When traveling with kids on long-distance trips, we have three goals: maintain our sanity, keep the kids entertained, and minimize the amount of times we hear the whine-infused question, “Are we there yet?” You can meet all three goals, and surprisingly, without the use of screens or electronic devices (we promise!).
Here are five activities your children will – and possibly you, too – will enjoy playing on your next long car ride.
- Find the States Plates. This game, as described by Heather Peterson, uses hours, and potentially days, to complete. It’s also excellent because your kids are studying U.S. geography without even knowing it. You can play individually, or in teams. Print a U.S. map and whenever you see a license plate from another state, color that state on the map.
- 20 Questions. Some of the best activities for parents and children require nothing but your brain and an imagination. 20 questions can stretch for quite a while, especially since everyone wants a turn to stump fellow travelers. Keep subjects geared towards the youngest child so everyone has a chance to be successful.
- Word Games. Look at your local bookstore for word games like Mad Libs. Kids love these crazy, hilarious fill-in-the-blank word games. Mad Libs fill up those restless driving hours with giggles rather than whines and arguments.
- Are we there yet? Oops! Maybe you should find another name for this one. This idea comes from TLC and we think it’s a wonderful way to help kids grasp the concept of mileage and travel time. You can buy an appropriate area map, or simply print your MapQuest or GoogleMaps “TO and FROM” driving directions map. Have your children mark off the cities and landmarks as you go. It will keep them paying attention to the signs along the route, rather than who is looking out of whose window.
- Coloring/Activity books. Pick up a stack of new coloring and activity books and crayons for each child. Who knows? They may even be occupied long enough for you and your mate to finish an un-interrupted conversation.
What are your suggestions for keeping kids entertained on those long summer car rides? Leave a comment to share with us!
Real Kids Shades wishes your family sage and happy travels this summer!