Ahhh, the family vacation. Nothing says togetherness like an 18-hour trip in the car with mom, dad and the kids. Taking a road trip as a family can be a stressful endeavor, but it doesn’t have to be a disaster if you plan ahead. An important key to happy travelers is to have plenty of activities for them to do while they are on the road. Here is a collection of some tried and true favorites.
- Lacing projects
- Beading projects
- Portable gaming systems
- DVD player with a robust selection of movies
- MP3 player loaded with some new tunes
- Bring a digital camera, ipod or ipad and have your children take pictures during the road trip – signs for new states, roadside oddities, pretty scenery, rest stops, whatever strikes their fancy. It is quite interesting to see a vacation from the children’s perspective!
Card and Board Games
- Card games such as Go Fish, Crazy Eights, I Spy Snap, Scrabble Slam, etc.
- Travel-size versions of games such as Connect Four, Yahtzee, Monopoly, etc.
- Magnetic games such as Hangman, Bingo, etc.
- Print a map of your travel route – something they can easily hold rather than a foldout map that will be difficult for them to fold back up
- You can find all kinds of printable activity sheets online, including:
- http://www.momsminivan.com/printables.html – printables, including travel bingo
- http://www.crayola.com/free-coloring-pages/puzzles-and-games/travel-games-coloring-pages/ – road trip – themed coloring pages
- Create a basic travel journal that the kid(s) can write in each day of the vacation – it can be a purchased journal, or some pages stapled together. Here’s a free printable version: we3travel.com
- For younger children, consider creating a “grab bag” with small toys – give a new bag at a pre-designated interval (when you enter into a new state or every so many hours, for example). Ideas for the grab bag: coloring books, activity sheets, stickers, items that are fun for them to hold (squishy animals, balls, etc), new games, toys.
- First Letter, Last Letter: Decide on a category. The first player names an object in that category. The next person has to think of another object in that category that starts with the last letter of the first player’s object. When someone gets stuck, that is a strike. After three strikes, that player is out. The winner is whoever has the fewest amount of strikes.
- I Spy: The first player locates something inside or outside the vehicle and says “I spy with my little eye, something…..” describe the object by color or even shape. Bear in mind, you will have to move quickly if you’re traveling on an interstate!
- Counting Game: Count how many blue cars there are, red trucks, cows, horses, anything you think that you will see fairly frequently. Great option for younger children since there’s no reading involved.
- License Plate Game: Keep a running list of states and see who ends up with the most.
- Drawing Game: On a blank sheet of paper, draw an object. Pass to the next person and have them draw another object that would fit in context with the first object. For example, draw a pig. The next person might draw another farm animal. Eventually, you can end up with a barn, chickens and a whole farm!
- Let’s Go Shopping! Starting at the beginning of the alphabet, say “I’m going to the store and I’m buying _______” (apple, for example). Go through the entire alphabet.
- Storytelling: Start with a phrase and have each person in the car add to the story. One example might be “One day, the princess took a walk….”
- At some point, no amount of travel activities will keep the brood happy and that is the perfect time for a stop!
- Download a smart phone app which shows what will be coming up at the next exit – rest stops, restaurants, gas stations, etc.
- Keep your eyes open for restaurants with indoor/outdoor play areas
- Some rest stops have playgrounds
- Even if the kids say they don’t need to use the restroom during a stop, have them try anyway – chances are they will end up going, plus they’ll stretch their legs a bit!
What’s your family’s favorite car trip activity? Email us and be entered to win in our monthly prize drawing.