Taking a roadtrip to visit Grandma doesn’t mean you have to put your child’s education on hold. Of course if you are a teacher at heart then you look for teaching opportunities in everyday situations anyways. You don’t stop being your child’s teacher when you walk out the door of your home. Whether it’s a short day trip or a week long excursion, you can {and probably already do!} keep your children engaged as you travel.


Have A License Plate Hunt

Once your kids have a general idea of the names of the states {and can read them!} have them search for as many different license plates as they can. My three older kids starting doing this on their own at the beginning of our most recent long distance trip. They had so much fun searching for new states on the way to our destination that they continued, even throughout our visit; in parking lots, rest areas, rush hour traffic, etc. I was surprised that they actually found 24 different states throughout our trip. If your children are drawn to detective work then this is the activity for them!


Paper Maps

Maps, other than the one on your GPS, are becoming pretty much obsolete. I’m old fashioned and actually prefer to print out a map online and carry a state map in my car before I use a GPS. Map skills are important for kids in this day and age because there might be a time when your child might not have GPS access.You and I learned how to read maps in school so we always have that knowledge to fall back on. If we don’t expose this skill to our kids then the panic of being lost when they don’t have access to a GPS might hinder them from making rational choices in a difficult situation. Rather than being sent into a panic, if your child has basic map skills they can lean back on this simple survival skill with confidence if need be.



Engage your family’s imagination with a family-friendly audiobook. Even if you have a DVD player in your van or SUV, I would encourage an audiobook over a movie, even over an audio drama. An audio drama is a story with different people’s voices representing different characters. An audiobook is the simple reading of a story, by one individual. This type of story excites one’s imagination as the auditor inflects his voice differently for each character, drawing you into a whole new world. Audiobooks allow you to experience a classic or an obscure story that you’ve been wanting to read but never seem to have the time for. It also helps the time fly when your whole family is engrossed in a five hour story during a long drive. Don’t be surprised for them to ask for more of the story every time you get back in the vehicle after a bathroom break!


Unit Study/Lapbook

Will you be passing by Yellowstone National Park on your trip? Heading near Boston, MA? Even if you won’t have a chance to visit every historical site, landmark or museum on your trip your kids can still be informed about the area where you will be visiting. Create or purchase a unit study on the state, city or famous landmark that you will be near or passing by. Make sure your children are aware of their surroundings and location while they are there. For example, studying in advance about the Amish before you travel through Lancaster, PA can give them great insight and understanding about a culture other than their own.

How do you make your travel time educational? Comment below!