Depending on what part of the country you live in, travelling to and from the hockey rink can mean spending a lot of time in the car. So why not take advantage of the travelling that comes with minor hockey and make the most out of your drive time?
In an era where it is rare to spend uninterrupted time with your children, ditch the electronics and look to these fun ways to pass the time.
- Letter recognition: Ideal for younger hockey stars. Give your child a page with the alphabet printed on it. When you pass a highway sign or a street sign, your child can pick one letter from it and cross it off the list. One catch though — the alphabet list has to be done in order!
- Eye spy: A travel classic, even for older kids and teens. It’s a great way to get players’ dry, tired eyes and brains moving so they’ll be ready and sharp on the ice.
- Audio books: The library is a great place to pick these up for free, plus there is a plethora of online bookstores that enable you to download files instantly and, if you wish, burn them to a CD. Younger children may enjoy a read-along book. For older children, listening to the book they are studying in school may act as a great homework aid.
- Geography class: This is a great game the whole family can play. Before leaving on your road trip, print out a list of the provinces, territories and states. Look for out-of-area licence plates. When you find one, shout it out and cross it off your list. Once back at home, look these places up on a map of North America and see how far they travelled.
- Navigating: For older kids, use a road trip as an opportunity for them to learn how to use a map. Before setting out, have them highlight the route and find rest stops and fuel locations. Once on the road, have them help navigate to the final destination.
- Create a story: Have one person in the car start a story using only one line. For example: “I went in the car on my way to Oshawa and all I packed was my goalie skates and toothbrush when all of a sudden …” Have everyone in the car take turns building on the line of the person before. With each person the story will become sillier. How much fun is that?
- Get crafty: A great way to keep all the memories from this year’s hockey season in one place is to create a hockey season memory binder. Cover the binder in something to represent the specific year in hockey. If you are going away for a tournament, gather place information for your binder from information centres or tourism websites. At your final destinations, collect postcards and brochures. If you’re travelling locally, pick up arena mementos.
- Bingo: Nothing passes the time like a friendly game of car bingo. There are many great free, printable travel bingo cards online. The cards depict images of common objects you may see along your route (e.g. a yellow car or a construction sign). Adapt this for your older children by having the words written out (reading!), or make it a little more complex with harder-to-find objects (e.g. person with green coat, Jeep with tire on back).
- Name that tune: An all-time favourite. This is a great game for older children and teens. Scroll through the radio stations. Stop at the first one that comes in clearly. The object is to name the song (and the artist).
- Homework: Using time in the car to complete homework assignments is a great way to make the most of travel time. To make it easier and more comfortable, purchase a mobile work surface such as a bamboo lap desk (available online for $39.50 at Indigo) or a Kurgo auto tray table, which can hook onto the back of the driver’s seat (available online at Amazon for $24.99).
By Karyn Beacock — Trained Professional Organizer and Efficiency Expert, Spiral Into Control