As we get ready to drive 14+ hours to Florida in a few weeks, I find myself telling my oldest daughter, “It’s going to be so great! Sure, flying is way better, of course. But we’re going to make this so much fun!”
And then my husband laughs a little and gives me a high-five, because he knows I die a little inside every time I think about the drive. I am the worst about car trips. But every time we find ourselves driving somewhere instead of being able to fly, I do try and make the best of it – for all of us!
I’m working on the activities to keep us all busy on our upcoming trip and thought I’d share some of my favorites with you!
Activities for Kids:
- I Spy Treasure Bottles. These were so much fun to make, and our kids have had a great time with them at all ages!
- Cookie Sheet Magnet Boards. Use dollar store magnets, create your own with printed clip art, etc for inexpensive activities. Add a “chip clip” to turn it into a coloring clipboard!
- Audio books (available from your local library, Audible.com, etc)
- Wikki Stix or Pipe Cleaners. We fell in love with Wikki Stix in a restaurant in Chicago (and they allow for a bit more flexibility, no pun intended), but pipe cleaners will also provide hours of fun for creative kids with no mess!
- File Folder Games
- Books – stories, activity books, reusable sticker books, Where’s Waldo, etc.
- Window Markers. Let the kids go to town drawing on the windows (if they can be trusted to *only* draw on the windows!). Then provide them some baby wipes and teach them about cleaning up after themselves! 😉
- Aluminum Foil Art. Seriously, just bring a roll of aluminum foil. You’ll be shocked at what kids can come up with – fashion, toys, tools and other inventions! I saw this and thought it was brilliant, and can’t wait to see what my girls do.
- Twenty Questions
- “Would you Rather“? Check out this great list of kid-friendly questions to spark fun conversations.
- The License Plate Game. Keep your eyes open for license plates from all 50 states (or other places around the world – you’d be surprised!). Print out a checklist or a map, or download an app. We love one called USPL8S, available in theiOS App Store.
- Roadtrip Scavenger Hunt. You can find a lot of these online, you can make your own, or you’re in luck – I’ve made one for you! 🙂
- “I wonder where they’re going?” Look in a car, at the side of big haulers, at license plates, etc and make up a story about where they’re headed.
- Find your ABCs. Look on signs, license plates, etc and go through the alphabet, seeing how quickly you can find each letter of the alphabet.
- Category ABCs. Choose a category (Disney characters, foods, TV shows, etc) and take turns going through each letter to come up with something that fits the topic.
- Ring Pops. If your kids won’t make a sticky mess with these, they have a built-in handle and last a while. The jury is still out on whether we’ll give these a chance, but I love the idea! 🙂
- Make each child a special “treat box“. Fill a container with road trip treats and let them snack at will. Don’t forget to keep a small garbage bag in the reach of eachkiddo!
- Keep track of how much farther you have to go! My daughters ask incessantly, every time we’re in the car, how much farther we have until we reach our destination. We will definitely be doing something like this “countdown” (or tracking our progress on a map) to hopefully cut back on the, “how much longer?”s 🙂
- Don’t forget the Dramamine! Two of my kids and I suffer from car-sickness, especially when trying to read, etc while on the road. Unfortunately, 14 hours is a long time to not do anything but stare out the window in hopes of feeling well… so be prepared!
- One of the most valuable things we’ve ever started on trips of any substantial length is what is affectionately known in our vehicles as “the clothespin game”. Ours our not nearly so cute as these… but check out this post for the details. Briefly, each child gets a clothespin. It stays up so long as they are behaving, comes down when they aren’t. If the pin is up when we make a stop, they get a little treat. This has done *wonders* in our household!
I’ll update on Facebook as I plan and implement some of these. What is your favorite tip for road trips with kids? I have a few weeks, so I’d love to hear more!