Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Rand McNally Boredom Breakers

With Labor Day coming up, many of us will be on our last hurrah of the summer. It's always a great time for a weekend getaway. I grew up going on driving road trip vacations all over the US. We went from MI out west to Yellowstone, down to Florida, to see relatives in George, and over to New York too. It didn't have to be long drive to call it a road trip, some of my favorite travel memories are from the other side of the state on the beach in Saugatuck.

While going places was a lot of fun, getting there wasn't always. I am sure my mom often wished for more room in the backseat between me and my younger brother. I was lucky and could read in the car when I was younger. Now it gives me motion sickness but then I was fine. My mom always sought out ways to distract and entertain us along the way. I'm sure that if Rand McNally's Boredom Breakers had been available then, she'd have snapped them up.Rand McNally, the venerable American company that has been helping families find their way for more than a century, just introduced a series of innovative games and activities to keep kids entertained and families connected in the car. The Boredom Breakers™ line is a refreshing alternative to portable DVD players and handheld video games many families use to pass time on long road trips or while shuffling around town. The products are designed to bring families together, encouraging conversation, laughter and fun making the miles fly by for moms and kids on the go.

Rand McNally developed the five games based on extensive parent research. Moms across the country were clear about what they like - creative activities that make kids laugh and allow family members to learn more about one another - and what they don’t like - games with a lot of little pieces.

With that, Boredom Breakers were born! The five activities are sold separately at RandMcNally.com and Amazon.com. Tell stories, solve mysteries, play car games, sing classic pop tunes, discover new things about each other…and do it together as the hours quickly pass.
She loves stickers so the Magnetic Message Makers, were great. They come with two reusable and removable magnets that resemble bumper stickers. You also get five sheets of stickers to decorate them. You can spell out a message like, "Florida or Bust" or use some of the destination stickers like of Mount Rushmore to give a hint of where you're heading. There is a good variety of sticker icons and while you might run out of commonly used letters, you can always improvise like I did when I didn't have enough /n/ to make sun.

The part I liked best is that the stickers are removable, so if you're going some place else next month you can start over and make a new one. The stickers themselves are not reusable, so that does mean there will be a limited number of time you can use the Magnet Message Makers. The magnets really are easily removable, my daughter had a lot of fun putting ours on and off and on and off. But since they are so easily taken off, make sure you put it in your glove box when you arrive at your destination.
The biggest trip we'll be taking soon is not very far in distance but is huge in the level of importance. It's going to preschool for the very first time in a couple of weeks. So we made one for that special journey. Even though these aren't really meant for this, I thought the colorful stickers still did a great job showing some of the fun things she'll do at school.

Once the removable stickers are used up, I think creating a special Magnet Message Maker, maybe an "I love my family" one would be a fun activity. You can use your own stickers or even permanent markers to decorate it and get even more use out of them.
We also got the Car Game Countdown, which comes with a cute car shaped countdown digital timer. Even the game cards are car shaped so the whole activity is attractively designed. I like how the cards were all on a big plastic ring and that the cards are very sturdy and laminated. Little hands can handle them and join in the fun too.

I was happiest about the fact that several of the activities are suitable for a three year old but still interesting enough for older kids as well. Some of the games included are simple like Car Chase: seeing who can spot the highest number things commonly seen from a car like red cars, license plates with the number 9, etc. We did this out load and worked on counting together in the car. She's squeal excitedly, "I see another Mama!"

Other are a bit more complex, like making up as the longest silly sentence you can think of in one minute. ER likes to play Freeze Frame, even though she doesn't actually play it right. She just giggles away as I act all silly making poses and faces. When we're supposed to freeze and see how can hold their pose the longest she just laughs and laughs. I wonder what the people driving by think of all this!

There are five great Boredom Breaker's available, and I really want all five but ER isn't old enough for the two I liked the most:

Story Starters: Packed with 72 minutes of funny stories, mysteries and games, this interactive CD will be an instant road trip hit. Story Starters combines the best of classic radio-style drama and audio effects to get families telling stories together. Hearing is truly believing!

{and}

Travel Card Games: Travel Card Games features three great games to pass time and start conversations. Includes a slim storage box to easily stow in the backseat pocket.
Deck #1: 30 Second Interview features rapid fire questions to get families talking and learning about each other.
Deck #2: I Saw it First includes pictures you might see out the window on a trip, and the twist is they have point values. The rarer the item, the more points it is worth.
Deck #3: Tough Choice is the game that gets kids and grown ups thinking, reasoning and laughing TOGETHER. Each card has a “Tough Choice” question to ponder and explain.

Don't those sound like fun? Check out Rand McNally's Boredom Breakers the next time you'd like to avoid the endless, "Are we there yet," questions!
Disclaimer: Thank you to Rand McNally for providing the review products.

5 Friends Said:

dougandcheryl said...

Great stuff! We're going on a long road trip... leaving tomorrow. Too bad I don't have these. Next time!

Tonja said...

Hey Katie

I just wanted to say thank you for your nice words over on the old bloggeroo. It has been so rough lately and I have needed them =)

I was gonna give you a call yesterday but I didnt know what was a good time or not. Just lemme know!

Talk to you soon

Xazmin said...

What cool ideas! Thanks for the tips, I'll definitely have to look into this!

*Noelle* said...

those are great!! gavin would really like them!

Tara said...

These looks very fun! Maybe in a year or so, Andrew would be interested. I'll keep something like this in mind for the future.

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