25 June, 2012

Over the River and Through the Woods: Audio Stories for the Car

Over the river and through the woods, to Grandmother's house we go . . . 

For our family, Summer means swimming lessons, blueberry picking, and a trip to Grandmother's (and Grandfather's) house.

My DH's parents are so very kind as to invite us to spend some time with them, each summer.  So every year DH and I pack up the car and the children, and head out.  (Isn't it amazing that that sentence sounds so simple?  Even now that our children are getting a little older, "packing up the car" is quite a feat.)  The trip is quite long, almost 700 miles.  And gone are the days of my childhood, when long car trips meant folded down seats with sleeping bags and pillows, and puppet show performances for drivers in the cars behind you.  Now children have to have appropriate car seats and stay buckled into them, whenever they are in the car.  Don't get me wrong here, I am all for safety, but thinking of things for our children to do for 12+ hours, is not easy.

This was made especially clear to us when our third child was born.  Our older children seemed blessed with fairly good constitutions and were able to read, draw, and watch videos on the special TV we hooked up just for this trip every year.  But our third child, alas, becomes motion sick very easily.  Over the years we have found a few things that help with this:

1.  Rescue Remedy Spray:  We used this when C was about 2 years old.  It is an herbal spray that may be sprayed directly onto the tongue.  It is supposed to help with all kinds of stressful situations.

2.  Ginger:  In any form, ginger is a life saver when it comes to motion sickness.  My older children take it on long trips when they have to sit in the way back of the car or on a stuffy bus.  We like the pills, but you can also get it candied or of course, in the form of ginger ale or ginger tea.  Our youngest is just now getting old enough to be able to tolerate "spicy" ginger ale and although she still cannot swallow pills, the ginger ale is very helpful.

So these two things are helpful, but still don't help with the "What should my "stuck in her carseat and can't read, draw, finger weave, or watch movies" child do to make the long trip seem not quite so long?" problem.  We can only play the alphabet and license plate game for so long, you know?

The answer came to us in the form of . . . audio stories of course!
We are lucky to have a library that has lots of great stories with accompanying CDs.  (Most of the time, our daughter used the CDs without looking at the books because of her motion sickness problem. )

These CDs were a great start and served us well for a couple of years, but this year we decided to look for something more!  We found some longer audio stories at the library, on a playaway.  This is a little matchbox sized thingymambob into which a listener can plug headphones.  These were great too, but I wanted to see what audio stories I could find online.

I found some wonderful things!

The Twizzlecaps Find Fairyland:  I wrote about this story in an earlier post which you can find here, but let me reiterate, it is wonderful!  It is very descriptive, includes sound effects and music, and tells a wonderful story.

Sparkle Stories:  These are original audio stories written, performed, and produced by a husband and wife team, in Vermont.  They are parents and teachers and have a wonderful gift for spinning enchanting and engaging stories.  This site offers sample packs of stories or series of stories by subscription.  For our trip, I chose to purchase two sample packs, but after my daughter's rave reviews, I am seriously considering a subscription!

Once Upon A Bedtime:  These are lovely stories with engaging characters.  Natasha Edney has a lovely voice and drew me in with the preview of her stories.  As my daughter and I listened, I knew she would enjoy all the other stories as well. 

Seal Maiden: A Celtic Musical:  I found this CD at our library, but I also found it online.  If your library doesn't have a copy, you can find it on itunes or at amazon.com.  The music is lilting and rhythmically interesting, and Karan Casey has a beautiful voice.  My husband and I listened to this CD with my daughter (although, I must confess, my older children had their own sets of headphones on) and we all enjoyed it.  It is a full musical complete with dialogue to accompany the songs.  

I hope you find these resources helpful, and that they help make your trip over the river and through the woods, a bit more enjoyable.  

Happy Summer Travels!