Are We There Yet??
By Kevin Farron
School is out, bags are packed and the sun is shining! It's time for a summer getaway! Keeping kids entertained in the car can be a hazardous headache – but, with a little planning, it can be done.
Allow more time than expected, for extra rest stops or surprise hikes. These can be as simple as lookouts or points of interest on the trip. Browse over maps to identify possible rest stops and turn the long trip in the car into more manageable short stints.
Pack plenty of healthy snacks and drinks in car-friendly-bottles (sugar and caffeine will make the time the car much worse, I promise) and throw some comfy sleeping bags and travel pillows in the back seat. Sleeping kid = happy parent.
Eye Spy Games
- License Plates! - Before you go, print off a sheet of paper with all 50 states listed (and perhaps some Canadian Provinces as well). During your adventures, have the kiddos keep their eyes peeled on the passing cars, looking for different state plates. See how many you can check off during the trip, and then keep the checklist going until they're all found! Talk about the states you find - Where are they located? How do you spell them? What are they known for? Hawaii?! How'd that get here!?
- Alphabet Game - ABCD...EF..G! Start at the beginning of the alphabet, and work your way up by spotting letters found on billboards, license plates, street names or even funny looking trees! This can be a group effort or a competition, and one that will keep the attention all the way from Main Street (A!) to the zoo (Z!).
- Car Games/Coloring Books - When it comes to car games, two things are crucial: they need to be fun and they need to be new and exciting. It’s not a bad idea to hide one or two away for the drive home. Some of our favorites are Camp and Flash of Brillance. And of course, a large selection of books is always important.
Create Fun, Memories
And finally, just before you head home from your getaway, process the pictures from the trip for one of the best car activities out there – scrapbooking! Even better, bring a few disposable cameras and let to kids shoot away during the vacation. Then, let the little photographers sort through the pics, choosing the shots they want to include. Car scrapbooking can be as simple as organizing a photo album and coloring the cover, to writing stories that go along with the pictures or, for the more advanced and patient, snipping, sticking and the whole scrapbooking shebang.
If your family prefers videos to still photos, watch them! Share some laughs and relive the good times. Just because you're in the car doesn't mean the fun is over.
With a little planning, patience and creativity, you'll never hear "are we there yet?" again. Instead, shouts from the backseat will be asking, "we're there already?!" and you’ll be thinking the very same thing.