You can find tons of "Learn in your Car" language CDs as well as simple CD’s to listen in the car. For audial learners, these are great! For visual learners, it’s a bit frustrating, and perhaps even a little dangerous, if the learner is also the driver!
Making your Choices
Stay away from full curriculum set ups for your trip. Keep it light and fun, and grab a couple of traditional songs on a cheaper kid CD or folk song collection in the target language instead. You can take a few moments and choose three words per song to listen for. Clap your hands, or make some sort of signal each time you hear one of the words. This increases your and your children’s critical listening skills.
Choose some things you will see on your way – trees, bridge, traffic light, building, cows (they’re abundant here in Texas) restroom signs, restaurant, gas station, etc. Look those words up and print them neatly underneath a grid of those pictures. You can have your children cut out the pictures and paste them in a bingo card (we use 4×4, no free space), or even find some car bingo games that are already put together for you, and just label them in the target language. As you drive and mark the cards, the players call out the items in German, or Spanish, or French! For more advanced students, they must make a complete sentence – "The tree is big," etc…
We all tire of hearing several phrases while driving: How much longer? Are we there yet? I have to go! I’m bored. We’re hungry. Don’t lose your cool – be the best mom ever and …
HARNESS these repetitive phrases by requiring them to be in the target language. Most online dictionaries can give you a pretty good idea on how to say these. Here they are in Spanish:
I’m hungry: ……….…..Tengo hambre.
I’m bored: …………… Estoy aburrido (aburrida for girls)
How much longer?.. ¿Cuánto tiempo más?
Are we there yet?….. ¿Ya llegamos?
I have to go! ……………¡Tengo que ir!
Remember to have a stake – if you DO say the phrases in English, then you have to… stay quiet for two minutes, or count to ten in Spanish, or…. come up with something that isn’t too fun (our funny dance last time actually became desirable, so my kids were speaking English rather than Spanish on PURPOSE, just so they could do a silly dance whenever they desired. Whoops. Live and learn! Please give us all ideas on a good stake that worked for your family!
Enjoy the summer!
I’d love to hear if anyone is able to use these tips, where you went, and any vacation anecdotes on our Facebook Page