Dreading long road trips with little ones this summer? Amy Broemmel, associate professor of education at UT Knoxville, offers parents five tips to make vacations educational and fun.
Do the math.
Talk to children about miles per hour and fuel mileage while traveling by car or bus. When traveling by airplane, ask flight attendants for information about the cruising altitude and how much fuel the plane uses.
Let children pick out several free travel brochures from racks at hotels, rest stops, and restaurants. They can read the brochures and learn about culture and history, and they may even find an attraction they would like to visit.
Be a scientist.
Pack a magnifying glass (an inexpensive plastic one works fine) to examine shells, leaves, bugs, and more. Ask children to describe what they see.
Listen to audiobooks.
Check out children’s books on tapes, MP3s, or CDs from your library to listen to while traveling. Try ones with different voices like the Hank the Cowdog or the Percy Jackson series. Even parents might enjoy them.
Keep a journal.
Each night, let children jot down a few sentences about what they did that day. Some children especially enjoy using hotel stationery. For parents, it’s a way to view the trip from their child’s perspective.
Broemmel and her husband are veterans of long road trips with their children ages fourteen, eleven, and seven.