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The words “Road Trip” have the potential to strike terror into the hearts of parents of small children. But, I love being able to cram the majority of my worldly possessions into my vehicle, leave on my own schedule, and not have to worry about bothering other travelers. Here are a few tips to make the road a little smoother and help you get to your destination in one piece.
Tips for Road Trips with Small Children
Time Markers for Road Trips
When “Are we there yet?” is repeated constantly, they are 4 of the most dreaded words ever uttered in the human language. One idea to remedy this question is a ribbon tied across the vehicle’s top with lines drawn for every hour of the trip. Kids can take turns sliding the bead across the ribbon one hour at a time. Now, they have a visual way to see exactly how much time is left. Another way to make time fly by is to award a quarter every 20 minutes for anyone who has had excellent behavior. Not only does it break up the time, but kids are inspired to cooperate, and they will have some spending money once you arrive.
A trip to the discount store is always in order before any trip. This momma tries to make this errand a covert operation so that our car activities are surprises. I pick up new art supplies, lacing cards, games, slinkies, and small toys that I put in individual paper bags to hand out along the way. I always make sure I have a metal cookie sheet in the car for each kid. This is great to use with magnetic letters, puzzle shapes with magnets glued to the back, and removable stickers. We also have the round magnets from Target that we use with these letter printables from Confession of a Homeschooler.
My kids also use their cookie sheets for coloring, building with Duplo blocks, and stringing large wood beads. The raised edges are great for keeping their supplies from rolling all over the car. Another favorite road trip activity is Floam. It stays together, is relatively clean, and my kids play with it for as long as their attention spans stay intact.
Eating= peace and quiet
Snacks are another way to help the miles fly by, although it can be challenging to keep their bellies full of nutritious snacks and the van crumb-free. Nothing is worse than a carpet full of mashed goldfish and cheerios. I fill empty Easter eggs with handfuls of healthy treats, such as pretzels, veggie straws, raisins, dried fruit, and nuts. This helps snack time last longer, and they are ecstatic to see what is inside their mystery eggs.
By the door of the car, we keep a bin of ‘extras’ to keep momma sane. This includes flip-flops for potty stops, extra changes of clothes for everyone (including underwear), a package of wet wipes, and a ball or frisbee for rest areas. It makes ‘uh ohs’ much more manageable when mom doesn’t have to dig through the luggage for clean clothes.
Pinterest also has gobs of great ideas that you can make and take with you. With a little planning, and a few surprises along the way, you will be there before you know it and ready to start your vacation!
What are some of your ideas to survive a car trip with kids?
By Jessica G.
Jessica is a mom of 3 girls from Spring Grove, IL. Next to her relationship with the Lord, her other passions include cooking, playing the violin, photography, and helping other moms to realize their true potential.
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