keeping kids content, quite and busy is an important part of the SANITY piece for parents road tripping with kids. it is super important to plan ahead a bit and to know what kinds of activities will keep your kids happy, especially for those long hauls!
we don’t have DVD players in our car (by choice) and don’t have tablets, so we rely on the kids to entertain themselves and each other.
- felt boards are super fun and a wonderful way to get the kids’ imaginations going. they are basically story boards for kids to create worlds with, where all sorts of adventures can take place.
- last year i used cookie sheets as the board, this year i stumbled upon these adorable magnet boards at chapters. they come with magnets, but we will bring along our super, awesome 3D dinosaur magnets, which you can learn how to make HERE.
- i also found a bag of magnet letters at value village for 99 cents.
|these are the magnets i made last year for a road trip. kids LOVED them and they are still in circulation!
we made other magnets as well, which are still in use on our fridge! CLICK HERE and it will take you to how to make these awesome toys!
- i love the idea of pictorial scavenger hunts. since my kids will be 3 and 5 years old, they won’t be able to read a long list of words. but, one with pictures is right up their alley! here’s one by the bird feed NYC, which is great, so i will use their concept, but will gear the lists towards our trip more, using specific road signs i know we will see, wildlife, sites and things. the kids can work together, which i love!
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- what’s a road trip without family sing-a-longs? here’s a few that my boys really love, “old mcdonald had a farm“, “ABC“, “the wheels on the bus“, “the ants go marching“, “
- we do also have a stack of CD’s, MP3’s and sirius radio to choose from for when we need to give our vocal chords a rest. i love to mix it up as well, playing classical, bluegrass or top 40, but sometimes it’s also good to just drive in silence.
- my kids, especially bear, loves to play eye-spy when in the car. we still play the colour instead of the spelling version of the game! counting games are also great! sometimes we just count all the red cars we see, or all the transport trucks and so on.
- other classic faves are (found HERE at MSN): 20 questions, license plate bingo, word chain and more!
- older kids may like mad-libs.
TOYS TO PACK:
- each boy brings his fave stuffed animal.
- we bring about 10 books and just cycle through them. sometimes along the way i will buy a new book as a souvenir for the kids.
- markers, paper, colouring books, activity books and a few stickers.
- small toys like cars, animals, people so the kids can create little imaginary worlds.
- buckets n’ shovels.
- deck of cards, UNO, other small travel sized games.
here’s what our dudes looked like last summer on our trip to the canadian maritimes. each had a plastic basket for toys at arms reach, a bin of books in the middle and it worked great.
- and parents, don’t forget to pack some extra creativity, flexibility and patience. keeping kids peaceful in the back can be tricky at times, and sometimes when the volume of the screaming increases, it’s worth it to stop and get out for a bit. i realize this makes the trip longer, but that’s where being flexible comes into play.
- on our longer stretches of driving, we actually would start after dinner. kids would play, have stories and would eventually fall asleep and we would drive until midnight or so. until we found a motel. it was a great way to make good time!
- before getting in the car to drive we made sure the kids had a chance to run some beans out. whether at a motel or camp site. and we made sure the first leg of driving was short, as it’s not a very fun way to start the day. but, truth be told, maintaining any real schedule was impossible. all bedtimes and nap times flew out the window and we just had to let the kids sleep when they were tired!