Waiting in a restaurant, especially when traveling, can be hard on everyone. With some planning, you can turn that vacation downtime into family fun and an opportunity for learning.
Try these portable activities you can prepare before you travel so you'll have the games ready to play when you arrive in the restaurant.
Create a travel notebook
Before you travel: Let your kids buy notebooks and personalize them with decorations. Attach pencil holders with cardboard and tape or tie a pen to a spiral notebook.
In the restaurant: Be sure to have the kids take their notebooks into the restaurant so they can write or draw pictures about the trip. Encourage writing and thinking by making suggestions specific to your trip:
-Let's all draw a picture of the thing we liked best about the amusement park.
-Let's each make a list of three things we would miss if we lived in this town instead of in our town.
Before you travel: Look through the menu of a restaurant you might visit to get a general idea of the words that are used in descriptions of the food items. (Many menus are available online.)
Make a list of categories and questions like these:
- How many words can you find that start with "P"?
- How many verbs can you find? How many nouns?
In the restaurant: Establish a time limit—say 1-2 minutes to search the menu. Have each person write the words found in his or her travel notebook. Then, each person takes a turn saying a word aloud and showing where it occurs on the menu.
Use what they give you
If the restaurant provides crayons and a picture for the kids to color, create a game around it. Ask kids to make up names for the characters on the page, write the names, and even imagine what's going on in the picture. Kids can take the pages with them and continue their stories in the car.
There are so many ways to learn on the road during vacation. Ask us for more ideas next time you visit The Literacy & Language Center. Enjoy your vacation!