“Are we there yet?” “I’m bored!” “Mom, he’s touching me!” Sounds like the common noises all parents hear when their kids are stuck in the car for too long, which makes the idea of summer travels seem daunting. But, summer after summer, parents load up the trunks and trek across the states to a fun destination all in the name of summer vacation. This summer, we are here to help your summer road trips be more enjoyable for everyone.
Before you head out on your family getaways, use these tips to plan car entertainment ahead of time.
1. Play some old-fashioned road trip games for kids.
Some things never go out of fashion, such as old-fashioned car games. For example, kids still find joy playing Car Bingo by competing against other passengers to get to Bingo first by locating key roadside items. Other long-time favorites include the state license game (race to be the passenger to identify the most license plates from different states) and the alphabet game (passengers compete to find signs with the next letter in the alphabet).
2. Pre-make some $1 store surprise bags.
Head to your local dollar store and purchase several items. The key is to keep this stuff hidden from your kids, so when the first time someone yells, “I’m bored,” you can surprise the kids with a few small treats. Other families go as far as creating a small bag of toys for each hour of the trip.
3. Make good use of lap trays.
Having a lap tray (even one for a car seat) can make traveling easier. A lap tray will allow your youngest passengers to do many of the same things they would do at home, such as coloring, drawing, or building with LEGOs. Plus, they are lifesavers when it comes to eating in the car.
4. Encourage summer reading.
If your kids are already reading, road trips are the perfect time to encourage them to get some of their summer reading done. Even if they do not have assigned summer reading, reading is a fantastic way to prevent the summer slide.
5. Listen to kid-friendly audiobooks.
Whether you have non-readers or older kids, your family can find great pleasure listening to an audiobook together. You can download audiobooks from your local library right to your phone from Overdrive, and their collection has everything from Fancy Nancy children’s books to the Harry Potter series.
6. Invest in magnetic travel games for kids.
You can still find travel-sized games online and at stores such as Target. You can find travel versions of things like checkers, Hungry Hungry Hippo, and Yahtzee. This is an excellent way to get your kids to play together in the back seat. Plus, the fun can continue in the hotel room and won’t take up too much space in your suitcase.
7. Look at a map.
Today’s kids will never get the pleasure of taking a road trip with just a map or even a printout of directions via MapQuest. That’s what makes looking at a map so much fun for them! Give them a map or an atlas and have them circle the places you visit on your trip.
8. Download the best apps for kids.
Now, let’s be honest. Traveling today is a bit easier when you let your kids play with their devices. A road trip is a perfect excuse to let them play on their iPads and Kindles more than you would usually allow. Don’t feel guilty. Use our guides to the best apps for kids to help you prep their devices before the trip.
9. Embrace the big screen.
If you own a DVD player for the car, make use of it. If you don’t own one, borrow one from a friend. You will be amazed at how few times your kids ask how much longer and how well they get along when their favorite movies are playing.
10. Snack and snack some more.
Finally, stock up on snacks. The worse thing a parent can do on a road trip is to let the kids get hangry. Keep those kids happy by keeping their bellies full.
Even better – these don’t just apply to long summer road trips! You can use these tips to make carpools a bigger success. Make your family vehicle THE vehicle kids want to ride in and the vehicle other parents trust. Download Karpool to get started!