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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Going on a roadtrip... yay?

Tomorrow we begin the ever increasingly familiar journey to the coast =
2 days x 9 hours driving each day
+ 2 adults
+ 5 children in one red Isuzu Trooper
+ uncertainty of road conditions because of recent rain
- a working cd/tape player in the car
= need for prayer and patience and lots of activities to do in the car!

Abuelito wishing our carful of kids traveling mercies

So, what keeps your kids busy in the car?

Here are a few of our favorites:

The Quiet Game :)

RaceCar (did you know you can spell that the same way forwards and backwards?) - This is a uniquely tuttle invented game where each child picks a vehicle within sight and claims it... then they keep tabs on 'their' car and who is winning at any given time by who passes who, etc.

Who owns the Road? - Another tuttle kid invention in which the kids are each self-assigned to a window to look out of. Whatever they spy out their window, is theirs; cats, dogs, crops of sugar cane, an ox and plow, electricity poles, condors circling some dead thing, etc, etc. They are amazing at keeping track of all they have accumulated and what everyone else has as well. They can then trade with each other to have a more well-rounded supply of whatever... seriously, this has kept them busy for many an mile!

Animal Log - I bet you didn't have llamas on your kids' checklist to see on your last roadtrip! Here it is actually a common occurance... The boys sometimes keep logs with the following list of animals: Donkeys, Mules, Chickens, Horses, Goats, Llamas, Snakes, Sheep, Cats, Dogs. Then they keep a running tally. This can be left off and picked up throughout the LONG journey. A more modern version would be keeping track of colors of cars or state license plates... at least that's what I did when I was growing up.

Wikki-Stix. All I can say is, these are AWESOME. Thank you Wikki-Stix inventor! And to Oma & Hammy... please send MORE! Stick them on the windows or on a plastic clipboard... you name it!

Twistable Crayons. Do you know how VERY good these are? Normal crayons melt, or the paper gets torn off and they get broken, dropped and lost or worse, melted between the seats. Colored pencils have to be sharpened every other 13 seconds... and would you like some wood shavings stuck to your sweaty leg or in your seat? But twistable crayons are the BEST! Love them... even if they still do get lost in the cracks of the seat. I admit, I thrill when I actually find valuable stuff in there.

A whole bunch of stickers and blank paper. You'd be surprised at the number of different uses my kids have come up with for these. However, stickers on windows is absolutely prohibited... *hint: GooGone may be the weirdest, yuckiest, greasiest substance on earth... but it takes off the sticky-ew-goo-glue!

Snacks and a timer. Having a bag of animal cookies (or some other perhaps healthier snack, or not) and a timer with a beep* is an interesting way to mark the time. We give out a snack at every hour on the hour, curbing the ever dreadful and constant, "Can I have a snack now?" This may have been instrumental in my children learning to tell time :) *important note: The clock must be visible and readable by the majority of travellers or else please choose to use a timer with a beep! Having to wait for the beep is useful in curbing the ever more dreadful and incessant, "Is it __ o'clock yet? No? Then, how many more minutes?" followed closely by, "How many more minutes now?"

Reading books aloud. This really is our favorite. Sadly, with 7 people in a 5 person car travelling through the jungle, a sizeable portion of our roadtime is spent with all the windows down. This not being conducive to the reader's voicebox... unless of course you are one who is accustomed to yelling at the top of your voice from the front seat, contorting your body and straining your neck around to face your listeners who can't hear you anyway. *note to self: don't bother bringing school work in the car... somehow with all the other fun stuff to do, we have yet to get to it!

Singing silly songs.

Tell a story. This is probably the kids' all-time favorite. One of them will create a wonderfully imaginative saga for the siblings' listening enjoyment that can be picked up or left off at will. Surely, a creative parent will be able to weave some really good tales. A dear friend of mine, Deb, is an expert at this and is an inspiration to me with her stories that actually even teach a lesson... that much might be a stretch, for me that is, to try and add in something educational?! oh my. But I have periodically *thought* of making a well-intentioned albeit a feeble attempt to embark on an oral tradition of storytelling.

For babies and toddlers, may I recommend:
Keep diapers dry. Non-drip sippy cup with water (I love you Klean Kanteen). Keep them busy with non-messy snacks. Use those bibs that have the part that folds up to catch crumbs. For 1-2yo, give them a container (basket, purse, etc) full of smallish things that are interesting to them. They can take them out one by one, again and again. Just reload the basket or have 2 to rotate. Items to put inside, are: small board book, Little people, spoon, a pen that has no ink in it, a hand mirror, chew toy, coin purse with zipper and something small to fit inside it (we use hair bands), a small doll with removable clothes, an old watch, etc. Things that aren't typically toys usually hold attention a little longer. Reach back occasionally to hold a hand or foot just for love.

So, what are your roadtrip/travel strategems?


Jeanne said...

Those are huge days - wow!

I'm going to print out this list - it's great. Thanks!

6intow said...

What fun ideas! I can't imagine a long car trip without audio books, that would be something else.

Praying for you!

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