By Lisa Batchelder-Hetrick
Are you dreading your next long car trip with your kids? Can you already hear “Are we there yet?” from the back seat? If so, here is my list of daughter-approved road trip activities to make your long-distance drive a lot more fun!
Art Box/Clipboard: Fill a Tupperware box or storage clipboard with car appropriate materials such as paper, coloring books, colored pencils and hand sharpener, washable markers, stickers, stencils, pipe cleaners, and dry erase board/markers. I don’t recommend crayons as they can melt in the heat.
Origami Paper: Origami is a fun activity that doesn’t require scissors or glue.
Audio Books: Kids get enough screen time, but sometimes they just want to listen to a story. This is a great way to listen as a family on the car system or on a personal device with headphones. Let their minds fill with pictures from the story while they enjoy the views outside.
Auto Bingo: You can buy or make auto bingo cards that can be fun to play while looking for the items to tick off just from looking out the window.
Seek and Find Games: 1) Color Car Game. My daughter came up with looking for colored cars in rainbow order. The only rule was that it needed to be verified by another adult in order to move onto the next color. This avoided many disagreements. 2) License Plate Game. Give points for most states found. 3) I spy. 4) If you have time before you leave, make a list of things you think they may see on the trip like a cow, a river, a field, a sign with blue letters, or a hawk. Count up points for a special treat at the next stop.
Maps: I like giving her a map or atlas to help us keep track of our travels. She can give directions to the next stop.
Travel Journal: Write down what you see, where you stopped, doodle, or whatever you want. This is your space to be creative. Collect postcards from your stops to include inside and document your journey.
Books: If reading in the car isn’t a good idea, audio books may be the way to go. But word searches, crossword puzzles, and word scrambles can be fun.
Games: Magnetic games such as tic tac toe, chess, or cards (if you have more than one player). Another fun option is Mad Libs or travel Etch-A-Sketch.
Lego: Affix a base plate to a box lid and store building blocks inside. Tiny pieces could get lost but larger bricks are great for building many things.
Don’t forget the snacks, wipes, water bottles, and easy to organize storage for the back seat so they can help themselves. For example, the Tupperware art supply box also doubles as a lap board surface, and a shoe tree can store many games and supplies on the back of a seat. An empty cup in a cup holder can carry loose pencils while in use.
If you keep them busy, and have options, you can enjoy a peaceful drive and get to your destination before you know it. Happy travels!