Finally. Vacation time is here! You’ve planned your route, booked the rooms, given the dog sitter the keys, and packed the car with road trip essentials. Everyone is buckled in and ready to hit the road. And then it hits you. The next five-plus hours are going to be some of the hardest in your life unless you have some ways to entertain kids on car trips.
It won’t be long until the words “Are we almost there yet?!” burst forth from the back seat. Perhaps you can ignore the first time or two, but the little voices will just keep getting louder and louder. “How many more hours? I have to go to the bathroom. I’m hungry!”
Before any car trip, it’s always a wise idea to have several things planned to help keep the kids occupied. So today I’m sharing six clever ways to entertain kids on car trips.
Bring the Tech
While most parents don’t love the idea of their kids being glued to their devices, a long road trip is actually a great opportunity to let them play their little hearts out. Portable game systems, MP3 players, smartphones, and tablets can easily provide hours of entertainment for your kids — and hours of sanity for you. So load those suckers up with educational apps and your kids’ favorite movies, shows, and music. And don’t forget to bring along some popcorn for a movie-theater-on-wheels experience!
Keep Them Engaged
Raise your hand if you remember going on road trips with your family before the Internet and other technology emerged. Think about how your parents kept you entertained, and use some of those ideas for your kids. For example, try some of the tried-and-true road trip games like 20-questions, I Spy, and the license plate game. Sing some silly songs. Tell some ‘spooky’ stories. This engagement will not only help pass the time and keep everyone in the car entertained, but it can also double as great bonding time.
Books are another great way to entertain kids on car trips. If your kids are one of those few remaining people who read actual paper bound books vs stories on a device, pack some of their favorites and encourage them to read for a portion of the trip. Or, if they are too young to read, download some of their favorite stories and authors on audiobook. A third option is to read the stories to them, as long as you are not the one driving, of course. 😉
Pack a Treasure Bin
Before leaving home, pick up a small basket or bin for each child from a dollar store. Allow them to fill it with whatever they want— little toys, crayons, paper, and even mini puzzle games. Gain some extra quiet time by letting them decorate their treasure bins with stickers.
Another fun way to keep kids entertained on car trips is to bring along a magnetic storyboard made with a small, inexpensive magnetic cookie sheet or pie tin (also from a dollar store) and some magnets. Stock up on magnetic letters, shapes, and animals.
You could even make your own magnets with a little hot glue, small magnets, and some felt, cardboard or foam board shapes!
If all else fails, bribe them. Seriously. Okay, I know this isn’t the best parenting practice, but the truth of the matter is that a long car ride is hard on any child, regardless of their age and behavior. Heck, even us adults get tired, bored and restless after a while! A little incentive can go a long way in keeping the car trip moving forward in a way positive way — and your sanity.
Finally, before you even leave the house, make sure your car is ready for the drive. The last thing anybody wants or needs is to be stranded on the side of the road! A few days before your departure, take your vehicle to a certified mechanic for a quick tune-up. For those of you who live in or around Downingtown PA, the mechanics at Roberts Honda can help ensure your car is running in top shape.
Road trips with the family can be a fun and rewarding adventure, but they can also be stressful and draining. Hopefully, these ideas for keeping kids entertained on car trips will help make your family vacation one to remember!
How do you keep your kids entertained on car trips? Do you have some creative ideas that you’d like to share? let us know in the comments!