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Friday, August 30, 2013

Unplugged Vacation Travel with Kids Part II

This is part II of An Unplugged Vacation.  Part I has some great ideas, too.

Right after the excitement of the county 4-H fair we took off on a family vacation.  I am not talking any vacation.  I am talking a 3550 mile round trip to visit my brother and sister in law in Connecticut. 

In. The. Truck.

Oh and the kids were totally unplugged.

I know what you are thinking.  Have they lost their minds?!

Honestly, the boys didn’t fight until we were headed home and I was fighting a head cold and was losing patience.  If we have the Ipod, tablet, DVD player, etc in the back seat someone is always complaining that
  • I don’t want to watch that movie.
  • He got to pick last time!!  It’s my turn!
And, my favorite…
  • He got the tablet 10 seconds longer than I did that‘s not fair! 

Really, there weren’t that many arguments unless they were super hungry or tired and they would have happened if they had technology.

So what did the boys do in the back seat for 3550 miles?  Part II....

Watch the GPS
We borrowed my parents Garmin for the trip.  (I said the back seat was unplugged, not the front seat.)  The oldest child seemed to enjoy watching the actual speed versus the speed limit signs.  He was quick to point out if we were speeding and watched the estimated arrival times closely.

Bed Time Math
Since I still had my phone, we did a little back to school math practice.  If you are a parent and haven’t found Bed Time Math yet you are missing out.  The blog posts give the kids some science, pop culture etc information and then ask math questions that are age appropriate.  It’s great for all ages.  Yes, it’s supposed to be a bed time thing to do with the kids, but it also works well while traveling or waiting at the doctor’s office.  Bed Time Math makes them practice math without them realizing it in an entertaining way.

Dollar Store Gifts
My mother in law loaded the boys up with a variety of dollar store presents that were even wrapped.  They could pick one an hour until they ran out.  Some were well received and others, well not so much.  The favorite was the Etch a Sketch Pen and the least favorite was the math flash cards.  

My boys are very much outside kids, so the challenge to see new wildlife was one they loved.  The saddest one we saw was a black bear that had been hit alongside an interstate in West Virginia.  

Lots and lots of snacks packed in the car kept them happy.  The boys must be getting ready to really grow as much food as they ate.  You could tell when they were hungry and they could tell when the other brother’s “sugar blood” needed to be replenished.  

Picture Search Book
I did buy one of these books where they have a list of things to find in different pictures.  It tricks them into reading and was entertaining to both boys.  They even made it into a competition.

Thank You Notes
Since we had just finished the county fair, the boys had several thank you notes to write for awards they had received.  Yes, I am the mom that believes a hand written thank you note is a must.  I don’t mind computer form written thank you notes, but I figure if you are special enough to get a monetary supported gift from someone, they deserve at least 2 minutes of your time writing a thank you note.  Ok, when you are seven years old it is more than 2 minutes, but I have seen the look on sponsors faces when they open a thank you note and realize the boys have written it themselves.  It is priceless!  Oh, and it was back to school writing practice.

4-H Record Books
Most kids and some parents hate the 4-H Record book.  I tend to enjoy hearing what the boys felt was important over the last year.  Having them trapped in the truck where they couldn’t get away worked well to get a good start on the records and gave them time to think about what they wanted to say.  Since little brother was filling out his first book, it was good for him to listen to big brother’s answers before he had to answer.

I am being totally honest when I say that I did not wish once that we had some electronic device in the back seat to entertain the boys.  Maybe my kids are not normal or maybe all of us parents need to make them take a trip back to the dark ages (when we were kids) every once in a while, so they appreciate what they have a little bit more.

Have you ever taken an unplugged trip with your kids?  What other ideas do you have to entertain the kids without technology?