Elementary Programs Chapter

Road Trip

Books To Share

  • Road Trip by Roger Eschbacher.
  • Stringbean’s Trip to the Shining Sea by Vera Williams.
  • Take Me Home, Country Roads by John Denver.
  • This is Texas by Miroslav Sasek.
  • Tulip Sees America by Cynthia Rylant.
  • Wild West Trail Ride Maze by Roxie Munro.
  • A World of Wonders: Geographic Travels in Verse and Rhyme by J. Patrick Lewis.

Books to Show or Booktalk

  • Amelia's Are-We-There-Yet Longest Ever Car Trip by Marissa Moss.
  • Barfing in the Back Seat: How I Survived My Family Road Trip by Henry Winkler.
  • Dancing in a Cadillac Light by Kimberly Willis Holt.
  • North by Donna Jo Napoli.
  • Nowhere to Call Home by Cynthia DeFelice.
  • Train by Mike Dunning.

Bulletin Board

Reading Route

Create “route” signs using the templates provided. Add letters for various Dewey classifications so that your bulletin board includes Route 636 for books about pets, Route 971 for history, etc. Staple old postcards or book jackets from travel books along the “route.”


Send a Card!

Ask staff, family, and friends to lend or give postcards from places they have visited across the United States. Create a display showing the many wonderful, and sometimes weird, places in our country. Include travel books, especially those written for children, in the display.


Use the Ellison road border die cut to create a stretch of highway, or draw a stretch of highway for your bulletin board. Tape the borders to areas in the children’s department or other areas of the library. Use any of the Ellison car dies and add them to the road. If desired, write the names of books on the cars. Die cuts of traffic signs can also be used to point the way to areas of the library, the children’s desk, reading club activities, or other events.


Road Food

Plan an indoor or outdoor roadside picnic. Use checkered tablecloths on the floor, tables, or walls to create atmosphere. Serve picnic foods, keeping the choices as simple or complex as your programming will permit. Serve Rocky Road ice cream for dessert.

Ants in the Sand

Place graham crackers in a plastic sandwich bag. Crush the graham crackers with a rolling pin. Add chocolate sprinkles. Scoop into small bowls or cups and give each child his or her own serving of “ants in the sand.”


Oriental Trading Company, www.orientaltrading.com, sells USA Map Slide Puzzles that could be given as incentives for participating in the reading program.


Sing “This Land is Your Land” by Woodie Guthrie. Music and lyrics are available at the NIEHS Kids’ Pages web site, www.niehs.nih.gov/kids/lyrics/thisland.htm.

Hunk of Tin

(Public Domain. If you are not familiar with the tune for this campfire favorite, it is available on-line at Campfire Songs, www.49thscoutgroup.co.uk/campfiresongs/hunkoftin.htm.)

I'm a little hunk of tin,

Nobody knows where I have been.

Got four wheels, and a running board,

I'm a Ford, a Ford, a Ford.

Chorus: (repeat after each stanza)

Honk, honk, rattle, rattle, rattle, crash, beep, beep

Romeo and Juliet,

on the balcony they set.

Juliet has got a date,

Shakespeare's coming 'bout half past eight.

Pepsi-Cola came to town.

Coke-a-Cola shot him down.

Dr. Pepper fixed him up.

Now we all drink Seven-Up.

Seven-Up has got the flu.

What's a person gonna do?

I know what and so do you,

We're all gonna drink Mountain Dew.

My Aunt Came Back

(Traditional. Sing each line and have the children repeat it before moving on to the next line.)

My Aunt came back

From old Japan

And brought with her,

An old hand fan. (Wave hand like a fan)

My Aunt came back

From old Algiers,

And brought with her,

A pair of shears. (Make a cutting motion with your fingers)

My Aunt came back,

From Holland too,

And brought with her

A wooden shoe. (Make clomping movements)

My Aunt came back

From the New York fair,

And brought with her,

A rocking chair. (Make a rocking motion)

My Aunt came back,

From Niagara Falls,

And brought with her,

Some bouncing balls. (Pretend to bounce a ball)

My Aunt came back,

From Timbuktu,

And brought with her,

Some sillies like YOU! (Point to the kids)

Sing “Makin’ Tracks” from Geometry Park USA by Joe Crone. The lyrics are on-line at Songs for Teaching,www.songsforteaching.com/geometryparkusa/westernstatescapitals.htm.

Audio Recordings

  • Chapter 11 of the audiobook Here Lies the Librarian by Richard Peck.
  • “Are We There Yet?” on InFINity by Trout Fishing in America.
  • “Family Trip” on Just Say Uncle by the Uncle Brothers.
  • “How to Read a Road Map” on World by Teacher and the Rockbots.
  • “Village of Gold” on Coconut Moon by The Green Chili Jam Band.


Tell stories from various parts of the United States and plot the source of each story on a road map. Suggestions include “Los Tres Ratoncitos: A Chiste” (a Southwestern tale), “Sally Ann Thunder and Davy Crockett” (a Texas tale), “How Fisher Went to the Skyland (from the Great Lakes region), and “Polly Ann and John Henry” (from the Cheasapeake Bay area) in Multicultural Folktales: Reader’s Theater for Elementary Students by Suzanne I. Barchers, available through NetLibrary, a TexShare resource.

Riddles and Jokes

(By Jeanette Larson.)

Q. What do you say when a cow is standing in front of your car?

A. Mooooo-ve over!

Q. Did you hear about the new wooden car with wooden wheels and a wooden engine?

A. It wooden go!


Traveling Game Board

  • Thin felt
  • Fabric glue
  • Puffy paint pens
  • White chalk
  • Game pieces
  • Rulers
  • Ribbon
  • Plastic bags
  • Assorted game boards, for display

In advance, cut the pieces of felt in sizes and shapes appropriate for the tops of game boards that you will provide as examples. At the program, show the children the games boards such as checkers, backgammon, tic-tac-toe, etc. as models. Give the children rulers and chalk to outline their game boards. For example, a checkerboard needs 64 squares, and backgammon has twelve triangles per side. After outlining their game boards, the children use the puffy paint pens to trace over the lines. For most boards, each child will need two colors of paint. Let the children play board games or make pouches for their game pieces while the paint dries.

Give each child enough game pieces or checkers to play their game. Plastic game tokens, poker chips, and checkers are available from Great Hall Games, www.greathallgames.com. If desired, provide additional scraps of felt to create a pouch for the game pieces. The children can glue the felt on three sides to create a pouch and tie it closed with ribbon. Or, you may give the children plastic bags to hold their game pieces.

When the paint on the gameboards dries, the children can use the fabric glue to attach a length of ribbon to the middle of the backside of the felt. Then they can roll the felt game boardboard and tie the ribbon.

Personalized License Plates

  • Light-weight cardboard or poster board
  • Crayons, markers, or colored pencils
  • Pictures of Texas license plates and plates from other states
  • Old travel magazines (optional)
  • Scissors (optional)
  • Glue sticks (optional)

In advance, cut 12-inch by 8-inch pieces of cardboard. Print pictures of the standard Texas license plate, a few of the specialty plates, and a few from other states to show the children. Give the children a blank piece of cardboard and allow each to create a new license plate for the state of their choice. If desired, provide old travel magazines, scissors, and glue sticks. Let the children cut out pictures of birds and other animals, landmarks, and other features and symbols that represent their states, and glue them to their license plates. Texas license plates can be viewed at the Texas Department of Transportation web site, www.dot.state.tx.us/services/vehicle_titles_and_registration/texas_license_plate.htm. Posters that feature current and recent license plates can be purchased from TxDot for about $6.00.

Games and Activities

Texas Road Trip

Print out and make enough copies of the “Texas Road Trip Word Search” sheet for each child provided at the end of this program. The clues are attractions that can be found in fourteen Texas towns and cities. First, the children must search in books or on the Internet to find the location of the attraction. Then they can search for the city in the puzzle. If Internet is available, the children may also use the Roadside America web site at www.roadsideamerica.com.

A My Name is Alice

Play this standard scouting game. The first player says, “A my name is Alice. I come from Alaska and bring back apples.” Each player continues through the letters of the alphabet. Each child must go someplace and bring back an item that starts with the next letter.

Texas Road Trip

Print out copies of the Wild West Trail Ride maze provided at the end of this program. Let each child find the path that leads the cowboys from Ranch Headquarters to the Chuck Wagon. After finding their way, children can color the maze created just for Texas by author/illustrator Roxie Munro. Visit Roxie Munro’s web site at www.roxiemunro.com for more mazes and games to download.

Web-Based Activities

Crazy Cars

Children can test their driving skills with this free on-line game.


If you have public performance rights, show these videos and DVDs, or segments of them, to the children. Otherwise, display them for home use. The length listed is for the entire film.

  • “The Car Trip” or “The Big Road Race” on Bears Take a Car Trip. (82 minutes)
  • The Incredible Journey. (80 minutes)
  • Scrambled States of America. (15 minutes)
  • Getting There.(85 minutes)

Computer Software

Where in the USA is Carmen Sandiego?

Web Sites

Postcards from America Gallery

This state-by-state archive of postcards from a three-year trip across America also includes stamps, maps, and fun facts about each of the fifty states.

Roadside America

This on-line guide to offbeat places offers hours of “computer chair” traveling. Search for unusual attractions by state, town, or sight.

Professional Resources

  • Here Lies the Librarian by Richard Peck.
  • Multicultural Folktales: Reader’s Theater for Elementary Students by Suzanne I. Barchers.
  • Ultimate Kids Song Collection by The Countdown Kids.
Campfire Songs

Lyrics and sound files are provided for many favorite camping songs.

NIEHS Kids’ Pages

This site provides lyrics for an exhaustive list of children’s traditional and modern songs.

Oriental Trading Company

This supply company sells inexpensive items for incentives and decorations.

Roxie Munro

The official web site for this illustrator includes mazes and other activities to download and print out for children.

Songs for Teaching

Find the lyrics to songs that promote learning.

Texas Department of Transportation

P. O. Box 5020, Austin, TX 78763-5020
Offers posters of current and recent license plates for sale.

Craft and Game Materials

Reading Route (Page 1 of 2)
Route 66 sign
Reading Route (Page 2 of 2)

Blank highway sign

Texas Road Trip Word Search Game

Texas Road trip word search. See long description

Wild West Trail Ride Maze

Wild west trail ride maze

Texas Reading Club 2008 Programming Manual / Texas Reading Club Jubilee: 1958-2008! / Texas Celebrates 50 Years of Reading

Published by the Library Development Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Page last modified: June 14, 2011