Road trips are chock-full of wonderful ways to improve your children’s writing skills. That’s right: writing skills! Even without using a pencil, the following road trip activities will stimulate their brains and help them build stockpiles of writing inspiration. So pack up the car, and start your next great learning adventure—in disguise.
Play the Synonym Game
The name is the game. Simply call out a word! Your kids can take turns naming synonyms (words with the same or are similar meaning). Need inspiration? Pick up any book, fast-food bag, or travel brochure you have on hand in the car. See how long you can go before you can’t think of any more synonyms, and then switch to antonyms (words that have opposite meaning).
Here is an example:
Starting Word: CONNECT
Synonyms: join, attach, assemble, put together, fasten, unite, hitch onto, marry
Antonyms: divide, separate, take apart, disassemble, detach, sever, unlink
After a few rounds, let the kids take turns leading the game. Who knows, Mom and Dad may even learn a new word or two!
Describe a Person, Place or Thing
This is a twist on 20 Questions. But instead of asking questions, players listen to clues and try to guess the person, place, or thing being described. Announce the category (person, place, or thing). Then take turns describing whatever it is, one word at a time. Start with general clues and become increasingly more specific.
For example, Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables fame could be described as follows: person, girl, young, sassy, intelligent, mischievous, green, “Carrots,” red-headed, orphaned, imaginative, and so on.
Complete the Sentence
Make up a sentence, but omit some words in the middle or leave off the entire ending. Let your children take turns completing the sentence with a single word or more. Wacky answers are encouraged! Here are a few examples to get you started:
- Yikes, there’s a _____ in my soup!
Example: Yikes! There’s a fat green frog swimming around in my soup!
- Nana’s ten pigs ate . . . .
Example: Nana’s ten pigs ate all the zucchini, tomatoes, and peppers in her garden.
- Uh-oh! My _____ got loose!
Example: Uh-oh! My brother’s sneaky ferret got loose.
- Emily loves to yodel to her elephant while . . . .
Example: Emily loves to yodel to her elephant while standing on her head in her striped pajamas.
Once they get the hang of it, turn the tables and let the kids come up with sentences to complete.
Crafting a story is great fun. Retelling a story is great fun, too. Encourage older children to engage and entertain younger siblings by telling a story.
Stories can be:
- a recap of a funny incident that happened on your trip
- a tall tale from their imagination, inspired by something they saw on the road or by our StoryBuilders
- a summary from a book or movie
- an interesting story from local or national news
- a historical account they learned on the road trip
Ideally, younger siblings will be inspired to weave a tale or two of their own. Pose a challenge. Invite your younger children to retell a favorite picture book story, but ask them to replace the main character with themselves. Will they behave differently than the main character? Will their leading role lead to a different ending? Their stories might just have you on the edge of your seat!
Make use of travel time by holding spelling bees. Any travel brochure or map that you have on hand can serve as inspiration for the quiz. Find a likely word, and ask your travel mates how to spell it. Then pass the travel brochure or map to the winner (or the person next to you), who chooses the next spelling bee word. Continue passing the turn around the car.
Does your family have a favorite road trip activities or games? Share it with us in the comment section!