  librarian.
One  such  game   is   Instant  Rhymes.   The  idea  is  to  form
couplets.  The  other players  guess at the word you have in mind
to  complete the second line.  For example:  I know a  word  that
rhymes with flat. When on your head,  you call it—-(hat).   For                                                         younger children use rhyming words. For instance, you think of “need”                                         and  “seed”.  You  tell  the others your first word, “need” and they begin to  guess
what the second word may be–read,  reed, breed, lead, greed  and
so on until someone guesses “seed”.

I recommend great books on cds for long trips. You can get cds for such books
as:  “Legend  of  Sleepy Hollow”, “Tom Sawyer”,   “The  Hobbitt”,
“The  Wind in the Willows”, “Alice in Wonderland” and many  fairy
tales.  There are also recordings of famous radio dramas.

And  do  not  forget  singing.   There is  a  company  which
publishes books with cassettes of songs for children.   One  book
includes silly songs and traditional songs such as:” John Brown’s
Body ”,  “Animal  Fair”, “Ten in a Bed”, “Found  a  Peanut”,  and
“Three Jolly Fishermen”.   There  is another book with cds
of  fingerplays  that  includes:   “She’ll  Be  Comin  Round  the
Mountain”,   “Down By  the Station”, “Old MacDonald Had  a  Farm”
and “Where is Thumbkin”.

Finally,  ordinary, relaxed communication with the family is
very  important.   Travelling  in  a  car  presents  a  marvelous
opportunity  for  families to learn more about with  each  other.
Never  underestimate the curiosity  your children have about your
own  history and personal experiences,  especially those of  your
childhood.  Try just reminiscing about trips you remember  taking
as  a   child.   Recount the stories you heard as a  child  about
prior generations.  This is family history passed on.

     I  encourage  you to plan ahead for your trips so  that
they  can   be  fun  for everybody.     Enjoy  the  rest  of  the
summer.

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