Trip Planning With Children

By: rhusain
There is some important pattern which you need to follow when vacationing by car with your family. Find out what this pattern is.

We plan with the boys what toys they would like to take along to play with in the car, restricting each to a small bag container. We have found such things as small mosaic blocks, small cars and airplanes, color crayons, books to color, and packages of colored construction paper ideal to take along. Such things require little space and provide much entertainment.

Endless snowflake designs can be made from toilet tissue by tearing off the little squares and folding them into smaller squares, and clipping off various corners with round-tipped shears or making notches in the sides or centers. When the squares are unfolded each one is different and surprisingly attractive. To add to the fun the flakes can be colored, even though we've never seen purple snow.

In addition to the things the boys take with them we have a surprise box. From the dime store we buy small articles and wrap them in separate packages to be opened on the way. On one of our last trips we purchased a small cardboard barn of the folding variety, which was set up on the ledge above the back seat in the car.

This was surprise package Number One. Packages for the following days were small animals, wagons, and tractors. Any small piece that belonged to a farm was wrapped each in a separate package, and each boy had one package a day to open. Great was the speculation as to what each package contained.

The back ledge made an ideal place to set up the farm equipment. The boys rested on their knees on the car seat and spent many happy hours playing farm. When they grew tired we all joined in various games. One of our old favorites is "Cities," described on page 198. It is interesting and surprising to note how quickly even the youngest child catches on to the sounds of the letters and soon becomes familiar with the names of many cities.

Another old standby that can be used for a car game is "My Grandmother." Someone starts off with some statement like "My Grandmother likes wasps but she doesn't like bees." The trick is for the following players to name objects not beginning with the letter "B" for her to like, and name others beginning with the letter "B" for her to dislike. In this case one could say, "My grandmother likes milk or honey or trees but she doesn't like bread or butter or black walnuts." Another basic sentence can start the game. "My grandmother likes coffee but not tea (T), or "My grandmother likes tomatoes but not peas (Ps)." For young children keep the words simple. The older children like to branch out a bit. This game makes the children very word conscious.

The "Color" game is always good. "I see something blue." Then the rest of the family name "blue" objects in the car. The one guessing the correct answer is "IT" and he'll probably choose some other color.

The youngsters like to play "I'm going to New York and take along". The first player names something he'd like to take, the second repeats the first-named objects and adds one of his own, and so on around the group. Of course, the sillier the objects named the funnier the game, especially when the list gets long and involved.

When you think you'd like a little quiet in the car suggest that the first one that speaks is a "Monkey's tail." You would be surprised how quiet small fry can be to avoid being a "Monkeys tail."

This is the pattern we follow when vacationing by car with the family. We have found that not only the youngsters but the oldsters as well thoroughly enjoy these family trips. So don't postpone that trip by car, waiting for the children to grow up. Always remember that nothing is more educational for all ages than travel.
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