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TV-Free Travel With Kids

January 3, 2013 5:41am (EST)
Check out Readeez on GPBkids.org
Check out Readeez on GPBkids.org

Like a lot of families, mine has been doing a lot of traveling over the last few months. With another trip to the grandparents still on the calendar this month, we aren't done traveling yet. Anyone we're related to lives at least 3.5 hours away, so that means we've spent a lot of time in the car, which can be a complicated thing with a four-year-old in tow. Add to the repeated weekends of long travel the horror of losing the car adapter for the portable DVD player. As a result, the journeys have gotten more creative.

Reading, Games, Music
We love books at our house (I stopped counting my son's books at 200) and have been reading in the car some. But, I'm not up for reading aloud non-stop for over 30 minutes or so at a time. We have a couple of car games we play. My son's current favorite is "I spy." He's getting really good at even tricky colors like brown. Over the next long ride, I'm going to teach him "Your Car, My Car." With each vehicle that passes, you take turns "claiming" it. It gets funny when you get work trucks and dump trucks while the other player(s) get hot rods.

It's not just books that get a lot of love with us. Music is also incredibly important. We like to think we appreciate a relatively wide range of tunes. My son loves anything he can dance to; he dances to anything. We do have a few "kiddie CD's," most of which were given to us. We listen to only two of them. One is last summer's camp CD. The other is Songeez, the CD version of Readeez. I was originally introduced to this music a couple of years ago at work and then bought the CD and three of the DVD's. The idea is that each song is a little sing-along-show with easy-to-read text that bounces onto the screen in syllables. Since our DVD player is out, we've been listening to the CD instead. My son knows every word, including "chandelier."

As kid songs go, Readeez is the most fun, non-repetitive, family-approved album so far. They're silly, funny, catchy, and educational as a bonus!

What are your long-drive recommendations for traveling with kids?

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