Welcome to Neighborhood Lit.!

April 15, 2019 3 min read

(Photo by Matthew Henry from Burst)

Many families travel during the month of April for Spring Break. Parents often ask, “How can we keep our kids entertained without relying heavily on electronics?”  It can be tricky to find activities that are engaging, stimulating and easy to do while you are traveling, but it can be done. Check out these fun and simple travel tips that will help keep your kids busy reading and writing while on vacation.   

  • Read a book  -This almost goes without saying because it is the easiest and most obvious place to start.  Stock up on books before you leave by visiting your local library or bookstore. Older kids might have required school reading, but younger kids might enjoy picking out new books just for your vacation.  While it is easy to bring the books, it is just as easy to “forget” to read them so set a goal of at least 15 minutes (more on the days you are actually traveling) of reading time. You can also keep a log of reading time - if your child accomplishes the daily goal every day that you are away, you may want to reward them with a small souvenir of their choice at the end of your trip.
  • Keep a Journal- Not only is this is another popular and easy way to keep reading and writing on vacation, but it also is such a fun way to remember and collect mementos of your vacation experiences. Rereading journals from past trips is a fun way to relive those family vacations. Encourage your child to write about what they did each day and include ticket stubs, receipts, brochures, postcards or other memorabilia from the day.  They can also write about a favorite part of their day, a new food they tried, a fun fact they learned or new people that they met. In this day and age, it is important to remember that journals do not have to be limited to notebooks, but can also include video journals. Use phones or buy an inexpensive disposable camera to take videos and pictures of your experiences that you can add to your journal when you get back home.  
  • Become a travel agent- Let your children get involved in helping to plan the trip.  If you are going to a new place, help them find it on a map, look it up on the Internet or get books about where you are going.  After researching the area together or independently, let them pick a few excursions or activities that they want to do. You can also get them involved by asking them to make a list of the things that they need for that particular activity or for the trip as a whole. When you are packing, give them the list and let them check off each item as it is packed.   
  • Pack a Backpack- Older kids may have homework to complete while you are away, but younger kids may need a few other activities to keep them entertained during downtime. Before you leave, make sure you have a variety of activities for the kids like crossword puzzles, word searches, coloring books, Mad Libs, Wikki Stix, playing cards or card games like UNO, hidden pictures or activity books.  You can even wrap a few up and distribute them throughout the car or plane trip so that they get something new and exciting to occupy them during the long travel hours. It doesn’t have to be extravagant.
  • Engage in Conversation- Do not underestimate the importance of having authentic conversations with your family. Literacy is not only the ability to read and write but also the ability to listen and participate in meaningful conversations with others.  The art of conversation has gotten lost amidst smartphones and iPads so that some parents and kids may not know what to talk about. If you need a little help getting started, there are several conversation starters for sale such asTable Topics that will help prompt family discussions.  Of course, you can have plenty of interesting conversations simply if you put the electronics away while sightseeing or eating at a restaurant and talk about what you did that day or what you see around you.  

With a little extra effort and planning, you can help limit the time your family spends on electronics while you travel.  Instead, you can focus on being present in the moment, spending quality time together and keeping your children engaged and open to learning about the world around them.