Summertime is travel time, and even the shortest car trips can seem long to children. Here are some things to do that will help pass the time -- and help your children develop reading and writing skills.
* Most children are natural collectors of things, as you find out by what's in their pockets on wash day. On trips, encourage your child to collect things -- rocks, leaves, feathers. Have her write information about the object on a 3 by 5 card: what it is, where and when it was found, what it's used for. When you return home, your child can set up a museum display of the items collected on the trip.
* Take along a small tape recorder. Record impressions, conversations and general descriptions as you travel. Keep the tape - or a handwritten or typed manuscript of the tape - with the photographs from your trip.
* For longer trips, go to the library ahead of time and pick out books related to your destination, as well as to the places through which you will be traveling. Include some books with interesting pictures. As you travel, you and your child can browse through the books, look up the answers to questions you both may have about the places you are passing, and get ready for what's coming next.
* On short, familiar trips, point out and read any signs you pass. Whenever you make the same trip, play a game to see how many signs your child can remember or point out or read.
-- From "101 Ways to Help Your Child Learn to Read and Write," by Mary and Richard Behm (1995, ERIC/EDINFO Press, $3.99)
Pub Date: 6/21/98