Spring break is a high travel time for families, and many families chose to hit the road and embark on a fun family adventure through a road trip. While traveling together as a family is certainly fun, it can become very stressful for the parents, if the children become bored. Boredom in the car can lead to whining and fighting, which can be a dangerous distraction for the driver and the navigator. Planing ahead and coming up with a few creative games and activities to keep the children busy and engaged is a great idea, and can help ensure a safe, fun travel time for everyone!
Here are a few ideas for road trip activities for children...
State License Plate Game
*Print out a few sheets of all 50 state license plates, and make a little booklet (print front and back to save paper). Have crayons or colored pencils available so the kids can color in the plates, and then ask them to check off each state plate that they see. See who can find all of the state plates the fastest, and maybe even offer the winner an opportunity to choose where the family will have dinner one of the nights of the trip.
Make an I-Spy Pouch and Game
Turn a clear plastic baggy or pouch and a few tiny items into a fun I-Spy activity game for the kids! Fill a pencil pouch with a clear front with clear beads, and throw in some tiny items, like alphabet beads, mini erases, mini figures, buttons, chip board pieces, etc. You can easily find these items at a local craft store. Print off a corresponding worksheet or check list for each I-Spy pouch that you make, and give the sheet and pouch to the child (ages 4+ would be ideal). Ask the child to place a check mark next to each listed item, when they have found it in the pouch.
Keep a Surprise Bag in the Car
Buy some inexpensive (car safe) items from a $1.00 store, and wrap them up, individually, keeping them in a special surprise bag. If your children are getting along and behaving, allow them to choose a surprise from the bag every so often during your tip. It can be anything from a handheld game to a new coloring book!
Playing with paper dolls is a favorite past time for many moms, and one that can easily be shared with children today. There so so many wonderful, and completely free printable paper doll sets out there today- that range in character, for boys and girls! Print out their favorite princesses or heroes, along with some fun clothing and accessories, and they'll have all they need for hours of creative play in the car! Paper dolls are fun, mess-free, and take up very little room. You may want to keep a binder with clear plastic sleeves in the car with you, so you can keep them separated, and keep them from being damaged.
Dry Erase Board
You can easily make your own dry erase board with an inexpensive cookie sheet, or you can purchase an inexpensive board from the store. Bring along various colored dry erase markers, and have one board for each child to draw and color on, or you can have them share a board and play games like tic-tac-toe, the dot game, etc.
Pipe Cleaner Projects
One never knows what children might create with a package of pipe cleaners! Pipe cleaners are safe and fun for children to play with, and can be twisted or bent into just about anything! You can issue them creative challenges, have them make their own hats to wear while on the trip, they can make pip cleaner jewelry, etc. You might even print out some pipe cleaner project ideas for older children, so they have something to work toward for a couple of hours!
It's also a great idea to have plenty of healthy snacks with you! Create a little bento snack box for each child, according to their likes. A bento box can easily be created with a well cleaned craft organizer box. It has lots of tiny compartments that you can fill with a handful of foods, like fresh fruits or veggies, nuts (if your child doesn't have nut allergies), cheese, pita, crackers, dried fruits, etc. Make sure you have a cup for each child, or reusable water bottle that can be cleaned and re-filled, as well.
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