"Are we there yet?" "I'm so bored!" "This is taking sooooo long for us to get there!" "How far is it to ___? (My answer: About 2.5 hours.) It's going to take DAYS!"
Can you relate? Sometimes it can seem like more trouble than it's worth taking a trip with kids. Especially in this day and age of instant gratification and the constant stimulation and entertainment of the culture in which we live.
I have made it a parenting priority to make sure my kids understand that we must have down time, time to be quiet and rest a little, each and every day, trying to help them develop the virtue of patience and understanding the concept of delayed gratification.
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It's a huge struggle at times but I will not give up. These are important qualities for children to develop to become healthy adults.
So even on road trips, we try to make sure the kids have some down time. But for the other 95% of the time spent on the road while traveling, I'm incredibly grateful for the wealth of options of things for kids to do on road trips to make them more pleasant for everyone and to preserve sanity for my husband and myself, whatever little bit of it we have left. 😉
The following ideas are outside of the obvious DVD and iPaid electronic options, which can be great, too, but we try to limit those and not become overly dependent upon them.
These are some ideas that cost you nothing. With all the other expenses that travel (not to mention life) involves, it's always nice to have some options that won't cut into your travel budget.
Books on CD from the Library
We go to the library regularly but for some reason until recently I hadn't realized they have books on CD available. So not only can your children enjoy some free entertainment but these books on CD will also support the development of their reading skills. They have picture books available and also early reader books.
There are lots of games you can play while on the road that cost zero, just a little bit of imagination. We have played different versions of I Spy, academic type games that help the kids practice things like phonics and math facts, and a game that my 4-year-old came up with on her own one day that I call "Raise Your Hand If...".
I believe one of the phonics games we play developed somehow as a sort of spinoff after playing I Spy once, where each person takes a turn thinking of a word that begins with a certain phonics sound and the others try to guess the word. We start giving clues when the guesses begin slowing down.
Other Travel Activity Ideas
Fun Edible Treats
Note: These first three may not go over so well with most girls!
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Other Travel Size Games
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Road trips are a great time to get a couple of new books. Here are a few that have been big hit with my kids:
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