We’re going on a road trip! Yes, it’s that time of the year when many of us will be taking family vacations that involve lengthy car rides. It can be a great opportunity to build reading and writing skills. So, let’s take a look at some literacy activities that your youngsters can do while traveling to your destination.
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Singing nursery rhymes and childhood favorites helps to develop fluency. Wee little ones love to hear our voice and we are planting early literacy seeds. Can’t remember all the words to “On Top of Spaghetti“? Head over to Bus Songs which has a comprehensive listing of song lyrics and listening samples.
For older children, print out the lyrics and create a song book using a three-prong folder as the cover. As you are traveling, the kids can illustrate each page in their song book while reading/singing.
Rest Stop Literacy
Stopping at an interstate rest stop is not only a place to stretch your legs, but also a place to build up those reading skills. Many of the rest stops are also welcome centers full of free tourist literature. Allow your child to select some brochures to read once they get back into the car. For children who are still learning to read, have them go on letter hunts or sight word hunts. They can circle all the letters or words that they know in the brochures.
To burn off a little energy, use a rest stop scavenger to do list. Prepare your list before the trip so it is ready to go at your first rest stop. To do items could include:
- Hop to the nearest trash can.
- Run to a lightpost.
- Hug a tree.
- Walk to the water fountain and take a sip.
- Sit on a bench and stretch your legs.
- Skip to the car.
The child reads the list and completes each task. Pre-readers could have picture clues added to their list. If you are traveling with multiple children, they can race to see who can accomplish the to do list first.
Suitcase of Books
Before venturing off on your trip, pack a small suitcase of books. Visit your local library for some new titles to keep things interesting and fresh. Here are a few suggested titles that deal with traveling and vacationing.
- Tulip Sees America by Cynthia Rylant
- The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant
- Road Trip Trivia(Klutz Book)
And, if you are traveling home for the holidays, we have some book suggestions too.
When you stop to fuel up, allow your child to select a few postcards from the gas station. They can write to family, friends and even themselves so that they have a piece of mail waiting for them when they get back home. It’s a good idea to purchase postage before you leave on your trip so that the cards can be mailed right away.
Letter and Word Games
I love games that involve everyone in the car and require no supplies! If your child is learning their ABCs, they can visually hunt for each letter of the alphabet on license plates, road signs and billboards as you travel down the highway. For the first round have the child identify lowercase letters and then complete a round of finding uppercase letters. This game can be adapted for all age levels. Kids can locate words they know for each letter of the alphabet. They can also be told a word and then they have to spell the word by finding the letters along the way.
Travel journals are a great way to capture trip memories and build writing skills. You can purchase one that can be filled in like the one pictured below or you can create your own using a composition notebook. Either way, kids will enjoy documenting their adventures.
Now that we talked about things the little ones can do in the car, where are we headed? Check out these a destinations that make great vacation visits and promote literacy at the same time.
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