Friday, April 21, 2017

Keeping Kids Educationally Entertained on Long Road Trips!

FTC disclaimer:  I am part of the U.S. Cellular Blogger Brigade.  This is a sponsored post.  All opinions are my own.

It's nearly summer, and the time for road trips is just around the corner.  My husband and I are hoping to go to the family reunion in Florida (and because of where it is in Florida, it's cheaper to drive, although more time consuming.)  Plus I am hoping to go to an event in Indianapolis where a number of friends from college will be there.  We just returned from a trip to Budapest, Hungary, as well.  As much as we travel, you would think I would be an old pro at it, but I get bored easily, as my husband would readily tell you.

Me having an iPhone 7 and U.S. Cellular which has high-quality national coverage is a sanity saver for my husband.  I have always loved learning and I'm so happy for so many resources on the Internet and apps to help me be entertained while gathering facts I can use during a trivia game at some point! In fact, some apps are collaborative so I can even compete against friends no matter where I am or where they are!

One app that I use often is Duolingo.  I was facinated with languages as a child and often went to the library to check out the Living Language records.  For the longest time, our library only had Italian, so I would listen to those records for hours as a child.  However, now with Duolingo, I can learn basic words and phrases in another language in no time with the interactive app.  Hungarian is one of the most difficult languages to learn, but I learned several phrases in the language -- I would have learned more, but even simple phrases in the language were hard.  (I'm doing well in the German section of Duolingo though.)

Since it's more common for kids to have a cell phone -- in fact 58% of those who answered a survey said they have at least one child with a cell phone -- and 79% of adults have a smart phone to assist them in traveling, these devices can be sanity savers on trips.  It seems that there are more and more educational apps that also provide entertainment.

For kids learning to read, Hooked on Phonics has a great app.  Mathmateer will keep grade schoolers busy with fun math missions.

Stack the States is great for a cross country trip, teaching kids about U.S. Geography, state capitals, and flags.  In fact, I wish that this app (as well as smart phones) were available years ago when my mother received a call back from a very famous game show where you could win LOTS of money.  Until her next round, she and I "trained" for the trivia show every evening after she got home from work.  She needed to refresh her knowledge of the states and their capitols, so this would have been great for her to use.

Smart phones can help you manage every aspect of a road trip from keeping kids quiet in the back seat to finding deals on gasoline, the must try local restaurants, and even help with booking a hotel room.

Another way my husband and I use my smartphone on road trips is finding a neat place to stop.  I love quirky roadside attractions, and they are easy to find with my iPhone 7.  My favorite oddity I ever visited was Bassigator in Louisiana.  He is a 50 foot long half bass fish, half alligator and 100% styrofoam.  I like to make our stops during road trips interesting, and from the world's largest teapot, to a metal guitar statue in Tupelo, Mississippi that plays Elvis songs 24/7, using my smart phone helps makes breaks along our trip more interesting than just stopping at a rest stop.  Maybe you could challenge your children to find a couple of these types of things along your route.

So no matter where you go this summer, near or far, there's lots of ways to keep your kids (and yourself) edu-tained!

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