Silencing the Are we there yet?s |

Silencing the Are we there yet?s

SARAH MAUSOLFEagle County correspondentSummit County, CO
HL Entertaining Kids MO 04-18-08

When Eagle-Vail resident Leah Mayers son was little, keeping him occupied in the car was easy. She waited until just before naptime to start the trip, and her son quickly dozed off.Now that her son is 7, hes outgrown that trick.Instead, Mayer entertains him by playing 20 questions or popping a Mighty Ducks movie into his portable DVD player. Sometimes Ill ask him to pack a bag of toys and hell pack it himself, she said. Hes always been a good traveler.No matter how good kids are with traveling, though, being cooped up in a car can test their patience. Without planning, a road trip can detonate a boredom bomb in the backseat.They can go stir-crazy and then it just makes your trip unbearable, Mayer said.Thats why moms have an arsenal of entertainment just for road trips. From Car-i-oke to counting the cows, moms have all kinds of tricks for keeping the peace in the backseat. After all, their sanity depends on it.If you dont plan ahead and you get in the car on the way to Denver and they dont have anything to do, its torture for you, Mayer said. So its self-preservation.

Several moms have added gadgets to their cars for the express purpose of amusing the kids. We actually purchased an after-market video for the car, with two screens, Avon mother Susan Bruno said. I swore I would never do that but I did it and I would never go anywhere without it.DVD players: Roughly 75 percent of the kid-toting customers who come into Castle Peak Ford in Gypsum ask about DVD players, salesman Dave Manguso said. Most of the car models there come with a 9-inch DVD player between the two front seats, he said. A DVD player adds $900 to the cars price tag, Manguso said.Car-i-oke: Luckily, the kids arent old enough to get tanked and belt out Sweet Caroline at the bar. Of course, its never too soon to start training. All American Car-i-oke is a kit with lyric booklets and CDs for the backseat singer. Its a suggestion from the founder of

Although gadgets are clutch, sometimes the old-fashioned games work best. Kentucky resident Laurel Smith started the website when her three children were little. A bunch of moms contributed road trip games. If youre on a really long road trip, you cannot watch 10 hours of movies, Smith said. You just cant. They dont want to do it. You have to have other activities.Surprise baggies: Prepare goodie bags for the children and give them out every 25 or 50 miles, Smith suggests. Pack each baggie with a snack or small toy or sticker. Tell the kids ahead of time how often theyll receive baggies, and how many theyll get over the course of the trip. You can tell them there are this many more surprise packages in the trip, and when you run out of packages, youve arrived, she said.Bubble Gum blowing: Rest stops are stocked with all kinds of quirky things jerky, penny-smashing machines, creepy truckers. Head for the gum aisle to score hours of bubble-blowing entertainment. When we stop for gas, we buy a lot of really weird gum and they love to do that because they dont usually get that kind of a treat, except on a road trip, Smith said.Mad Libs: Mad Libs can be an awesome [adjective] activity for kids. Theyre just really easy to tote around, Smith said. Children can work from booklets or make up their own fill-in-the-blank Mad Libs, she said.

Look, Mom: No equipment. These alternatives to fancy toys come from Lise OHaire and Story Evans, authors of TravelMates: Fun Games Kids Can Play in the Car or on the Go No Materials Needed. OHaire and Evans are moms from Atlanta, Ga., who wrote the book in 1997.Anteater Alphabet Nonsense: The object is to go through the alphabet describing nonsensical things the anteater does. The first player starts by saying A is for Anteater. Each player, in turn, makes up something with one word about what happens to the Anteater, using the next letter of the alphabet. Examples: A is for Anteater, B bit it, C caught it, D devoured it, E enjoyed it, F flaunted it.Math Magic: Surprise the kids by correctly guessing their secret number, using a mathematical formula. Ask each player to think of a number under 100. Tell them to: Multiply it by three. Add six to the answer. Divide it by three, and tell you the answer. The childs secret number is always two less than the final answer. For example: 4 times three = 12; 12 + 6 = 18; 18 % 3 = 6; 6 – 2 = 4.Sarah Mausolf can be reached at (970) 748-2938 or

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