Remember family car trips when you were a kid, squished in the backseat of the car next to your brother and sister. There was no DVD player to entertain you, and your sister kept putting her foot on “your side” while you begged your parents “please make her stop touching me!” to no avail.
Well, we remember those days too, so we’ve brought you some of our favorite kids travel suggestions from some great websites.
www.momsminivan.com says, make a travel journal with your kids.
“Creating a travel diary or journal is a wonderful activity that will not only keep your children busy in the car on a long trip, but it will preserve their memories for a lifetime.”
A spiral notebook, some markers and crayons will get you started. As you drive, encourage your children to write and draw the things they see and experience. If they are too young to write, just let them draw and then have them tell you about their pictures. You can write the words for them.
Games & Activities
www.activitiesforkids.com has a wonderful list of car travel games. Our favorite growing up was the A to Z game. Watch the signs that you see as you drive. Call out each letter as you find them starting with “A” and continuing in alphabetical order to “Z”.
www.babycenter.com recommends bringing along a cheap 9" x 12" baking sheet to use as a playing surface so crayons, Matchbox cars, Legos, and other small items don't roll away. Pack some magnetized letters, numbers, and shapes to make words, spell names, or create pictures on the metal pans.
They also suggest creating an activity bag. Fill it with bubbles and balls (for rest area entertainment) and other toys to bring out throughout the trip rather than all at once. So there is something new for every segment of the trip.
A variation on that idea is to wrap some presents. Small dollar store type gifts wrapped in several layers of paper make great treats. You can dole them out for milestones along the trip as you reach ¼ of the way there, ½ way there, almost there, etc. and perhaps as a reward for not asking “are we there yet?”
Listen to an audio book. For older children with longer attention spans, this is a great opportunity to share in the old tradition of stories read aloud. Think of the classics from your own childhood, Charlotte’s Web, James and the Giant Peach, Anne of Green Gables.
Check out the sites for dozens of other ideas to fill your family vacation car trip with lots of FUN memories!