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!

Making a Car Trip Fun and Educational

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.   And do

not forget 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,  you  can  merely  use  the   rhyming   words

themselves.   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”.
Since cars now have tape decks, 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  cassettes

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



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