Anna Piepmeyer, Program Director for Open Books (www.open-books.org), came into our ABC7 studio armed with useful tips to keep your kids entertained on a long road trip.
1. Road Trip Map Scavenger Hunt
- Before your trip purchase a road map and highlight the route. Find towns along the way where you want to stop for meals, gas, snacks etc.
- Parents should do a few minutes of research on the town/ planned stop venue and determine an item that can be found at the location, and the child who finds the item at the location earns a point
- The child with the most points throughout the entire road trip -- both there and back -- wins the Scavenger Hunt and a grand prize
- Keep the map handy during the road trip so kids can follow along
- FOR EXAMPLE: A planned stop at a specific gas station could include, a trip inside the small convenience shop with a clue: I'm filled with water, yet full of flakes, find me inside and give me a few shakes -- the parent can buy the snow globe for the child who finds it -- a great way to remember the trip
2. The Literacy Olympics
- Parents and kids compete in a series of literacy competitions (kids always win)
- The winner of each event is rewarded with a new book in their favorite series, i.e Magic Treehouse
- These games and word searches can be easily printed off of websites, and could even be customized with words relating to the trip you are taking (i.e. a road trip to Minneapolis could include words such as lakes, Twins, Mall of America, Twin Cities, etc)
- Games could include:
+ Crossword puzzle contests
+ Word search contests
+ Who can create the most words out of the same five letters
3. Read It, then Watch It
- Read a book with your kids in the weeks leading up to your trip
- Then, when you get into the car, surprise your kids with the movie version - treat this as a reward for having read the book together first
- Watch the movie on a portable DVD player, iPad, etc.
- During meals along the way, or at rest stops, discuss the differences between the book and the movie
- FOR EXAMPLE: How to Train Your Dragon - the movie is vastly different than the book -- talk about which tale you like better
4. Fun, Educational Apps for All Ages
- 3-4-Year-Olds: Reading Raven - An excellent all-round package for developing and strengthening early literacy skills.
- 5-8-Year-Olds: National Geographic Explorer for Home Learning - An interactive magazine for the youngest National Geographic 'readers'.
- 9-12-Year-Olds: It's Cool to be Clever - Packed with videos, music and narrated segments about topics like how the Internet and other ingenious inventions came about
5. The Obscure and Interesting
- Websites such as Atlas Obscura (www.AtlasObscura.com) offer information about obscure road trip destinations
- Anna will have printed out examples of obscure places to stop and visit along a road trip to St. Louis
213 W. Institute Place
Chicago (b/w Wells &Franklin on W. Institute Place - a block north of Chicago Avenue)