Summertime for many means vacation time. And taking a vacation usually involves traveling. But for those of us with kids, traveling becomes a whole new ball game! I can still hear my child’s voice in my head: “How Much Longer?” and “Are We There Yet?”. As a way to make those road trips with kids a little less trying, I decided to search the internet for some of the best ways to keep kids entertained when traveling by car.
So for all you parents who are planning a family road trip, here are 12 tips to make traveling with kids a little less trying!
1. Print up this adorable License Plate Checklist I found on Dating Divas and turn it into a game of who can cross all of them off their list first! Make sure to laminate the pages so they can be used over and over!
2. When planning out the route you will take, approximate where you will be stopping for gas. Get on the internet and do a little research to find an interesting restaurant to eat at or a local attraction to visit while you are there. There are tons of unique and entertaining spots all across this country, as well as many historical points of interest! This will not only give the kids a chance to get out and stretch their legs, but will also give them the opportunity to learn a bit more about the state/country they live in! Also do the same if you will be spending the night in any hotels on the way to your destination.
3. Buy some of these washable window markers by Crayola, and let the kids have a blast on the back windows. Be sure to read the instructions first, and have plenty of paper towels so they can erase and begin again!
4. If you will be traveling at night, visit your local dollar store before you leave and stock up on glow bracelets, glow sticks, glow-in-the-dark stickers and anything else that glows and can provide entertainment.
5. Visit your local library and stock up on your kids favorite books both in print and on audiotape.
6. Before you leave, let each child pack a traveling toy bag full of small toys, crayons, paper and other things they can use to entertain themselves.
7. For older children, when planning the drive, sit down with a map and show them where you are and where you will be
going. Highlight the route you will be driving. Also, remind them how to tell distance on a map. Then bring the map on your trip, and once the inevitable “How Much Longer?” questions begin, hand the children the map, and let them figure out where you currently are and how much longer it will be until you arrive at your destination. Make a game out of it!
8. Buy an inexpensive cookie sheet and some fun magnets including numbers and letters. Give this to the kids to play with as you drive. Bonus – they can flip the baking sheet over and use it as a hard surface to color and write on!
9. Pack small sandwich bags filled with snacks such as cereal, popcorn, M&M’s, etc. to avoid having to stop every few miles when they get hungry. Also, fill a cooler with drinks. This will not only cut down on stops, but will save money too!
10. Play road trip BINGO using cars, signs or different types of vehicles! I found several different ways to play, complete with printable BINGO boards by Oopsie Daisy, on Thirty Handmade Days. Tip: after you print the boards, laminate them so they last longer!
11. Buy your kids a couple of disposable cameras and let them take pictures of the drive there and back. Once home, develop the film and create a Road Trip Memory Book!
12. Play this incredibly creative Road Trip Scavenger Hunt I found on MakesandTakes.com. The entire family can play and it will provide hours of entertainment!
Just keep in mind that kids get bored easily, especially when they are confined to the back of a car. If you provide plenty of fun activities, and stop every so often to let them get out and run around, your trip will be much more enjoyable!