Are we there yet?

Hello parents! With the July 4th weekend approaching, many of us will taking some long road trips. Whether you will be traveling to a BBQ, visiting family or going to the beach, you may be slammed with the always charming question from your children or your spouse, “Are we there yet?”

In today’s society, we are certainly not lacking in ways to occupy our children during these car rides. Portable DVD players, iphones, ipads, ipods; am I forgetting any other device with an i???  I myself am addicted to my iphone, so I can relate to the fascination, but the disconnect between people seems to grow as we continue to connect to the internet and electronic devices. More importantly, this lack of interaction means valuable, educational time that parents and children can be talking, discussing and laughing falls by the wayside. Sometimes, it is just easier to let children play what they want; they are occupied, happy and quiet! I get that and I am all for letting your child play the games they want, even educational games, but there is a time and place for everything.

I have vivid memories of taking long car rides with my family to visit relatives or go skiing. Yes, there were hours of listening to the radio, reading books or just gazing out the window but there was also a lot of talking and playing our favorite car game – the license plate game. As an adult, I passed this tradition to my husband and we will teach my son when he is old enough to understand.

This is the concept: We would record all of the different license plates we saw on the road. It is a simple game that can lead to a lot of interesting conversation.You can start with just listing the plates or you can introduce the game in a more challenging way.  For each state you spot, you must figure out the state capital and the nickname (i.e. the garden state). To go a step further, ask them in what part of the country each state is located or list well-known landmarks that exist in that state. The possibilities are endless, it just takes some creativity (and maybe a little help from your internet connected devices)!

There are always teachable moments in things we do with our children. You never know when you will spark some curiosity or introduce something to them that they will take interest in exploring further. The younger the better and the longer the car ride, the more license plates you will find, I promise. Try it this weekend and let me know how it goes! Happy 4th of July!


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  1. * Carol Berman says:

    What a great idea. It is so important to use whatever time you have with your children in an positive way. Learning may be the by-product but the time you effectively spend together is priceless. Keep the suggestions coming!

    | Reply Posted 6 years, 8 months ago

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