‘Tis the season for family road trips: fa-la-la-la-laaaa-la-la-la-la.
Lafayette, IN sits in the Midwest which is conveniently accessible to most of the United States by car. However, time in a car brings out the best and worst of everyone! Tired, bored, and hungry family members make for some serious attitudes. So we are here to help you make the car an uplifting environment. Entertainment in the car often looks like movies and screen time or books, but concentration on a book or on a screen can cause car sickness. Here are a few other ideas for your family’s road trip this summer! All ideas can obviously be modified depending on family size, ages, and special needs.
Road Trip Survival Tips
- Bonding games. If you’re looking for more interaction in the car, the big tip is to be proactive! Initiate conversations with thought provoking questions or use some of these games to get the ball rolling!
- Scavenger hunts. These can be organized or done off the cuff. Include big things such as mountains, bodies of water, or animals, but don’t limit yourself. Stop signs, road signs, bumper stickers, and fast food chains can all be on the list too!
- License plate game: never fails.
- Verbal games such as rock, paper, scissors, or I spy, or Twenty Questions, or the Green Glass Door can be awesome brain stimulation in the car!
- Car color research. It’s science. Make a chart of common car colors and tally how many you see of each color on stretch of the trip. Then discuss science and research. The car can be wonderful for teaching moments!
- Put snacks into pre-sorted serving size bags. With this, you won’t need to micro manage snack time.
- Pre-arranged music playlists can be helpful. They enable you to censor and control what is heard in the car for the trip. They also allow you to still list to music when there is no phone service! It doesn’t have to be completely controlled by the parent. Use this as an opportunity to get to know your kids and their interests, even if it’s not your style! It opens the door for communication and unplugs the teenager’s headphones.
- First aid kit/ ouch kit. This is helpful for when you stop or to make it so you don’t have to stop! Don’t forget to the wet wipes and hand sanitizer too!
- Create busy bags. These are fun if you’re someone sending another family on a road trip. Pack each individual in the car a treat bag with fun personal items from the dollar store. Items can include but are not limited to coloring pages, crayons, bouncy balls, sticky, hands, healthy treats, and more!
- Quiet time is okay. This is a common one to bypass. We think out kids need constant stimulation, but the reality is that they need some time with nothing to do. The rest helps their minds develop! It might even encourage a nap. So, don’t shy away from quiet time. This means no screens or books. Just being together.
- If you have kids in your car, consider driving through the night. This helps in so many ways, but it also creates other problems such as sleeplessness. Use discretion.
- Enjoy the ride. Stop and see the sights if you have time. It’ll help stretch your and your kid’s legs. Consider looking up parks to stop at if you have kids in the car. In the long run, the kids will enjoy the entire trip more too!
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