May 30, 2013
A family vacation that involves long car trips can be stressful for parents. It’s important to plan activities for your children in order to avoid the dreaded whining and squabbling from the back seat.
Here are 10 great ways to keep your kids entertained while on the road
1. Scavenger Hunt
Prepare a list of things to look for on the road (add pictures for small children). Be sure to make the list long enough to last a while and to have a small prize for its successful completion! If you have more than one child, team them together to avoid competition and eventual squabbling.
2. Alphabet Game / Licence Plate Bingo (in the United States)
The alphabet game is a classic and simply consists of finding all the letters of the alphabet on road signs. As for licence plate bingo, it can be a great game if you’re travelling to the US on account of their many different states. A number of websites offer printable cards that will definitely keep the kids entertained in traffic jams.
3. Map Reading
Buy a map for your child; then trace your route and mark some stops you plan to make. Your child will be able to track your progress on the road and learn how to read a map. You can even test his knowledge along the way (naming the highway you’re on, finding your exit, etc.) In addition to being a useful skill, you’ll avoid the exasperating “Are we there yet?”
4. Search-and-Find Children's Book
Bringing a few Where’s Waldo? or I Spy books is never a bad idea. Searching high and low for the hidden characters or items will keep your kids busy for a fair amount of time.
5. 20 Questions
This fun car game will involve your whole family! Each person takes turns thinking of an item and the others can ask up to 20 questions to help them guess what the answer is.
6. A Travel Diary
Children will enjoy keeping a diary of their travels. They can log the places they’ve visited, the weather, the time of food stops, their favorite meals or activities, etc. Your child can draw a picture or add photos of important moments during his trip and add these to his journal. In addition to creating lasting vacation memories, a travel journal will also help your kids practice their writing skills.
7. A Travel Box
Decorate a shoe/metal box and fill it with activities: crayons, coloring/sticker books, and some of your child’s favorite toys. If you have older kids, simply adapt the contents of the box (a disposable camera, word-search games, a diary, etc.)
8. Fun Stops
When planning your trip, look for some good places to make stops for picnics, exercise or some family fun. Discover what the regions you’re driving through have to offer, such as local parks or attractions. After all, it’s not the destination but the journey that counts.
9. Family Trivia
This game consists of asking your kids trivia questions about your relatives and family tree. It’s a great way to share family history with each generation. Start with easy questions when your kids are small and make these harder as they get older.
10. DVDs / Audio Books
Some audio books or movies (if you have a DVD player) can always be life savers during a long road trip, especially if your child gets carsick and reading or writing isn’t recommended. Audio books and movies can also give you a break if you’re tired or in a complicated area and need all your concentration as a driver.
We all want our child to do well in school, to be curious and to succeed in life. We encourage intellectual stimulation and help out with his or her homework; however, we tend to overlook the multiple benefits of physical activity on child development and growth. Here are some key reminders not to lose sight that well-being is also “a healthy mind in a healthy body.”