By: Gabriella Dill
Driving is one of the best ways to get from place to place. While a plane may be faster in some cases, driving has so many benefits. You can pack as much as you want, you can go on your own time, you can bring all the snacks, and you can see more of the world around you! Driving yourself also means you can bring your kids with ease instead of having to worry about all the extra hassle of TSA. iPads, iPhones, and other technology have taken over the younger generation’s free time. Road trips are a great opportunity to spend quality time with your children and get them away from the screen. Here are some fun games to play and road trip tips to ensure your drive zooms by smoothly!
- Pack extras! Snacks, games, hand wipes, water. Kids can be unpredictable so be sure to pack a few extras of everything you may need. If you have multiple children it can be fun to make goodie bags for each of them with their favorite things. You can easily go to the dollar store to get a few little games, stickers, coloring books, glow sticks, and candy to put together. Also be sure to have a first aid box in your car at all times so you can fix any boo-boos your kids may get.
- The Alphabet Game – The alphabet game is fun for all ages and encourages your kids to look out the window and enjoy what’s around them.
How to Play: Starting with the letter “A” you must find signs and/or stores starting with each letter until you get to “Z”. You can take turns so each person has a letter or it’s a free-for-all and be the first to find it. License plates don’t count. For example: you may see a sign that says, “Alabama,” then you need to find “B” and you see something that says, “beach” etc.
- Alphabet Categories Game – This is different to The Alphabet Game. This game requires a little more thought.
How to Play: First, pick a category. It can be food, animals, places etc. and from A-Z you have to think of a word to go with it. For example, if the category was animals: A – Armadillo, B – Baboon, C – Cat… until you get to Z!
- Pencil Pouch/Liter Bottle I Spy – You can use a pencil pouch with a clear front or a liter drink bottle – really anything clear will work (mayonnaise, peanut butter jars, etc.). Before you leave you can make an I Spy game! Get some small toys, beads, buttons, other small objects – you can find some at the dollar store or even around the house, and make a list or take a picture of all the objects you’ve gathered. Fill your clear container with poly pellets and all your objects. There are more detailed instructions on how to make it here.
How to Play: Use your list or picture and start looking in your clear container for each item. You win once you’ve found all the hidden objects!
- Opposite I Spy – You’re probably heard of regular I Spy where you look for something that you can see at that moment. Opposite I Spy gets kids to think outside of the box and look at their surroundings. In this game everyone has a chance to do the “spying.”
How to Play: Each person picks something that you need to “spy.” Unlike regular I Spy you don’t need to see this thing right now. For example, “I spy a man with a mustache” or “I spy a dog.” Then everyone in the car gets to look for those things. Including the person who picked it! You get a point for each thing that you find first.
- The Story Game – This is a fun game that gets creativity flowing and it’s super simple.
How to Play: One person starts the game with a sentence, and the next person adds to the story. You keep taking turns until you have a long funny story. To make it harder – you have to repeat the previous sentences before adding yours so you can hear the whole story!
- Would you Rather – Kids LOVE this game! You can get creative and it potentially starts great conversations with your children when you ask why one thing was chosen over the other.
How to Play: You say two options and everyone has to say which one they would rather pick. Sounds simple right? For example: Would you rather travel to Paris or Egypt? Or you can get crazy with questions like, would you rather eat 10 dead flies or not shower for a month?
- Audio Books – A lot of children get sick when they read or watch things in a moving car. Audio books solve that problem since you can listen to the stories. They can be found at your local library, bookstore, or on the app Audible which you can download straight to your phone or other device.
- Road Trip Notebook/Scrapbook – Give each child a notebook or sketchbook so they can draw what they are seeing on their trip. They can even collect things (postcards, flattened pennies, etc.) from stops and stick them into the book. At the end of the trip you already have a memory book that you can now add pictures to if you’d like!
- Have a Conversation! This idea may sound crazy in the age of technology, but it’s so important for kids and parents to have open communication. Take your road trip as an opportunity to talk to your kids about their life. This is a great list of questions you can ask your kids to get them talking. Here’s another list of some more questions to ask your children. All of these can spark conversations that help you to really learn more about your children and share your wisdom with them. These conversations can be deep and thoughtful, or fun and light but make sure you don’t turn it into a lecture.
Road trips can be long but they are so fun and a great way to spend time with your children. They grow up quickly so take advantage of this family time. These tips and ideas will make the car time more fun for everyone! Drive safely and enjoy!