Thoughts of the annual family car trip bring up feelings of anticipation mixed with dread for most parents.




But Perii Hauschild-Owen, a librarian in the Ashland Public Library's children's department, has book picks to help make those hours spent strapped down by seat belts pass more quickly. This week covers books that describe fun and educational games that can be played in the car. Next week's column will look at books on tape, as well as family travel guide books.




Tops on Hauschild-Owen's list is "Carschooling: Over 350 Entertaining Games Activities to Turn Travel Time into Learning Time &

For Kids Ages 4 to 17" by Diane Flynn Keith.




This book goes far beyond usual travel games such as 20 Questions or tic-tac-toe. As the title promises, it really does provide games for different ages, from preschool to teen. If you decide to buy a copy for your own family, "Carschooling" would stand the test of time as kids grow.




Here's a sampling of some of the games and activities Keith suggests:




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162; Collect bugs that aren't splattered beyond recognition off the windshield or radiator. Use an insect field guide to identify each find and share information with other family members. Keith provides a fascinating explanation for why the goo that squirts out of squashed bugs comes in different colors.




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162; Use on-the-road food like soda, French fries, pickles and unsweetened ice tea to discover which parts of the tongue detect sweet, salty, sour and bitter.




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162; During night driving, have your kids chew on WintOGreen Lifesavers with their mouths open. The crushed sugar crystals will release negative and positive charges and an invisible ultraviolet light.




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162; For fun with license plates, try to find plates with numbers that add up to 21 or more. Each player scores a point when he or she finds such a license plate, and the first player with 10 points wins. Another game is to try and find all of the letters of the alphabet in order from A to Z on license plates. Or make a photocopy of a U.S. map and let kids color in the states they spot on plates.




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162; To practice multiplication, players take turns "skip-counting" by twos, threes or other numbers. Examples: 2, 4, 6, 8 or 4, 8, 12, 16. The player who says the wrong number loses.




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162; Pick something in the distance and all family members guess how many miles away it is. Use the odometer to see who is closest.




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162; One person starts by making up the first line to a story. The next person adds a sentence that begins with "unfortunately." The next player adds on to the story but must start the sentence with "fortunately."




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162; Make your own audiobooks at home by reading into a tape recorder. Older kids can take on different speaking roles from the book. Play the audiotape on a trip.




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162; Have kids look at a map and chart a course from home to your destination, or from one city to another.




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162; Bring a roll of aluminum foil and let kids make foil sculptures.




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162; Keith writes that dry-erase markers can be used to draw pictures on car windows that can be easily wiped off. (I'm not going to let my kids try this one!)




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162; Use sign language charts to finger spell the letters of words found on passing signs. The Ashland Public Library has sign language books, and charts can also be found on the Internet.




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162; Hold "Rest Stop Olympics" with events like trying to do the most jumping jacks in 30 seconds. Record the results and have kids try to beat their previous results at each rest stop.




For other books with car games, Hauschild-Owen recommends "Car Travel Games: Puzzles, Games and Things to do on a Journey &

or at Home" by Tony Potter, "The World's Best Travel Games" by Sheila Anne Barry and "On the Road: Fun Travel Games Activities" by George Shea.




Bon voyage!