Tuesday, June 1

Car Rides with Kids

I'm sure we could have a whole week long discussion on just this topic alone. Car rides with kids can be tough (to say the least.) Since our move over here to Lux we've had lots of road trips, giving us lots of time to try different car ride strategies. The good news is that there is hope. We've gotten better at it. Or more likely, the girls have gotten more used to them. I laugh when I think back to our first road trip here. It was a mere 2 hour drive to Heidelberg. It felt really, really, long. We recently graduated to a 8 hour drive home from Prague. It also felt really, really long. Mostly because it was.

This was the CD that saved us on the drive home from Prague - Peter and the Wolf, narrated by David Bowie. Audrey is currently enchanted with this story. And since Audrey is the one who is most vocal with her displeasure of long rides in the car, it was a true blessing that she was so engaged with something. I recently purchased her a Peter and the Wolf book due to her love of the music.
Music has consistently made our travels much more enjoyable. I put all the kids' CDs in a case and keep it in the back seat. The kids alternate choosing a CD. Along with Peter and the Wolf here are a few more of their favorites:

The Sound of Music Soundtrack
Mary Poppins Soundtrack
A variety of Dan Zanes CDs
Best of the Land of Nod Store Music (Vol 1 & 2)

I know many families enjoy listening to books on tape. We are just starting to get into these since the girls were given this book and CD.

I'd love to know what your kids' favorites are. Please leave a comment!

I'll be back later this week with more about car trips with kids.


km said...

We have a great Curious George book that came with 4 CD's. My kids love any book they can listen to, but especially the ones with good character voices. My boys are a bit older and they've started to enjoy Narnia on CD.

Sarah said...

Our savior is the DVDs. We drive from Seattle to Sacramento/Bay Area atleast once a year in one day (this year it will be 3 times). With two boys (14mo and 5) the DVD player has saved us.

Sarah from thewilltosee.com

Maria said...

I have taken many many car trips with my now-6 year old daughter, starting when she was 4 months old, and I agree, getting the kids used to it is key, as is practice for the grownups at coming up with distractions.

My daughter is starting to like the alphabet game, which helps. Unfortunately she's also starting to object to my musical selections – or, more accurately, my wish for some musical variety! She likes to hear the same song over and over and it drives me batty!

Frequent stops, treat-y snacks, occasional small wrapped presents (on the longer drives), have all helped. Also the simple act of pointing out scenery and talking about where we're driving through has been surprisingly successful.

We spent many months listening to the Sound of Music Soundtrack repeatedly in the car… it's a classic for a reason! She also enjoyed the Peter Pan soundtrack for a long time (the Mary Martin version has some dated, politically-incorrect references that the Cathy Rigby version doesn't have, if that's important to you). We also like David Grover music (www.davidgrover.com), and strangely enough, she loves Car Talk podcasts.

Looking forward to hearing other parents' suggestions!

Dim Sum, Bagels, and Crawfish said...

We are big audio/music nuts here. Some of our all time music favorites: Snack Time by Bare Naked Ladies, Little Bird by Elizabeth Mitchell, ABC by They Might Be Giants, and The Peanuts soundtrack (can't remember specific info but it is on Land of Nod's site). I just discovered Gooney Bird Kids which is great for kids music. We must get our hands on that Peter and the Wolf. Thanks for the suggestion.

Some favorite audio books that your girls might enjoy: Any of the Ramona Quimby series, The Lighthouse Family by Cynthia Rylant, Jim Weiss (especially his fairy tales, animal tales, good night stories),Frog and Toad,and Shel Silverstein.

We all find that a big bag of new library books make car time much easier, too. Really loving this week of kid stuff.

Dim Sum, Bagels, and Crawfish said...

Katy, I also wanted add this...I recently discovered that I can check out audio books from my library in the States (my account is still active). We haven't done it yet, but with summer quickly approaching I am going to give it a try because my kids are always eager for more audio books. Do you still have an active library account in the States or perhaps a friend/family member who can loan you their code?

Also, thanks for the camping comment. Check out this site for more ideas on "glamping"

The Expatresse said...

Oh, and the CD NO! by They Might Be Giants. Kid music you will listen to even when there are no kids in the car.

The Expatresse said...

We did a books on tape thing with Inkheart. Last for a whole trip through Cornwall.

My new car has a built in DVD player. With headphones. On the one hand, I sometimes wish they would LOOK at Europe as I drive through it. On the other, they sure are quiet.

katy said...

KM - My youngest loves Curious George. I'll have to look into that. Thanks for the suggestion.

SARAH - That's a long drive! Can't imagine making it 3Xs in one year. Eeek.

Maria - Thanks for the suggestions. I've never heard of David Grover. I'll have to look into him. The Peter Pan CD sounds intriguing. My oldest does really enjoy the Disney Classics CD we have.

Dim Sum - Loving the list of music recs. I think I'll have to indulge in one before our next trip. Thank you!

Expatresse - What is Inkheart? I'm curious.

Anonymous said...

My mom put me to work as the "navigator". It was my job to figure out the map and tell her which way to go next. I still have a love for maps thanks to her.

Of course, that is a little tougher now that kids are in the back seat.

Road Trippers said...

As you know we have road tripped like few others - (all 50 states in a year for those who haven't met us). I'll get preachy for one minute and say that I'm adamantly against dvds in the car and believe boredom is a *gift*.

Listening to books activates the same part of the brain as reading and here are our favorites:

Runny Babbit by Shel
Maurice Sendak anything
Jim Weiss anything (LOVE Treasure Island, Fairytale Favorites, Tom Sawyer & Animal Tales)
Horton Hears a Who
Laura Ingalls Wilder series
The Cricket in Times Square
Misty of Chincoteague

(We have Narnia and The Hobbit waiting for our little one to get a wee bit older.)

One final note: it's amazingly beautiful to see how creative kids will be (adults, too) when media isn't an option.

I remember them spending 3 hours making stuff for a birthday party for their stuffed animals - hats, presents, outfits, table wear, etc. out of Kleenex! When they were done we bagged it up and on another long stretch of road they created a hospital scenario using the same Kleenex -- bandages, etc.

Road Trippers said...

Oh I forgot about music! We made each kid a cd of their favorite music. We all agree my son has the best: Elvis, Dan Zane, The Killers, TMBG, Glen Campbell, John Denver, songs from The Bottle Let Me Down, The Cure, Monster Bash, Johnny Cash...

We also made a MEOW cd, with all songs having to do with cats. This keeps us from listening to the same "sound" over and over and over.

The Expatresse said...

Inkheart is a book: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inkheart

The author loves Brendan Frasier (well, who doesn't?) so he is in the movie, but the movie just isn't as good as the book. And the book-on-tape version is very good.

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