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Tips and tricks to keep the kids active and occupied!. Travelling with your kids is entertaining, rewarding…and sometimes tiring. Especially if your type of vacation involves a few hours in the car. With a little planning, you can focus on the fun part of family road trips! Remember the following tips and tricks next time you’re travelling to avoid the dreaded whines of “I’m bored,” and “are we there yet?”
Pack a lot of snacks
Hangry is a real emotion, and it’s not fun being on the receiving end when it strikes. Admit it! We are all guilty of lashing out from hanger at some point or another. Keep your kids happy on the road by packing lots of healthy snacks. Avoid sugary treats wherever possible—unless you like hyper kiddos bouncing around in the back seat.
To pack smart, pack as if each kid needs a carry on for a flight. Minimize time spent digging through the trunk by keeping their toys, snacks, and extra layers with them in their seats.
Schedule lots of stops
Don’t overestimate the amount of time your kids can last between rest stops. Between bathroom breaks and ants in their pants, you’re going to have to stop a lot.
Make the most of rest stops by creating an active game to play in 5 or 10 minutes while the car is parked. Jumping jacks, quick races—anything that will simultaneously let them stretch their legs and tire them out.
Give them a camera
Maybe keep your DSLR with the adults, but give the kids a disposable camera to use on your road trip. Teach them how to take a proper photo, and explain that they should save their film for the best shots. Take photos at pit stops along the way. One of your kids might have an eye for it!
Ride in the back seat
Sometimes all your kids need is a little bit of quality time. If you’re in the car for a long road trip anyways, why not hang out in the back seat with them? Parents can take turns between driving and playing.
The classic road trip staple: books. All kinds of books. Go to the library a couple days before heading out and let your kids choose a couple books to bring with them. The activity of choosing for themselves will make finishing their book feel that much more rewarding.
If your kids are old enough to listen along with interest, buy a few audiobooks for the drive. Let them help choose the stories, so they are more likely to be engaged.
Encourage your kids to write about your road trip. Learning to journal from a young age improves their writing, reading, and comprehension skills, as well as increases their personal awareness. Plus, it will be fun for them to look at the stories they’ve written about their travels as they age.
Let them navigate
Well—sort of. Keep the map and GPS with you, but print out kid-sized maps so they can follow along. With the inclusion of GPS on smart phones these days, learning to read a map is a long lost art. It’s a skill that they could benefit from one day! If they’re old enough, have them read road signs or find pre-scheduled pit stops along the way.
If they try whining “are we there yet?” remind them of their personal map!
Some parents might shy away from colouring books in the car because markers can wreck havoc on interiors and windows. Pencil crayons, however, are much less destructive. Plus, they don’t melt like standard crayons—your kids would have to try to make a pencil crayon stain. In a pinch, print out colouring book pages from online before you leave.
Pipe cleaner crafts
Crafts are usually worse than colouring books when it comes to road trip activities, but some kids need to keep their hands busy. Skip the glue with a package of pipe cleaners. Let the little ones use their imaginations with little to no mess in your car!
Quiz the kids on your family’s history to pass the time on the road. Family trivia questions engage both kids and adults, and teaches the younger ones about their relatives.
Are you planning a road trip with the kids? With a bit of planning, they will be active and occupied the whole ride. Let us know what tricks you use to keep the kiddos busy!
This post was originally posted at GoRVing.ca.