Road Trip Entertainment

November 18, 2012 7:11:23 AM PST
Parents know all too well that long road trips can be a trying experience for kids. So,as thousands get ready to visit family this holiday season, you might want to plan ahead.

Anna Piepmeyer, Program Director for Open Books (, 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 ( 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

Open Books
213 W. Institute Place
Chicago (b/w Wells &Franklin on W. Institute Place - a block north of Chicago Avenue)
(312) 475-1355