By Carrie Brazeal, TSB Contributor
Are you planning a road trip this summer? If you are planning to drive to your vacation destination or if your family is taking a driving vacation, you’ll probably be spending a lot of time in your vehicle. A family road trip can be a time to bond and learn about each other’s interests and points of view. Or it can be an ordeal that tests your patience and makes you want to scream every time you hear “Are we there yet?” from your kids.
Road trips can be a fun, educational, sane experience with just a little planning, creativity and preparation. Here are some ideas for games and activities from http://kidshealth.org to get your family revved up for a trip long on smiles and memories and short on frustration.
Can-Do Cards. Don’t underestimate the power of a deck of cards. It presents endless possibilities for all ages and can provide hours of entertainment and concentration. If your kids are tired of the old standards (Go Fish, Crazy 8s and Rummy games), buy or borrow from your local library a kids’ card games book for new ideas. Or buy a deck of quiz or trivia cards to keep their brains busy. Better yet, have your children create their own card game before you leave so they can play while on the road.
Contest Craze. Hold an official family spelling bee or trivia contest using index cards to write down words or questions. Winners can earn trinkets, stickers, activity or coloring books, trading cards, or extra minutes of hotel pool time or stay-up-late time.
Good Ole Games. The traditional road trip games …20 Questions, the License Plate Game, and I Spy… can only last so long. Try the Alphabet Game where you pick a topic such as animals and a letter, then have everyone spout off animals that begin with that letter. The best thing about this game is that kids can pick a topic of interest (cars, TV characters, movies, countries, cities, food, names, etc.) and there are 26 possibilities (one for each letter) for every topic.
Journaling Jotting. Buy inexpensive but sturdy journals (or make your own) and have kids write down and describe what they see along the way. Have them collect something small (stone, seashell, flower, etc.) to glue into their journal, describing each stop and each location or landmark they pass. Bring a stack of old magazines (check out your local library for inexpensive back issues) and have kids cut out and glue pictures into their journals to illustrate some of what they’ve seen. Or have them draw illustrations. Bring your laptop and have kids log their entries each day with photos taken with your phone.
Magnetic Games. Stock up on a few inexpensive magnetic games (tic-tac-toe, checkers, etc.) at your local dollar store. You may have to teach your kids how to play!
Read. Bring a few of your child’s favorite books or those they’ve been wanting to read either in the printed version or CD. Or visit your local library to check out books and tapes. Let everyone take turns reading the stories out loud, making sure to use your best character voices.
Team Storytelling. Ask each family member to create a line for a story, then have everyone add a line until you’re all stumped. This creates a lot of laughs and giggles since the crazier you make the story line, the more fun it is.
Silence is Golden. When all else fails, use the old standby game “Who Can Be the Quietest?” See how long your family goes without talking. Make prizes worth their while such as having a special snack, having special privileges (going first in line at the next stop) or extra minutes in the hotel pool. Or give everyone the gift of quiet and let them use their electronic gadgets for a specific length of time. Just make sure that all electronics are on silent so that you can enjoy the peace and quiet.
Family vacation road trips can be the source for lots of memories. What kind of memories will your children have?