Now that summer is upon us, many of you are likely about to embark on a family road trip.
And to that end, I thought I would share a little secret with you to keep those hours just a touch more sane.
Books on CD.
Here's why. The story keeps the little buggers engaged (read, "quiet"). One could argue that a DVD would do the same, and one would be right. But, call me old-fashioned, I like kids to be looking out the window on a road trip. I want them to see how the country changes from one region to the next. And when they're watching every movie Disney ever made, that ain't gonna happen. Eyes get glued to the screen and become oblivious to the world around them.
With the books on CD, you get the same rapt attention, but a) it's to a story being read aloud, so they get to use their imaginations to provide the visuals for the characters, the scene, etc; b) as I said, they are getting to enjoy the scenery as you drive along; and c) I find that stories appeal to a wider age range than movies, so multiple age groups could enjoy the same story, something that does not generally happen with movies.
We've listened to Island of the Blue Dolphins, Rascal, Swiss Family Robinson, James and the Giant Peach, Shiloh, Incredible Journey, and more. Our kids are 4 1/2 years from oldest to youngest, and include both boys and girls, and they've never really complained about a story being too girly, too boring, too babyish. With DVDs, we've heard all those complaints. And more. Till they made my ears bleed.
Where can you find them? Book stores carry them, but they tend to be expensive. I was usually able find a decent selection at the library. Amazon has the most to choose from, and they are reasonably priced.
A quick peek at Amazon and I saw Charlotte's Web, Anne of Green Gables, The Hobbit, Treasure Island, Tom Sawyer, The Borrowers, The Secret Garden, Peter Pan, Little House on the Prairie, and on and on. LOTS of great choices. Think of it: exposure to great literature, AND quiet kids in the car. And of course the whole thing about seeing the mountains and rivers and whatnot along the way. Trust me when I tell you this is a win-win-win.
Happy reading and road tripping!