From the pages of I RVing: Spring 2023

Radio Check! Do You Read Me

Take walkie-talkie fun on the road and into the campsite.

IN MOST CASES, WE HAVE GOOD REASONS FOR SHOVING A DEVICE INTO OUR CHILD’S HANDS. Like buying some time. Or just getting a moment of peace. (No judgment— we’ve all been there.) But we also feel that twinge of guilt as our kid’s eyes become glued to the screen. It’s like you can almost see their brain turn to mush. And that’s not our style—especially on a road trip. So let’s recommend a better device. One from the Stone Age: the walkie-talkie. Your kiddos will love the novelty of radio play (while you enjoy the nostalgia), but what’s best about it is that it’s only fun when it’s interactive. Without knowing it, kids get to practice communicating, listening, and taking turns as they share anything they see. And we’re all about that, even if it annihilates our quiet time.


When you hand over this little black box with a tiny screen, it’s best to start off with a short tutorial to explain things—like being on the same channel, where the volume is, and the pushto-talk button. But the real fun will start as they pick up radio lingo. And you can start simple. Teaching them to say who they’re calling, who they are, and when the message is over. As simple as, “Jacob, this is Noah, over.” Other fun radio terms they can play with are: radio check (can you hear me?), read you lima charlie (hear you loud and clear), go ahead (I’m ready for your message), stand-by (wait while I get an answer), roger (got it!), say again (please repeat what you said), and copy (understand). Let them play around with the lingo on the radio waves, but tell them that
they’re doing it best when what their saying is clear, simple, and brief. (And appropriate for other people to hear.) After all, half the fun is hearing from the other person. If you’re traveling to multiple vehicles, split the kids up and let them use radios to decide things like where to eat or get responses from other passengers. (That’s you, mom and dad). But the fun doesn’t have to stop when you park.

Portable walkie talkie


Traditional games take on a new twist with walkie-talkies. Take hide and seek, for example. Hiders can work together and create diversions to outfox the seeker (if they turn the volume down). Or you could even expand it into a larger game like capture the flag, complete with command and control. Invariably, though, it’s going to turn into a game of pretend. Which is wonderful, because walkie-talkies are used by forest rangers, secret agents, policemen, firefighters, airplane controllers, and the military. Your kids won’t need any prompting to create a drama uniquely their own. There are hidden treasures to discover, mysteries to uncover, and new places to explore. And, being a parent, handing your kids walkie-talkies has a wonderfully sneaky ulterior motive: safety. By simply calling yourself Headquarters, you’re due to receive lots of reports—be that nonsense chatter, weather changes, or accidents. Even as you give your kids the freedom
to explore and engage the wide world around them. Which works out perfectly, because, between radio calls, you just might get to enjoy that moment of peace. Copy that!

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