Many parents dread the thought of taking a roadtrip with their kids. But with a little advanced planning, a long car trip can be a great opportunity to spend some quality family time together and and even have a little fun along the way! Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Several weeks before your trip, have your children start earning spending money to take with them. That way they can buy a souvenir or two along the way.
- Cut out a portion of a map with the highways you will be travelling and highlight your route with a marker so that your children can check to see where you are and how far you have travelled. You can even mount the map on cardboard or posterboard and laminate it for future use as well.
- Before you leave, take your kids to the bookstore or library and let them choose a book (or two) to read. Encourage them to do some reading each day along your trip. Give them an incentive to finsh their book, such as a five dollar reward once they finish.
- Get a book on tape or CD and listen to it together.
- Give each child a disposable camera and a notebook and let them make a scrapbook of their trip. They can collect things along the way, like a menu from a restaurant you ate at, or a postcard from a different state. Have them write in the notebook about things they saw and did and snap a picture to add to the book when they return home.
- Challenge your kids to find a license plate from each of the fifty states. The person with the most states at the end of the trip wins.
- Play “Vacation Bingo”. Before your trip have your kids make a bingo card for each person. Think of twenty-five things you are likely to see on the road: cows, horses, water towers, etc. and draw each item in a different space on each card. Laminate the cards and while you are traveling, give each person a washable marker to cross of the items as they see them. The first person to cross off the items horizontally, vertically, or diagonally wins!
- Play “Cow Cemetery”. The first person to spot a cow or herd of cows, gets a point. The person that spots a cemetery causes all the other players to lose their “cows”, or points. At the end of the trip, the person with the most points or “cows” wins!
- If you have a DVD player, rent a new movie to watch along the way. Talk about the movie when it is over.
- Stop and smell the roses! So often, we get caught up in just trying to get to our destinations, that we don’t take the time to enjoy the trip along the way. Remember that it is not a race to the finish line. If you see something interesting along the way, or if you just need some fresh air and exercise, stop, get out and do some sightseeing, go on a nature walk, or visit an unplanned attraction. It might be the highlight of your trip!
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