A long road trip can seem like an endless drive with crying and bored children in the backseats. However, by planning ahead of time and acquiring a few items, you can keep your children entertained for the duration of a long road trip!
Depending upon the age of your child, some of these games and activities might not appeal to them. However, many of these suggestions can be incorporated for all age groups! Generally, the older the child, the more likely they are to entertain themselves (and less work for you!) Children 12 years and younger tend to require more entertainment and stimulation throughout a long road trip.
There are a variety of games that can be played with the entire family. The first game is the License Plate game, which requires each participant to spot a license plate from every single state, providence, region, etc. Other games such as iSpy, 20 questions, Road Trip Bingo, and animal spotting can keep children entertained for a long time. Also, many popular games have car versions. Battleship, Chess, and Checkers can all be bought in a car version which includes magnetic strips so pieces are not easily lost!
If these games are not appealing to your children and they keep asking, “Are we there yet?” use it as a learning opportunity! If they ask you if you are there yet, offer them the map or GPS and let them figure out where you are currently. Not only does your child feel included in the traveling process, but it also allows them to learn valuable life skills such as map reading and route planning.
While it is harder to complete arts and crafts in a car, coloring books are a useful source of entertainment for a long period of time. Another useful craft supply is pipe cleaners, which can be shaped and reshaped a multitude of times. Before you leave for your trip, create age-appropriate vacation books with interesting facts, information, and coloring pages about your final destination. Not only do the children learn about where they are going or vacationing, but it becomes an interactive book with activities to entertain children.
While I don’t recommend letting your children watch movies or TV shows all the time (they can look out the window instead), they do come in handy at moments of potential breakdowns or frustrations. This tends to occur later in the day or many hours into the road trip. Make sure to pack educational movies and TV shows for those stressful moments. Also, there are many wonderful, child-appropriate documentaries which provide a wealth of information. Don’t forget to include headphones!
As long as a wide variety of activities are packed such as crafts, games, and electronics, your child is bound to be entertained for the length of your road trip. Make sure that the activities and games are age-appropriate as well as car-friendly. Look at the road trip as part of the adventure and not as a dreadful part of your vacation!