Family vacations are when most kids have the time of their lives. Whether you’re going to Disneyworld or grandma’s house, everyone loves a change of pace and an adventure every now and then. Most families take a road trip once or more each year to save on flight costs and the hassle of air travel with kids to keep track of.
Of course, road trips can take much longer than a flight; and kids get bored. Honestly, you get bored too. So what’s a family to do?
Here are a few tips to keep the whole family entertained over the road this year.
Pack Some Snacks
Everybody likes to eat. Splurge a little and get a rare treat for the kids in light of the vacation spirit. Nothing too messy of course. Ice cream may be out of the question unless you plan to make a stop. Candy from Walgreens or the dollar store can keep them busy during the drive though.
Pack a cooler to keep fruits and veggies fresh. Make some sandwiches at one of your pit stops and save money from fast food. Invite the family to give some input on snacks before your trip. Anything that minimizes crumbs and will survive on the road (think non-perishable foods) make great options.
Get Some Sleep
Nothing passes time as quickly as sleep. Have the kids bring comfy blankets and pillows to make a nest in the back seat. Play some calming music or have them watch a movie (if that is an option). A power nap in the afternoon can do everyone some good, but you may want to keep the kids from drifting off in the evening hours. Otherwise, they’ll be hard to put to bed later.
Take turns driving with your spouse so you can both have some time to recharge. Keep in mind that the passenger shouldn’t have to tend to the kids for the whole trip. Trade roles to make things go more smoothly.
Road trip games can be tangible or intangible.
Tangible games have pieces and/or involve writing. The driver is not always able to participate as it would take their attention from the road. Tangible games would include things like Hangman, card games, car bingo, or the state license plate game. You can also find road trip activity books for kids at gift shops or the dollar store. They can cover wide age ranges, with activities like Mad Libs, riddles, Sudoku, mazes, word puzzles, stories, and jokes.
Some intangible games include 20 Questions, I Spy, Would You Rather, I’m Going on a Picnic, Yellow Car, or the Alphabet Game. There are lots of things to see going down the road. Encourage the kids to get creative and make their own scavenger hunt games as well.
Look online for games created with your exact situation in mind: Keeping kids entertained in the car. There are many card games, scavenger hunts, and other activities already out there.
Let Your Teen Drive
Do you have a teenager with their driving permit? Let them have some time behind the wheel. Many states require new drivers to log a certain number of hours (usually 40-60) before they can get their license. Road trips are a great way to knock some of those hours out. With them driving, and you co-piloting, time will fly by.
However, keep in mind that it’s not a good idea to toss them on the interstate for their first time driving. You should start them off in a parking lot or on neighborhood streets to show them the ropes first.
This one is pretty simple. Good music makes a drive seem a lot shorter than it really is. Take some time before your trip to make a driving music playlist and/or set up a streaming service like Spotify. Older kids will enjoy contributing their favorite songs. You can also make a game out if and play Guess the Song. Have someone be the DJ and see who can guess the song name/artist first.
Preparedness and a little creativity go a long way. Even the most simple things, like snacks and good music, can keep the whole family entertained. Safe travels out there!
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