10 Ways to Entertain your Kids During Summer Road Trips is a guest post by Joshua Butler of CarInsurance.org.uk.
Keeping your kids entertained in the car can make summer road trips more enjoyable. This is especially true for those who have younger kids who get bored or restless when they're stuck in one place for long periods of time. Even older kids can benefit from joining in some family fun on the road.
1. Bring Plenty of Options
Fill a box or square fabric drawer with your kids’ favorite toys, games, and books. Place it in the center of the back seat. This gives your kids easy access to it. You can also reach inside it from the front passenger seat if your kids are too little to get their own toys.
2. Encourage Some Quiet Entertainment
Bring a portable DVD player and your kids’ favorite movies or shows. This might provide a bit of quiet time during your trip – or at least a break from the "are we there yet?" chorus.
3. Play Classic Car Games
Play games like “I Spy” or “20 Questions.” You can have your kids look for objects that start with a certain letter. They can also watch for certain animals, numbers, or license plates from different states. Make a list of things for them to find (a red semi truck, a cow, etc.) and once they've all been crossed off, give each kid a little prize.
4. Make Learning Fun
Bring flash cards for some educational fun in the car. Sit in the back with your kids if possible and go through one pack at a time. This is a great way to help your kids learn concepts like the alphabet, words and numbers.
5. Do a Family Singing Session
Have a sing-along. Bring CDs with kids’ music, and let your kids take turns requesting their favorite songs.
6. Get Some Physical Activity
Take a frisbee or ball in the car with you. Bring it with you when you stop at a rest area. This gives you and your kids a chance to stretch their legs and burn off some energy before getting back in the car. Who knows? They might just wear themselves out enough that they fall asleep!
7. Let Your Kids Be Creative
Bring coloring books, activity books, and crayons to keep your kids occupied. Give them a small tray to place across their lap to make it easier for them to color or draw. Crayola Wonder makes markers that will only draw on their special paper - a good investment if you're worried about color spreading to your leather seats.
8. Have a Family Storytelling Time
Create a family story. Start with one sentence then have each person in the car take turns adding to the story one line at a time. Write the story down in a notebook if you want to save it and read it together in the future.
9. Let Them Navigate
Print out a map of your trip for each kid. Give them stickers, crayons or washable markers to keep track of your progress on the map when they see road signs along the way.
10. Pass the Time With Some Silliness
Play “Mad Libs” with your kids. This a good way to pass the time with some silly fun. If you don’t have the actual books, you can always create your own. They make for fun stories while teaching your kids about nouns, adjectives, and verbs.
Making sure that your kids have plenty to do on your road trip should prevent you from hearing “Are we there yet?” a hundred times. Getting involved as much as possible can also make the time go faster for you. Before you know it, you’ll be at your destination without a car full of cranky kids.
Joshua Butler loves going on car trips with his wife and kids. He also is a freelance writer for www.carinsurance.org.uk, a website that can help you find cheap car insurance to make sure you're all ready for that next big road trip.