Are we there yet? Mom he’s looking at me! It’s my turn to sit by the door! Why do I always have to sit in the middle?

Summer travels can be both fun and challenging with young riders on board. Even a short trip can seem like an eternity, especially when your feet don’t touch the floor. So, if you are loading up for a family vacation, plan ahead and include some fun educational activities for the little travelers in your group.

Sure, you can always pop a DVD in the player or let them veg out using their personal electronic devices, but they can do that at home.

If your vacation is within Missouri, search out famous Missourians and their hometowns. Names such as artist George Caleb Bingham and painter, muralist and printmaker Thomas Hart Benton; entrepreneurs James Case (JC) Penney and Dale Carnegie; military leaders Gens. John J. Pershing and Omar Bradley; author/humorist Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain) and Laura Ingalls Wilder; journalist Walter Cronkite; film, animation pioneer and innovator Walt Disney and TV host Bob Barker; scientist, botanist and educator George Washington Carver and leading astronomer Edwin Hubble are few famous Missourians to put on your list. However, the list would not be complete without including Harry Truman who served as the 33rd President of the United States. The Harry S Truman Presidential Library and home is located near Kansas City in Independence with his boyhood home in Lamar.

From the car window you can also explore crops and livestock. Helping your passengers identify each of these allows them to make a connection to their food supply. Food doesn’t just come from the grocery store. A fun way to do this is create your own bingo board using words or photos of things they will likely see as they travel. Bring along small prizes to reward the one who completes the line first. Competition is a great motivator.

Lastly, purchase some books for the trip that are new to the children. Books will keep them in the habit of reading and can also be used to explore agriculture and where we actually get our food. Some to consider are First Peas to the Table and In the Garden with Dr. Carver, both by Susan Grigsby, a St. Louis author. If you are exploring historical sites, Farmer George Plants a Nation and Thomas Jefferson Grows a Nation both by Peggy Thomas pair agriculture and history for enjoyable reading.

Pack up the car and the family and hit the road for a fun, educational adventure. Make it an opportunity to learn from their surroundings and help them explore agriculture.