When I was a kid we went on long trips as a family that after awhile led to comments from siblings like, “don’t cross this line” or a dad who said, “Do you want me to stop this car?”. Once those comments were said you were pretty sure the family excitement about a fun vacation was over.
Today many vehicles are equipped with DVD players, or families can bring along a portable DVD player. They are great tools for long trips, but do you want your kids to miss all the sites along the way? We took a road trip from Portland, OR to Phoenix, AZ. There are many of those miles that are just boring and plain, but there are several places that you just need to take in the view. We planned our trip around some significant landmarks and mapped out reasonable drive distances for us (8-10 hrs per day). We took the standard fuel/meal breaks too.
We limited DVD/electronic gadget time to evening hours or long boring stretches of highway. We did allow some texting to friends and family, but the remainder of the time we tried to engage their minds with questions about our surroundings or state facts. We would pull up state trivia pages on the cell phone and and award points that would lead to a prize at the end of the day. Our kids got into this I’m not sure if it was the competitive nature of boys or just a fun way to pass the time. We also played the standard alphabet games using signs along the road. Besides that we had car seat totes equipped with travel versions of games like Othello, battleship, and decks of cards. We even through in math and spelling card too. Of course answers to these also counted toward the end of the day prize, which ended up being a special dessert or candy. These totes were changed around each day to keep the games fresh and fun for the kids. I never once heard the comments I did when I was growing up, and I never threatened to stop the car. A little pre-trip prep can help your kids engage in their surrounding, and make for some great memories later.
What have you done that has worked on a long trip with kids besides movies?