Over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house we go… The most wonderful time of the year will soon be upon us. For many of us, that means bundling up our children for a long journey to visit family. And we all know that there is nothing that kids love more than long car rides, especially with all the siblings in tow. :-) You could keep everyone pacified with electronic gadgets, but that doesn’t really add to family bonding time... You could play some games… like counting all the purple trucks, for instance… but that’s not going to hold anyone for long...
Spot the Triangles
So how else can you pass the time? Well… how about playing a game of “Spot the Triangles”? What’s so special about the triangle, you ask? Why, it is the most stable shape that there is! Don’t believe me? Let’s check it out. Oh, you may want to pack some toothpicks or pretzel sticks and marshmallows for a demonstration.
Once your children are convinced that the triangle really is the most stable shape, it is time to play. Where can you find triangles? Bridges and overpasses? Building bracing? Fence shapes? Construction cranes? Have everyone record the places where they see triangles. If your children are artistically inclined, have them sketch the most memorable places where they spotted them, like a beautiful bridge, for instance. If they are not artistically inclined, perhaps they can snap a quick photo.
At the end of the trip, you may end up with a lovely scrapbook of your journey - an instant treasure to share with the extended family. And... you might just arrive at your destination without hearing “Are we there yet?” every ten minutes…
P. S. Confidentially, just for parents... If your children find this activity especially intriguing, there is a wealth of architectural concepts to be explored further. Numerous examples of the triangle used in architecture and construction abound both domestically and abroad. There are bridges, radio communication towers, construction cranes, roller coasters, even buildings! One of the better known cases of the triangle used in construction is the John Hancock building in Chicago. There, the stability of the triangular X-bracing guards this beautiful structure from the strong winds coming off Lake Michigan.
Should your family be lucky enough to explore international travel, there are many famous examples of triangles to be found across the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans. Think of the iron truss structure supporting the Eiffel Tower in France; the metal skeleton of the Louvre Pyramid; the steel and glass skin of the famous (infamous?) Gherkin building in London, the futuristic angles of the Jimbocho Theater in Japan... The possibilities and the discoveries that await you are endless.