Are you planning a vacation where you will be spending a lot of time in the car with your kids? If so, you’ve got a lot of planning to do in order to make the best of your trip. I am going to be sharing a list of road trip ideas to keep your kids occupied and help you keep your sanity!
My husband and I travel with our two kids all the time! One of the most common questions we get is, how do we do it? How do we spend so much time in the car with two kids?
Truth is, it’s not always pleasant. Our kids are 9 and 5, and they fight like cats and dogs. We have gotten really good at tuning them out when they act crazy in the car. But I also like to make sure that I am prepared and ready for these family road trips with a few helpful ways to keep them busy.
Now you could just take my husbands approach and throw on your headphones and listen to some music the whole time (which really aggravates me because I like to talk about stuff that I see when we are driving and when he wears them I basically talk to myself because he can’t hear me).
If you are like me and you want to make the most of these trips without everyone in the car going completely crazy, here is a list of ideas to help make sure you can plan the ultimate family road trip.
Coloring Books – My kids love to color, and it’s a simple way to keep them occupied for a long time. It’s not messy and doesn’t take up much room in the car to pack a few coloring books and a pencil pouch or box of crayons, markers or colored pencils. You can even make it extra special by getting coloring books that fit in with the type of trip you are taking. (Our longgggg 9 hour drive to Disney World – Disney coloring books)
Drawing/Writing – If your kids are like mine, they love to use their imagination and create stories and drawings. They can come up with a whole story and even illustrate it. They really like to make their own books. I can give each of them a notebook and they are pretty happy for a while. Once they get bored with that they also like to play tic-tac-toe with each other.
Activity Books – Books like crossword puzzles, search and finds, and Sudoku. These are for older kids, but they are good to keep in the car because they are a great boredom buster. For smaller kids, you can get the activity packs at the dollar store that comes with coloring pages, markers and stickers. My youngest really enjoys those, she’s always so excited to open it up and find out what’s inside.
Books – Who doesn’t love to read a good story? I’m so lucky that both of my kids enjoy books. My little girl can’t read yet, but she still loves to look at the pictures. We have a lot of books in our house, but I also like to hit up the local library before we take a trip, that way they have fun, new books for the road.
Games – We like to play lots of different games in the car. Some of these I can remember doing with my parents and siblings when I was a child.
- I-Spy – This is one of my kids favorite games to play in the car. It is a little difficult because when it’s my 5 year old’s turn, we will spend five minutes guessing the “something silver” she picked and by the time we all give up, she tells us that it was the car we passed 3 miles ago. So we try to keep the rule to something in the car or more than one of something (trees, sky, clouds etc).
- The Animal Alphabet – This is one that my mom used to do with us on the way home from the zoo when we were little. We start with A and we all have to say an animal that starts with an A. It’s so much fun and some of the letters are actually pretty difficult.
- Would You Rather – My son is so into this right now. He wants to play Would You Rather all the time, not just in the car. We take turns asking everyone questions about would you rather do this or that or eat this or that. It’s a neat way to find out things about each other, what they pick over the other. Here is a great site that we use https://conversationstartersworld.com/would-you-rather-questions-for-kids/. You can also just google Would You Rather questions for kids and find plenty or make up your own.
- Make Up a Story – We really enjoy this one as well. One person starts by saying one word. The next person says another word, then the next person says another word and so on and on. It’s funny because you can say any word you want and sometimes the story doesn’t make sense but they are usually always funny.
Snacks, Snacks, Snacks – Did I mention SNACKS? One thing I know not to ever forget when we head out on a road trip are the snacks. We all know that hungry kids equal lots of whining and complaining. It doesn’t matter if you just got back in the car from eating lunch, the second you get on the interstate and then BAM, they are starving (or they have to pee). Apples, bananas, goldfish, crackers, and popcorn are all good examples of road trip snack ideas. I also like to keep their cups full of ice water, this eliminates them wanting to have a soda or a slushy every time we stop at a gas station. My kids don’t like water, but if it’s in their own yeti cup with ice they actually don’t mind.
OK, now its time to talk about the one thing we are all thinking…
Electronics – I absolutely cannot stand the fact that my children want to be on electronics all the time, and I limit the amount of time they are allowed to spend on them each day. But, on long road trips, sometimes I am so thankful for them! Is that bad? When they are bored and losing their minds, it’s so easy to just say “Sure, you can play on my phone!” I think it’s all about a good balance and as long as they do other things also it’s not a bad thing. Some of the electronics we take on road trips are
- Nintendo Switch – My son got one for Christmas this past year so it’s still new and he is still really interested in the games that he got with it.
- Nintendo 2DS XL – We have had this one for a few years and since my son has his switch now, he doesn’t really mind letting his sister play on this one. It is pretty small in size and has a nice case that holds it and a bunch of the games for it.
- DVD Players – My mom got each of my kids a portable dvd player and they love them. I like that they each have their own and can watch what they want with their headphones.
- Phones – My kids each have their own folder of games on my phone. We also have Hulu, Netflix and YouTube kids on there so they can watch movies if they want to.
Going on a road trip with your kids can be exhausting but you can make some of the best memories while doing so. Use this time you have all in the care together to talk and learn about one another. All it takes is a little extra planning to make the experience more enjoyable!
Sure, we’ve gone on some trips where i didn’t plan at all and we made it just fine, but keeping the kids occupied in my opinion is definitely a good thing. Yes, I still tell them to look out the window when they tell me that they are bored, but I know that expecting them to just sit there and do nothing for hours isn’t really fun for anyone.
I hope these ideas are helpful when you are planning your next road trip with your kids. If you have any other ideas or tips to add, please leave me a comment! I am always looking for advice from other parents on how they do things with their children. It takes a village right!?!