For the majority of Americans, the most important part about a family vacation or road trip is that they get to spend time with their families. But, as many of us know, that quality time won’t all be in the sunshine. A lot of it will be spent in the car. When the kids are getting antsy and traffic is at a standstill, what you need is a road trip survival guide! This infographic aims to provide just that.
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Our traveling-with-kids checklist will help you be prepared for the worst and best of what’s to come on your next family road trip. With kids, it’s important to have all of the bases covered: food, sleep, potty breaks, and mental stimulation. We’ve created a guide for how to travel with children and listed some of the most important things to worry about.
While planning a road trip with kids should cover all of those elements, a lack of mental stimulation and ensuing boredom is the one that the modern parent often forgets due to all of the available technology. It also causes a lot of distress. Use some of these games and activities, too. They can help you keep your children happy, quiet, and still having fun (and hopefully keep you sane in the process)!
Fun Road Trip Games for Kids (No Devices Necessary)
Eyestrain and motion sickness can result from too much time staring at a screen, so don’t rely on digital devices to keep your kids busy. Always have more than one plan; that’s one of the most important tips for traveling with kids in general! These are some ideas for games for when the children are low on patience and you don’t want to give them any more screen time.
- Cut slits into an egg carton so that it can hold cards. This opens up to the car to any card games you’d like to play: UNO, go fish, rummy, and plenty of others that could ordinarily make a mess.
- Make any board game car-friendly with magnets and a cookie sheet. Make sure all of the pieces stay put by gluing magnets to the bottom, and wrap stacks of cards in rubber bands. (There are plenty of unique games you can make with a cookie sheet, too!)
- Print out and play old-school classics, like the license plate game and road-trip bingo. There are some of the car games for kids that you might have played with your own parents.
- Play fun memory games like the name game or 20 questions. There are quite a few games that don’t require paper, just talking and thinking. They’re often just as satisfying!
Quiet-Time Travel Activities for Kids
Naturally, fun games can be loud and boisterous, and parents shouldn’t have to drive with migraines. Quiet road-trip activities for kids will help keep the noise level down when traveling with multiple children, especially at times when one of them is sleeping, and also give you a bit of a break.
- Trick out a lunch box for Legos. Kids can spend hours creating their masterpiece while still keeping all of their building blocks contained.
- Sew a pocket into a pillowcase for the kids’ books. If they don’t get carsick, reading is an excellent, quiet road trip activity for kids.
- Create a colorful “I-Spy” bottle full of interesting trinkets. It’s a super-quiet activity that’s great for when one sibling is asleep and the other isn’t. Just have a list of all the items inside it and have them check off the ones they find.
- Give the kids some tinfoil to create fun sculptures. This is an old-school camping game. Kids can enjoy a lot of the creativity of play-dough or markers, but without making a mess.
Tricks for Avoiding “Are We There Yet?!”
Car travel with kids can be annoying because they often ask that horrible question every two seconds. There are some simple ways to avoid that, though, and most of them have to do with having the kids participate in keeping track of where they are.
- Hang up a map inside a plastic sleeve with a dry-erase marker. Tell them where they are intermittently so they can follow along.
- Create a kids’ travel journal or binder full of maps or other activities. Allow them to mark off in their books where they are.
- Give out “state passports” when passing state borders or major landmarks. Or you could celebrate in some other way: Have a car dance party, or sing a song about being in a new state!
- Give out presents based on timed intervals to create less pestering. When the time reaches what you wrote on the sticky note, then you can both give out small treats and tell them where they are.
These are the basics of how to travel with kids; many more parents have come up with some truly amazing road trip ideas. For kids looking to go on an adventure, time will certainly fly when you plan to have fun!