Road trips are an exciting vacation for families, and they can be educational as well. With the right activities and plan, a road trip can also be an excellent learning opportunity for children. Learning is FUN, and we want our children to remember that. Here are some fun ways to incorporate learning into your adventurous road trip.
7 Road Trip Learning Activities
- Listen to Audiobooks
A road trip involves A LOT of driving, hence why it is a road trip. Some people do get car sick, so listening to audiobooks is a fantastic alternative. You can use an auxiliary cord to link a smartphone to the stereo system so that everyone in the car can listen to the book as well.
You can pick fun books, such as Harry Potter series or Magic Tree Books for younger kids. Select books about the area you are going. If you plan to visit Gettysburg, pick books about the history or a tale about those who lived during the Civil War.
- Story Tell
As a family, practice storytelling! Storytelling encourages imagination and creativity. One easy way to do this is to pick a group of cars passing by and make up a story about where they are going and who they are.
For older kids, you might be able to make a story up one line at a time. Go around the car, and each person adds a line to the story. Bonus points if you can record the story and transcribe it later. Kids can draw pictures to go with your crazy story and create a fun, family storybook.
- Practice Map Reading
Using a map to navigate is turning into a lost skill with the development of a GPS. Learning how to read a map and trace a route is something kids should learn how to do.
Give each child a map or several maps depending on the length of your trip. Cut the maps and put them through a laminator. Then, put those laminated maps on a clipboard for easy containment.
With dry erase markers, your child can trace your route and borders of states. He can pinpoint where you stop and local monuments or attractions. Doing so is a geography learning activity.
- Practice Letter Identification
Kids who are learning to read can use a road trip as an opportunity to search for letters. Make a worksheet with columns for each year. You want your child to find five A’s and five M’s throughout your journey.
Tell your child to tell you when he notices the letter. It might be the M in a McDonald’s sign. He might notice a B on a road sign. Then, give your child a sticker to place on the column next to that letter. It is so easy, and kids love stickers! Make sure you bring extra and blanket paper so your child can enjoy stickers without them ending up on your windows.
- Get Field Guides and Journal Discoveries
As you travel through the different states, having field guides available allow your kids to identify the different plants, trees, birds, and other animals they may spot. Different areas of the country have so many things to discover!
Give each of your children a blank journal, colored pencils, and pencils. Encourage them to document their discoveries! Your son can draw the first palm tree he notices or the strange bird at the rest stop.
- Category Games
These games can be adapted for all ages. Pick a topic, such as items you might find at the store or types of animals. Go around the car and each person has five seconds to name an item in that category. Increase the time when the item type gets harder.
Go around until someone is stumped. Then, that person has to sit out the next round and so on until there is a final winner. This game encourages memorization skills and cognitive thinking. Plus, it will spark that competition streak many children have. He will want to beat his older brother.
- Study Local History
Before you head out, pick up some books or download some articles about the history of the area you want to visit. Read the books to your children or print pictures to create lap books.
Making a lap book is easy! Using a manila folder, give your child printed pictures and glue. Then, he can write the facts he learns about each monument or area. These facts should be what interests you. He might not care how many people died at Gettysburg, but that cool ghost story might have sparked his interest.
Road trips are undoubtedly fun, and they offer the perfect opportunity for your kids to learn about new topics. You never know what your child might find exciting and spark a new interest when you are on the road. Safe travels!