It’s that time of year when families load up the kids and head for the beach or the mountains or the lake.
Entertaining children on a road trip requires a little planning ahead, a little organization on your end but the end result provides a happier vacation for everyone.
Now I could just tell you to buy a DVD player hook it into the back of your car (one per child) sign up for Redbox and be on your merry way but if I did that it would be too easy and this article would be too short, plus……….in my opinion…..that isn’t fair to your children.
There are lots of games you can play in a car that require no planning, just a little thought. One of our favorite things to do in the car was sing.
We sang silly songs, crazy songs, rhyming songs, church songs until we couldn’t think of anymore.
- The Ants Go Marching
- Found a Peanut
- 100 Bottles of Pop on the Wall
- John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt
- If I had a Hammer
- Home on the Range
- On top of Spaghetti
- She’ll be Coming around the Mountain
- This Old Man
- Little Rabbit Foo Foo
And no matter what we sang, my dad drove in silence until we sang “Do Lord” and then he would join in the fun and sing along with us for a few minutes.
The other thing we did in the car was play games. We played “I’m Going on a Trip” where one person starts the game and the next has to repeat what the person before them is taking and add something of their own,then go on to the next person and they repeat it plus add something and on and on until no one can remember anymore.Another version of that game is to have the person bring something that starts with the first initial of their name.
Another fun game is the Alphabet game. You start with A and have to find something that starts with that letter before you can move on to the next letter. We always got stuck on X.
We also played a fun game called “How far is a mile. We would choose a starting point, and then from that point, we had to let the driver know when we thought we had gone a mile. It was a great way to get a sense of how far a mile really was.
Another car game which requires participation and being alert is the license plate game where you see how many different state license plates you can find.
The last game I am going to share with you is a favorite.The game is simple. It’s called “Cows and Cemetaries” You divide into teams, usually the left side of the car and the right side of the car. You count the cows on your side of the car. When you come to a cemetery………..you have to bury your cows and start over. My kids have played and loved this game for years and their family has spent lots of hours traveling in the car.
Teach your kids to use a map. Print one out from the internet or buy an atlas but teach your children how to use it. Even though we live in the days of GPS, map reading is a skill that every child should know the basics about. My dad used to give me the map and tell me to find the way, and to this day I am an excellent map reader!
Books on CD are excellent for family road trips. You can even get some classics for everyone to listen to together.There is no better way to instill a love for books in your children than by sharing some of your favorites. You can borrow them from the library, download them online to your IPOD or rent them from Cracker Barrel. How about- Harry Potter, Tom Sawyer, or The Bobsey Twins to get you started!
Family road trips should be about making memories together, not just getting through it.
If you have Road Trip ideas or song suggestions please feel free to share them with us.
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