Growing up in a large family, we didn’t do a ton of fancy vacations. In fact, I can’t remember one. My parents idea of a vacation was driving hundreds of miles from Washington to Alaska to look at scenery while camping in the barren wilderness along the way. (Yay. 😉 )
Some of my fondest vacation memories included dropping my pants in sub-zero temperatures to pee on the side of the road, eating peanut butter and jelly on hotdog buns, and rolling down our windows to take pictures of moose, bears, and totem poles.
Granted, viewing the Northern Lights in their splendor and seeing enormous glaciers with the backdrop of snow-capped mountains and mirrored waters was pretty amazing. But as a child, it felt like the road trip that would never end.
It makes me laugh now, because it is just not a site you would see anymore…a wooden-paneled station wagon cram-packed with food, camping supplies, kids… And just in case that wasn’t enough to behold, throw a canoe on top!
Now that I’m an adult, I cherish the highlight reel of roasting hotdogs under the stars, and sitting in the canoe being surrounded by beauty. I see the gifts of those long family road trips.
As a parent though, I have no idea what my parents were thinking. Two hours in a car with my three kids is enough to show me my limitations… I can’t image two weeks. 😉
Perhaps its the planner in me or a piece of that girl looking out the window at drooling elk that makes we want to PREPARE for road trips. I know I can’t eliminate all boredom, sibling quarrels, and crying, but here are a few things that make me feel a little more confident before pulling out of the driveway…
Here are some great wholesome entertainment options that can keep your little people preoccupied.
- Adventure in Odyssey– a family-fun audio drama. Each episode is thirty minutes and contains a moral lesson presented in an exciting way.
- Airshipgenesis Summer Blast– an online VBS audio drama for kids that can be listened to from any device. It also has a kid-friendly site with additional activities and games.
- Right Now Media Kidz- the “Christian Netflix”. It has a whole kids section filled with wholesome kid-cartoons and videos.
- Quiet Books- These are busy books designed for smaller kids that provides them with entertainment while letting them explore and learn. You can purchase one or make one.
- Ipod of Music- Load all your kids favorite music on a media player or iPod so you can just plug it into the car or let them listen to it individually.
- Joke telling and joke books
- Cheap travel games
- Pretend Passports- You can get a free printable one HERE as well as, some other fun travel printables.
When you are traveling, kids LIVE for snacks (at least mine do). You can pre-make individual bags for each child or have an organized cooler between the seats. Here are a few healthy options:
- Fruit (grapes, berries, orange slices, bananas)
- Veggies (carrots, celery, cauliflower, cucumbers)
- Dried fruit (raisin boxes or banana chips)
- Nuts (almonds, peanuts, cashews)
- Homemade fruit rollups
- trail mix
- Applesauce pouches
A little incentive can go a long way. It might help curb some of the sibling tension as well as the beloved question “How much longer???”. 😉
- Roll of Quarters: Give each child a roll of quarters as their spending money. Every time they ask “Are we almost there yet?” or fight with their siblings take one away. 😉
- Car Bucks: make your own or grab a handful from your Monopoly game. They can earn dibs on dinner choice, spending money, or a sweet treat.
- Travel Bag Surprises: fill brown paper bags with small prizes or goodies for each stop along the way. It gives them something to look forward to, while giving the parents a little leverage.
Pit Stop Fun
As adults, we tend to be about the destination, but kids are looking for the adventure in every moment. It’s ok to take a long lunch, visit a historical site, or have fun at a rest area. If you are intentional with your time it will be enjoyable for the whole family.
- Do relay races
- Run laps
- skip rocks
- Go for a walk
- Have a picnic
- Go into a shop and pick up a souvenir
- Check out a local tourist site
Alright, if you’ve made it through my exhaustive list of survival tips, please share with me what works for you! Haha…I am always open to new ideas and if you’ve got a good one, I’d love to hear it!! 🙂