Taking a little time to plan will ensure you have fun car activities for kids on road trips.
Vacations are wonderful ways for families to spend time together and make memories that will last a lifetime. Leaving behind everyday routines and enjoying quality together time while on vacation starts the moment you lock your front door, so make the most of those hours rolling down the highway.
This might be easier said than done. Make sure to have fun things to do in the car on a road trip (aside from the DVR), or the kids will get restless. This just takes a little bit of planning.
Following are my top six car-ride boredom-avoiding techniques. I’m sure you’ll find a few gems you can use.
1. Plan some surprises.
When I’m shopping and run across inexpensive little toys, I purchase some and save them for these trips. Wrap them up in cheerful wrapping paper (hint: more tape is good; it takes up more time) and dole them out when restlessness starts to emanate from the back seats. The act of opening up these “presents” is in itself a fun event and a great way to distract an unhappy toddler…or even a bored teenager!
2. Buy (or create) fun car-ride games.
Travel versions of games such as checkers or Scrabble are classics for a reason. The same goes for Mad Libs; who can resist the Mad Lib giggles?
3. Stock supplies for car crafts.
Make a crafting station out of a plastic case. Fill with markers, stickers, crayons, paper and other travel-safe items (I don’t recommend scissors). If the kids need artistic inspiration, suggest they make a card for Grandma and Grandpa.
4. Provide smart screen time.
Download educational apps for smartphones and tablets. Yes, still a screen, but unlike movies on the DVR, at least they have some redeeming value. Best yet? There’s something for every age. Many teach valuable skills, from iWriteWords, a game that teaches handwriting skills for little ones, to Marble Math, which helps older kids hone their mental math skills. So sometimes I do cave and let the kids have some screen time.
5. Get physical.
Frisbees, footballs and jump ropes are great. For a car ride? Yes! They help the kids burn off energy at rest stops, and don’t take up much room. Kids are tuckered out when they buckle up again, and that helps keep the trip humming along happily.
6. Laugh together.
Kid-friendly comedians are a family favorite. There are plenty of rated-G comedians whose clean humor will have your entire family guffawing (we love Brian Regan). Time goes quickly when you are laughing and we’ve been known to linger in the car after a long drive just to finish listening to a clip.
The journey is a large part of the fun of a vacation, so make the most of together time during long rides. Those car trips will provide many happy memories long after the suitcases have been unpacked.