The Lost Art of Passing Time
Posted On Wednesday, May 06, 2015
There is nothing like a road trip. The open highway, the clear skies, and a bag of your favorite snacks create a singular experience. An overwhelming sense of freedom with an odd cocktail of peace and exhilaration...until about an hour into the drive. Suddenly the motivation to get where your going and the serenity of the road is overshadowed by the realization that you have not made any notable progress and the kids are not feeling the serenity, but rather, boredom. It is at this moment of piercing volume, that was an all-too-familiar sound track in our own cars, that some form of intervention is necessary. Popping a dvd into the minivan tv or passing back a mobile game to help them calm down. But what about other techniques? Portable games or dvd players, much less systems that are actually part of family size cars, are completely new and can be pricey. Fortunately, a childhood full of moving and long trips to visit the extended family has given me plenty of knowledge to share on the truly lost art of passing the unending hours of a road trip.
Road games are one of the simple things in life that are often overlooked, but never completely removed from our psyche. Coincidentally, these little themes and challenges are great time-spenders in the car on long road trips. Games as simple as Eye Spy, or the Alphabet game not only offer outrageously hilarious moments that no one outside the car will believe, but also help younger children develop linguistic abilities. You can also play around with variations of classic games. In my own family, we are far too competitive for a traditional game of Punch Bug, so we play with points. The scale we use is as follows:
Regular bug = 1 point
Convertible/Custom paint job = 2 point
Bug on a billboard/Classic/Company = 5 points
Hippie Van = INSTANT VICTORY
Making little tweaks like this has saved my family tons of stress and drama on our twenty-hour road trips to the extended family. As a result, we have a whole lot let bruising and a whole lot more memories that no one minds sharing with their friends.
My mom has always been one of those moms who believes in turning every experience into an "interactive educational opportunity". Because of this, she was always looking for interactive activities for us to do while we were going from one state to another or driving for family reunions. A simple activity that I was thrilled to find out she continued even when I was in college was making customized coloring books. My mom would copy or print off free color sheets and bought us each a reusable clipboard with storage and put a small box of crayons along with our own unique coloring book inside. Another one of my family's favorite past-times on road trips is listening to audio books. Books that are available through Focus on the Family's Radio Theatre program (available on iTunes) and Audible.com are more of productions than just books read aloud. Employing actors and vocal artists to portray the characters and narrate offers depth to the story and turns listening from a boring obligation to a vivid experience. There's a free trial for Audible Books on Amazon.com With everything from classic fiction to modern nonfiction available, these are deals that will please the whole family while providing an activity more stimulating and enriching to your entire family.
Hitting the Open Road
I have friends who rue the idea of an extensive road trip with their family. But it's one of my favorite parts of summer and provide me with some of the best stories. It's the twelve hour ride between college and home my brother and I shared that has secured our friendship will last through adulthood and several other road trips provided important milestones with my other siblings and friends. Please, feel free to learn from our mistakes and make your own personal touches to make your trip to Asheville one for the books.