Tonight I ran into a young mom of 3 who is taking a short
road trip this week (3 or 4 hrs. one way). She was stocking
up on things to entertain & feed the kids....
and I found myself spouting off several ideas off the top
of my head. She said, "If you have anymore
ideas, please let me know."
So I am listing ideas for her....
and any of the rest of you that can benefit from these ideas, too.
1. Take toys that they haven't played with in a while- they'll seem new
2. Keep toys & snacks outa sight. Bring out something new every hour
or so... as needed
3. Pipe cleaners are fun. Kids can make creatures, things they see out
the window, etc... (the ends are a little sharp, so not a good idea for
really young children)
4. Even regular snacks can seen new & exciting if put into tiny baggies,
or grouped together in a different way.
Example: Raisins & Cheerios put in a baggie & tied w/cute ribbon.
5. Get some new kids music! It's worth the money... and keeps
you from wanting to poke snack food in your ears!!
6. Listen to adult music sometimes, too. (Hey, kids aren't the only
ones in the car!... and you're the boss!)
7. Tell silly stories. Start one & then pass it on to the next child
and they add more & so on.
8. Play the "I'm thinking of something ___" Game (It's like "I Spy" but
you're thinking of it instead of seeing it, since scenery is changing)
9. Play Word Association games. Take turns saying a random word.
Then everyone in the car has to say the first thing that comes to
their minds. (My oldest daughter used to say, "fun" after everything...)
Use various themes: places, people, famous people, Bible People, etc
10. Play "Alphabet Game." Look for A on a sign, then B, etc... you can
play as a group or by yourself & try to find all the letters before everyone
else finds them.
11. Younger kids often enjoy the "Category Game". Ask them to look
for things that are Green, then old, then things with letters on them,
things that move, things that have food on them, barns, flowers, etc...
12. Ping-Pong (or Round the World) is taking turns around the car
saying something you all know. Example: Books of the Bible, 1st
person says "Genesis", 2nd person says, "Exodus" and so on.
Other ideas: Bible memory verses, song lyrics, etc...
13. License Plate game: keeping a list of all the states you see on
cars & trucks.
14. Schedule. Give kids a verbal list of the next 2 or 3 things happening
next. Example: "We're gunna go through 2 more towns & then we'll stop."
or "We're gunna listen to some music, then have a snack, then stop & run."
15. Stay calm. Crying kids can work up serious stress in no time.
(To my knowledge, no one has been seriously screwed up from sitting
in a car seat for a while, even when crying. )
16. Be in charge! You ARE the adult & you don't have to turn around
every time someone wants you to (keep your eyes on the road)!
You don't have to turn music up or down every time someone asks.
17. Pull over. When all craziness and/or crying & screaming
has taken over... don't try the "reach behind you & swatch the kids."
It usually only take ONE time for me to pull off the road
(or take the next exit), take my "unruly" child out of the car & administer
some tough love... then the remainder of the trip goes well & the
children are happier & I am still sane! "
18. Talk. Take advantage of the this uninterrupted time by turning
off the music and talking... (see #9 for great conversation starter...
just don't TELL then you're trying to "have a talking time now!")
19. Check out MomsMiniVan.com
20. Make memories! Remember that even the craziest roadtrip
will someday be a funny memory & a great story to tell....
so enjoy it all. Laughing now is even better than waiting til later!
Example: When my oldest daughter was a year old she
hated the car seat & proceeded to scream all the way to the airport
from Canton, Ohio to Cleveland...
the ONLY thing that made her stop crying was me...
hanging a baby blanket across the front seats
to create a puppet stage & then holding my right hand in a painfully
awkward angle to do puppet shows. When my hand cramped up
& I would shop & she'd scream bloody murder.
When the hand puppet (literally) reappeared she stop screaming!
In hindsight, some screaming may have been less painful for me,
but hey, I was a first-time parent then.
Happy Summer Travels!