Road trips are about the going and coming as much as they are the destination. Read aloud, play spelling and memory games, and make up funny stories. Here are some of my favorite road trip resources and recipes for highway harmony:
1. Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease.
Some of the best selections of childrenís literature to entertain the whole family. Take turns reading short stories aloud, and make up voices that best fit the characters.
2. Vegetarian Journalís Guide to Natural Foods Restaurants by the Vegetarian Resource Group.
When hunger sets in and you want to find organic, whole foods, look no further than than this handy restaurant guide for the U.S. and Canada. This life-saving directory never leaves my car.
3. Healthy Highways: The Travelerís Guide to Healthy Eating by Nikki & David Goldbeck.
Another dashboard digest; this one leads you to eateries and natural food stores with directions from Interstate highways.
4. Chew on This: Everything You Don't Want to Know about Fast Food by Eric Schlosser and Charles Wilson.
Help tweens and teens discover on their own what really lurks behind the fast food sign. This youth-friendly version of Schlosserís Fast Food Nation is guaranteed to help grow a whole new generation of local organic advocates!
5. Road Maps: Pick up a few extra maps at the nearest visitor center and let your kids follow along. Ask them to find the funniest name for a city or town, official state flowers and birds, or calculate distances.
6. Notebooks: Before leaving on your trip, give each child a brand new notebook. Pack along some pens and a set of colored pencils to share (remember the sharpener). Turn your young artists and authors loose to draw, make up stories, write songs, poetry, fiction or simply keep a running journal of their thoughts and images during your vacation.
7. Fun and Games: You don't have to spend extra money on entertaining car games. A deck of cards, a dictionary, and some plain ol' pieces of paper and pencils can provide hours of inexpensive fun. Memory games where you try to remember an ever growing list of found items from "grandma's attic," or "Eye Spy something that begins with the letter____, " helps build listening and observation skills. Visit pbskids.org for a variety of game ideas and directions for how to play.
Happy trails and safe travels!