Being a mother of two very active children I have to admit I shudder a little each time I hear the words vacation or trip mentioned in my house. I know this means confining my kids for an extended period of time. This also means I need to start planning what they are going to need to help with the upcoming trip.
My kids are 7 and 1 1/2 so they don’t always know how to plan their time or plan ahead what they are going to want to do. Don’t get me wrong my 7 year old has a pretty good idea what she wants. However she does not realize how short her attention span is in correlation to the time being spent in the car. My little man has no idea what he wants and has no attention span so any trip short or long is always a challenge. This year my husband and I decided for our vacation we were going to be in the car for 10 hours one way. I know, what were we thinking?
I started researching car activities for kids and found so many wonderful ideas I could not use them all for the trip or even begin to share all of them with you. I will share my favorites and tell you what worked for my kids and I. No worries I will be honest not everything worked, even some of my favorite ideas.
First you need the list of car must haves if you are going to be doing a long trip. For some kids you will need this for a short trip as well. We may have scarred our son for ever going on a long car ride again, but he did have some fun things to do while we were in the car. My son is a very strange child. He does not like to sleep in the car. I know your thinking WHAT KID DOES NOT SLEEP IN THE CAR? ‘That would be mine. We did get lucky on our trip and he took a short nap while in the car so that made him a little more bearable.
Car Must Haves:
- Portable DVD player
- Coloring Books, Activity books
- Books to read (a new book is even more desirable for a child to read)
- Colored pencils, pens (stay away from crayons they will melt in the heat)
- Car Bingo (I had one as a kid in the 70′s and have seen them in stores again)
- Map of were you are going (you want you child to see were you will be going and were you are. This helps eliminate the are we there yet?)
- Songs (do an online search for a free song list or purchase a book with lots of fun songs to sign while in the car
- License plate game (I know you all played it as a kid)
- Felt board (this was great for my son)
- Dollar Store treats
- Glow Sticks
- Yummy Snacks for everyone
- Printable car games
ABC Hunt Game, see who can spy all the letters of the alphabet first. Use a dry erase board or paper and write down the alphabet. Cross off each letter as you find the letter. You can make it more difficult by looking for lower case and capital letters. A fun prize is a sucker or a piece of candy. It doesn’t cost much but gives extra incentive for kids to try to win. This is also a great way to keep kids learning.
I spy in a bottle. I found this idea on multiple web sites and co workers had told me they did this as well. I took an empty water bottle purchased rice and found lots of small toys and things around the house and made an I spy bottle. I filled a little bit of rice then dropped in a few small items like a penny, small eraser, small sea shell, beads, paper clips etc. Next I poured a little more rice over the items to cover them and continued this process over and over. You will need to leave about two inches empty at the top so you have enough space to move the rice and items around in the bottle. I thought this idea was so cute and was really excited to make it for my kids. I was disappointed when my kids really didn’t want anything to do with this. I even made a list of the items so my daughter could cross them off as she found them to help her reading and spelling skills.
Above I mentioned Printable car games I found this web site http://www.momsminivan.com/and was so excited to see all the ideas she had on her website. I recommend every mom check out this website as this was the best I found with lots of different fun ideas for the car ride. She has lots of printable games, song lyrics you can print off if you want to and lots of different craft projects.
Check out next weeks post for more fun car activities for you and your kids. Happy traveling!