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Last Updated on February 17, 2017 by Diane Hoffmaster
Are you planning a long car ride this holiday season and wonder how you will all survive the trip with your sanity intact? Do you get tired of plugging your kids into electronic devices for the entire journey to grandma's house? We have traveled long distance with our kids since my first was only 6 months old. A 2 to 3-day drive from Georgia to Vermont gave us plenty of time to find creative ways to keep us all busy. If you are wondering how to make road trips fun and educational, I am sharing some tips from Ruth Rumack, the founder of Ruth Rumack’s Learning Space and the creator of the pre-reading series Alpha-Mania Adventures which you can learn more about below.
How to Make Road Trips Fun and Educational
The holiday season often means long drives and road trips for the family. Whether the ride is long or short, it can become more fun and educational than just having to answer, “Are we there yet?!”
If your children are between the ages of 2 and 5, it important to strengthen their pre-reading skills, which are auditory and easy to practice in the car. Pre-reading skills refer to phonological awareness skills, which is the understanding that words are made up of parts and individual sounds. In order to develop strong phonological awareness, your child must acquire five key skills: rhyming, alliteration, blending, segmenting and sound manipulation. These are necessary for any child who is learning to read the English language. Learn how to make road trips fun and educational and you will be amazed at the progress they show in the classroom once your trip is over!
The following activities require no supplies and are perfect for the car rides!
- I Spy: Have your child search for objects that rhyme with a certain word. Objects can be found within the car, or choose shapes and colors on the horizon (clouds and trees). This builds the pre-reading skill of rhyming, and it’s loads of fun!
- Last Letter, First Letter: As a group, pick a category, such as food, animals, or cities. Then one player says a word from that category, such as ‘elephant’, the other player(s) must think of a word within the same category that begins with the last sound of the previous word, such as “tiger”. This practices alliteration.
- Say it Slow/Say it Fast: This is an activity which focuses on blending. This game allows your child to practice blending compound words, syllables, and individual sounds. Say words very “ssslllowly”. Your child will then have to blend the sounds and say the word fast.
- Segmenting Clap: Show your child how to count syllables by clapping the syllables in his or her name. Point to an item (try to find items beginning with the target letter or previous sound learned) and have your child clap the syllables. This practices segmentation.
- This Song’s All Wrong: Sing the lyrics to popular children’s songs but change the first sound of the key words in the song to a designated sound. Give your child the opportunity to choose the song and a letter sound. For example, you might sing, “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” as Bow, Bow, Bow Bour Boat, Bently Bown the Beam.
Want to know how to make road trips fun and educational with very little effort? Set your child up with a book for the journey! Find books that practices rhyming and alliteration, or even better, a storybook series designed to teach all five skills associated with phonological awareness, Alpha-Mania Adventures. The books are fun, interactive and feature games and activities on almost every page!
Whether traveling by land, sea, or air, being armed with great ideas can make any travel more enjoyable, educational and less tedious for youngsters, which lets you focus on getting there safely! Learn how to make road trips fun and educational and your time in the car will fly by much more quickly!
Ruth Rumack is the founder of Ruth Rumack’s Learning Space and the creator of the pre-reading series Alpha-Mania Adventures, now available on www.alpha-mania.com and Amazon.
Diane is a professional blogger and nationally certified pharmacy technician at Good Pill Pharmacy. She has two college aged kids, one husband and more pets than she will admit to. She earned her BS in Microbiology at the University of New Hampshire but left her career in science to become a stay at home mom. Years of playing with LEGO and coloring with crayons had her craving a more grown up purpose to her life and she began blogging and freelance writing full time. You can learn more about her HERE.