BOREDOM BUSTERS FOR ROAD TRIPS

One way or another, your kids will ask, “Are we there yet?” on your family road trip. It may either be a time for you to bond and learn about one another and our shared interests and perspectives.

With a little forethought, imagination, and preparation, a road trip can be a fun, educational, and sane experience. Certainly, electronic games, applications, and portable DVD players are excellent ways to keep yourself occupied while you’re waiting in line. There are a number of family-friendly games and activities that can keep everyone entertained while the miles tick past.

Can-Do Post-It Notes

Don’t underestimate the sway a simple deck of cards may exert. All ages can enjoy it, and it’s a great way to keep your mind occupied. Go to the library or buy a book on kids’ card games if your kids have grown tired of playing Go Fish, Crazy Eights, or Rummy. Alternatively, invest in a set of trivia or quiz cards to keep their minds occupied.

Craze for Contests

Index cards can be used to jot down words or questions in a spelling or trivia contest. Depending on their age, winners may receive prizes such as toys, stickers, activity or coloring books, trade cards, food, money, extra minutes at the hotel pool, or the ability to stay up late.

Good ‘Ol Games

You can always play 20 Questions, License Plate Game, and I Spy as a back-up plan on the road.

Try out the Alphabet Game. If you choose an animal-related topic (such as aardvarks, antelopes, or apes) and an alphabet letter (like A), then ask everyone to name animals that begin with that letter. Children can choose a topic of interest (cars, TV characters, countries, cities, foods), and there are 26 alternatives (one for each letter) for each theme. This is the finest part about this game.

Make a marathon out of the games, and reward the winners with special sweets or trinkets. Then, for the most prestigious honors, hold a lightning round or finals.

Writing in a diary

Encourage your children to take notes and draw pictures of what they observe as they travel by purchasing inexpensive, durable journals (or making your own from construction paper, a hole puncher, and yarn). Have them collect something little to glue into their journal for each rest stop. For example: a small stone, a seashell, a flower, or a super-small souvenir like a button or a postcard. Take a disposable camera to the road with your kids and let them take their own images to remember the journey.

Add Interest to It

The dollar store or gift shops along the road are great places to pick up some inexpensive magnetic games (such as tic-tac-toe and checkers).

It’s called Map Quest

To make things easier for the youngsters, bring a large map (or a smaller map book that they can more easily hold). Stickers and highlighters can be used to denote the various routes you follow during your trip.

Silence Is Worth More Than Gold

The fallback game “See Who Can Be the Quietest” should be used if all else fails. For the first time in their life, your children may appreciate the challenge of keeping silent for a long period of time. Use incentives like money (quarters, dollars), souvenirs or games from the gift shop, and a few extra minutes in the hotel pool to make awards more appealing.

It’s time to sing!

Learn a few songs that everyone can join in on. Buy or create a “round” song playlist (like “Row, Row, Row Your Boat,” “Three Blind Mice,” etc.) As well as sing-along/participation songs like “B-I N G-O” and “Old MacDonald” that everyone may join in on. Every family member should have a kazoo or toy harmonica to play along with the music.

Stories abound.

Don’t forget to bring over some of your children’s favorite books, as well as those they’ve been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to read. While the youngsters read along, you may listen in on the story. Check out the books and music at the library before you go if you don’t want to spend any money. Alternatively, bring the books and read them aloud to one another (making sure to use your best character voices, of course).

Storytelling as a team

Add one more line for each member of the family to come up with until you’re all out of ideas. Go as quickly as you can, rhyme as much as you can, and take turns out of order to really spice things up (pointing to someone new each time). Write the story down as you go, then have the kids draw pictures to go along with the story. Upon completion, you will have a one-of-a-kind family narrative.

Showcase Windows

Colorful creations and infinite games like tic-tac-toe and hangman can be made with washable window markers. So that youngsters may keep the window fun going all the way through the trip, make sure the driver’s view is not blocked with a cotton cloth or dust rag.

Wordplay

While you’re driving, have your kids jot down words they hear or see (from billboards, bumper stickers, roadside attractions and stores, license plates, signs, the sides of trucks, etc.). Gather together all the words that they observe and make a tale, poem or song. When they’re done, have them read, sing, or perform their work for the group.

Many of the arguments may be avoided, and lovely family memories are made with a little foresight and creativity.

Helpful related article: Children’s Road RulesTeen Driver’s Guide To The Laws of the RoadSmall Approaches to Dealing with Big Children’s Behavioral Issues