Road Trip Activity Books

ROAD TRIP time is coming and, when you spend long hours in the car, the kids need something to do. (You can make these for adults, too!)

Activities and coloring pages are available for all ages and interests, from your child’s favorite characters to educational activities for Math, Science, and Reading and Writing.

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Kids’ Activity Books

Materials and what to do with them:

3-ring binders: 1/2″ to 1″ for ease, any color. Use the kind with the clear outer layer to slip in a cover. Create personalized covers for each child with suitable clip-art.

Attach a pen or pencil with string to one of the rings.

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Slip-in Page Protectors: Collect Map, Tickets, Brochures, etc.

Slip-in page protectors: for collecting maps, ticket stubs, and travel info at rest areas, visitor centers, and fun stops.

Pencil bag to hold colored pencils or markers. I selected the Large All Purpose Zipper Bag by Cumberland Concepts to hold enough for two artists. Crayons will melt in a hot car, so you may not want to pack those in the car books.

Activities (a short list of places to look):

Download Junior Ranger booklets from the National Park Service. Great even if you aren’t heading to a National Park on your trip. If you are, the kids can get a head start on earning a Junior Ranger badge. There are different booklets for different parks.

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Junior Ranger Motto

Educational Worksheets:

primarygames.com

educationalcoloringpages.com

Coloring Pages:

(Downloads)
crayola.com
bestcoloringpagesforkids.com (print straight from browser, lots to chose from)

activityvillage.co.uk

family.disney.com

Mazes:

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Mazes

activityvillage.co.uk

leapfrog.com

Or search the internet for more amazing options. The sites listed above were the most user friendly and easy to navigate. I found many other sites with potential, but wading through ads and incorrect pathways made them less than ideal.

When you’re finished with one trip, you can take out the used pages and fill the book again with new activities!

 

Bad Reviews

On social media, especially on Facebook writing or author groups, I frequently come across authors asking for this kind of help.

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An author received a one-star review and asked for fellow authors in the group to report the review as abuse.

In order to report abuse, one must prove that the reviewer acted in a malicious manner against the author or retailer in an effort to affect their sales, or that the reviewer did not actually use/read the product in question. Asking for any poor review to be reported as abuse is, in itself, an abuse of the system, stripping reviewers of their right to put forth their honest opinion.

As authors, we want and even need reviews for our publications. In the digital world, reviews potentially improve sales of a book over time. Reviews are the digital version of word-of-mouth advertising.

A review is simply another person’s OPINION.

Asking other authors to gang up on a reviewer sounds like gearing up for battle, a war on our readers.

As a reader, I understand how it feels to suddenly be attacked by an author for posting a negative review. After posting a two-star review of a particular book, the author badgered me for days to change my rating, giving reasons why I must be wrong or why I should give the book special consideration. (The author found me through one of these social media groups.) That author also asked for help from others in compelling Amazon to remove my review, along with asking me to remove it myself.

I am not a troll. I don’t have time to be a troll. I purchased and read the book in its entirety and could not muster more than a two-star rating from my conscience. My review went against over a dozen others that praised the book with four and five-star ratings. I read those reviews and looked for the highly-praised traits noted, but I did not see them.

Had the author remained silent, I may have chosen to purchase another book. I didn’t hate the first book; it fell flat against what I was promised in the blurb, and too much of the book was spent on irrelevant subject matter. I may have given the author another chance by picking up a more recent output to see if improvements were made in style and storytelling. Instead, after being hounded, I refuse to even consider reading a blurb by this author.

One problem is that reviews are completely subjective. The only guideline given by retailers are two- or three-word solutions “I hate it. I like it. It’s okay. I love it.” There is no objective rubric for rating a product. A one-star review may mean the reviewer just doesn’t like the subject matter and/or it wasn’t what they expected at the time of purchase. We all feel put out when we waste time and money on something we end up not liking.

Another problem is the annoying presence of what we call “trolls” and “haters,” people who apparently have nothing better to do with themselves than throw insults at the virtual livelihood of authors and retailers. Perhaps they struggle to gain an once of control in this power-hungry world, or they desire a moment of attention from a mass audience. Whatever the reason, they muddy the playing field with worthless claims. But, just because a person speaks out negatively in a review does not mean they are a troll, not even if they appear to speak out negatively on a frequent basis. More likely, they really don’t know what they are looking for or they may hold high standards for certain products.

As writers, we are taught the importance of constructive criticism and relaying our opinions with a certain amount of dignity for ourselves and the authors we review. Not every reader cares about being careful with their words. They have no vested interest in sounding supportive or even nice. We have to accept that.

Unfortunately, with a small number of reviews, a negative review can have a large impact, even if it shows up as a complete outlier of the popular rating. The higher number of positive reviews on a book’s profile, the less threatening such negative reviews become, and the more obvious that the reviewer doesn’t conform to the popular opinion. This is a waiting game, hoping that enough reviews will essentially shove the negative review into precipice of oblivion.

It is best to remain quiet about these reviews. If you feel you must comment, do so at your own risk. The author who posted this Facebook thread won’t be getting a look from me. I don’t want to be on the receiving end of a smack-down if I decide I don’t like the book.

 

The Moon

Moon

A cry stretched the air.
“It sounds like the Moon,”
She said to me,
Her ear studying the clamor.
“Only louder.”
She cocked her head
As she squinted
Into the distance to spy
What was coming our way.
As it careened nearer,
The shrieking softened until
The Moon
Eclipsed the sun in silence.
And before she vanished
Beneath its fated path,
She laughed, “How silly of me!”

Wonders May Eventually Cease

waterfallchurning whitewash
grinds away
the proudest stone
softening spray
mists down upon
mortals in awe
evergreens are nourished
by the purity of velocity

every day
watchers come to
point their fingers
and cameras
at the cataract
then stroll away again
with little whirlpools
stirring in their souls

eventually the falls
will wash away
leaving a narrow canyon
and a feeble stream
short-lived are we who
gaze upon the phenomenon
Nature is not finished with
the work of art called Earth