Hello Disney Fans!
I wanted to touch base with everyone about taking car rides with kids. We all know family vacations can be super fun and make lifelong memories, but sometimes the actual act of getting to your destination, while an adventure, can be tricky. So whether you’re driving to Disney or on another adventure, let’s explore some ways to keep the kids (and, by default, you) happy on long car rides.
Having just taken a road trip with my kiddos I wanted to offer up ideas that we used to make our 20 hours in a car with kids under the age of 10 tolerable and dare I say it…fun. First let’s a quick trip down memory lane. Who remembers car rides as a kid?
Here are some of the things we did during long car rides when I was a kid:
- Play Games
- The License Plate Game
- 20 Questions
- Do Mad Libs
- Play the Radio (anyone else remember trying to adjust the dial and find stations as you passed through new states)
- Watch Trees Go By
- Sing Songs
- Read Books (anyone else get motion sick from that)
- Lay down in the back of our parents station wagon with pillows and blankets (it was the early 80’s…not really advisable these days).
- My personal favorite pastime was to simply stick my hand out the window and play with the wind.
Here are some of the ways we kept the kids entertained during our recent road trip.
Audio Books and DVD’s
Technology & cars have evolved since then and it can work to our advantage. One thing we did was stock up on audio books and DVD’s from our local library. This did provide hours of relaxing entertainment and the material was all fresh & new to them.
Snacks. Snacks. Snacks.
I’m not even sure we had made it down our driveway before the kids were asking for snacks. LOL. We put a cooler between them full of healthy snack options. I also had some of their favorite “treats” available to ration out along the way.
IPad / Kindle
Whatever you have….be sure to have a car charger and charging cable with you!! I also had kid safe volume controlled headphones for them. They enjoyed the novelty of them and loved wearing them. Which was amazing, because if we are being honest, there is only so much Care Bears and Thomas the Train one can take.
Looking for a way to break up your drive and stretch? The apple App Store has apps that will help you find a playground near you. Playgrounds are definitely a great way to let the little ones run & burn some energy. Check out Playground Buddy and Play Across America-the Playground Finder and see what you think.
Looking for a place to stay along the way? We tried a new app for this very purpose. It’s called Hotel Tonight and it worked beautifully. I would literally be able to see us on a map, find a hotel a half hour away, book it and pay for it on the app. All we had to do when we got there was check in.
The Play Store for Android has apps too, but we were using our iPhones on the trip.
Another way to do it is to look for state parks near your route. That has always been an awesome way for our whole family to break up any long drive and everyone gets a little fresh air & exercise in.
Making Rest Stops Fun
On this particular road trip we designed a jumping jack challenge. Every rest stop we hit required a certain number of jumping jacks and various other calisthenics. The kids really got a kick out of doing this and possibly had more fun watching us join in.
My neighbor gave the kids pinwheels just before we left. I was skeptical, but it ended up being a huge huge hit. When they were tired, the kids would partially roll down their windows, lean the pinwheel out the window and sleepily watch it spin. It was totally hypnotic for them!!
I began acquiring “little” surprises for them a few months before we left and putting together backpacks for them. I’d use coupons to buy them little blind bag surprises, or visit the dollar store to find cute car approved toys (FYI a recorder is not a car approved toy IMO). If you have a Michaels or Toys R Us near you, they usually have a $1 toy section as well. Every so often they’d get to pick something out of their bag. The favorites seemed to be the silly putty & a map of the USA with stickers to map our progress.
Before we left I assembled pads with pre-printed tic-tac-toe & hang-man games & other classics (you can find printable’s online). They loved this! I had given them each a cool new pen and they had full on competitions with some of these games.
Anyone remember paper dolls? I used to love them. The reason I mention this is because a gal pal of mine created paper-dolls for her girls and introduced them on a road trip. She said they loved them and the novelty entertained them for hours.
Please feel free to share with us some of your favorite road trip entertainment and adventures. We’d love to hear your stories and ideas!
Thanks for reading!