New places, faces and words

Of Consuming Interest

August 11, 1999

In some parts of the United States, they call those fizzy soft drinks "soda." In other regions, the word is "pop." Thus, when one girl's family moved to another state, she soon acquired the nickname of "Soda Pop" because she had moved from pop country to the land of soda. (Good thing she didn't move to Boston -- they'd have to call her "Tonic Pop"!)

That anecdote appears in "Travel Wise with Children: 101 Educational Travel Tips for Families" by Mary Rodgers Bundren (Inprint Publishing, $12.95). It's part of Tip 4, which says that travel is a good way to increase your child's vocabulary while having fun doing so. Here are a couple of Bundren's suggestions:

Make a list of new words and phrases your child might encounter on your trip: historical names, locations, animals, people and words like "spelunker" and "catamaran." Have the youngster keep a list of the new words, including regional ones like the aforementioned "pop." Then on the way home, play games with the vocabulary. "What are some synonyms? Rhyming words? What is the funniest word? Take the longest word and see how many other words can be made from the word."

Every time a child sees a word from her list on a billboard, or anywhere, give her a bingo chip (known in some areas as a beano chip). At the end of the trip, perhaps those chips can be exchanged for a special souvenir.

That's one educational tip. For the other 100, you'll have to read the book.

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