Parenting Raising kids Raising Readers summertime Uncategorized

How I Achieved Car Trip Silence…

Reading? They did, but only part of the time.

Were they sleep? Not that lucky.

Decided to be quiet just to be nice? Ha!

Here’s the deal–recently the kids and I took a trip home to see some friends and family, which is about a 3 hour drive. Since my children have decided that this is going to be the summer where they argue constantly (!!), and I was going to be the only adult in the car, I needed to come up with something that was going to keep them relatively engaged. Last year when we made this same trip, we tried our hand at listening to an audio book, Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo. It worked pretty well, its a wonderful book, and they were into it. But I’ll be honest, having no other adult to talk to with cruise control on the interstate had me looking like this:


Naturally that is not a good look, so I had to switch back to music every so often.

This trip I decided to go with something slightly different…podcasts. Now I’m not risky enough to just try any podcast, I had to make sure it was something they would enjoy. Enter these lovelies:

Thanks to Kids Place Live on satellite radio, we’ve gotten familiar with both of these broadcasts. We listen to Mindy Thomas in the mornings during the school year and the kids love her goofy antics. We don’t catch the Story Pirates as often, but they take story written by kids, and turn them into plays they act out on the radio. When I told the kids about the options they were excited about both, so I was very optimistic.

For me, the difference between the podcasts and the audio book was the length of time. Although there are multiple episodes, each episode is less than an hour, sometimes only 30 minutes. So, I knew that if I did start to get tired again (which I did), there was an end coming near and I easily turn on music.

Now I expected them to enjoy the novelty of listening to the podcast, but what I did not expect was the silence that ensued as soon as I turned on The Story Pirates. After dealing with their bickering for what has felt like the longest first two weeks of summer ever, their silence was music to my ears. We listened to one episode of each podcast on the way down, and they begged for the same on the way back.

So, if you’re looking for something for your kiddos to listen to on a long car ride, I would definitely recommend either of these podcasts. Not only will they enjoy it, but you might too, and if nothing else, their silence will lower your blood pressure, I know it did mine!


Parenting Raising kids Raising Readers summertime

Going on a trip? I’ve got a tip! (Summer tip #3)

Like many of you, we’re planning on taking a vacation this year.  And in preparation for that little trip, I will be bringing in some books.  I started this a couple of years ago, when we took our first vacation to the beach. For that trip, I grabbed Pete the Cat: Pete at the Beach. It was just a small gesture, something they could read before the trip, as well as on the drive down. However, it also helped them make connections with their beach experience.

Plus, who doesn’t love Pete the Cat?

It is something I also noticed both my kids experienced when they each made their trip to the zoo when they were in Kindergarten. In class they learned a lot about different animals they would see, and even had their own coloring book (that also had words) about those animals. And when we actually went on the field trip, they made references to their learning. For example, this year my son was explaining to me how orangutans are endangered as we are walking to the primate section. I was in shock, yet impressed at the same time.

So this year one of the highlights of our trip is going to be visiting an aquarium. Now luckily, my daughter is really into aquatic animals, and has already asked way too many times whether or not we’ll be seeing dolphins. She’s already got background knowledge, but during our next library trip we’ll look into getting some books, both fiction and non-fiction, that connect to that part of our trip.  Even if you’re going to visit family, trust me, there’s a book for that.

Not only will it make the vacation more enjoyable, it will also expand their vocabulary, and importantly, keep them reading over the summer.

In short, my tip is to somehow, someway, connect literacy to your vacation this summer. Not to mention, reading on vacation may buy you some silence in the car, plane, or train on the way to your destination, which will kick off your vacation the right way. 🙂

Have you made any connections with books for your vacations? Feel free to share below. Also, you can find my first two summer tips here and here.