My wife has been off touring Boston and New York with her Aunts and Mom, leaving me "home alone" with Jon, Aidan and Tasha. The first few days went relatively smoothly, but then we hit the weekend and I had to deal with keeping an 8 year old and a pair of 5 year olds entertained, out of mischief and preferably away from the TVs and computer screens. What to do? Only one thing in Southwestern Ontario at this time of year, on a sunny day. Pile everyone into the Pathfinder -sky-high gas be damned (FYI, here in London, Regular gas is currently going for $1.36L or $6.19 per gallon, so I don’t want to hear any more whining about $4.50 per Gallon prices)- and off to the beach.
Of course, a drive of any length means facing the dreaded "are we there yet?" chorus… Which is where the secret weapon comes in. Not GameBoys, DVDs, a DS or iPods. Books. But not just any books, I happened to have a few more of the "Ology" series on hand. I posted about how much Tasha enjoyed the Dragonology Field Guide To Dragons in May, and the publisher was good enough to send a few other sample volumes for us to look at. I passed out the Pirateology and Mythology books to the boys, while Tasha had a companion book to her original Dragonology guide. And I have to say, I haven’t had a quieter ride in a long time.
A few readers sent comments to my original post, pointing out that there are alternatives to the "Ology" series that might be more detailed or historically accurate (at least in the case of the Pirate and Egyptian offerings), but I have to say that I remain impressed by the level of detail that goes into these books. Each contains all sorts of special interest items for a child to discover: we had fold out maps, collecting cards, a quill pen, a working compass and other items to look at. The layout, "distressed" presentation and illustrations are enough to hold their attention for a considerable length of time and the special interest items are icing on the cake. The kids read the books all the way to the lake, most of the way home, then took them up to bed with them this evening. I haven’t heard a video game all day, which is a little strange, but definitely not a bad thing.
While I’d recommend the "Ology" books in general, if you’re planning a road trip with young kids this summer, they also make great additions to the parents’ driving arsenal.