The holidays are stressful as it is. Throw in a road trip with kids amped up on the holiday spirit and you just might be ready to pull out your hair. Whether you’re planning on driving a couple of hours or a couple of days, you can survive the journey and come out ready for celebrating the holidays with just a little preparation. Try these tips to keep the kids entertained and yourself sane during this year’s holiday road trip.
Pack Plenty of Snacks
Hungry kids are whiny kids, and really, what adult doesn’t get a little irritable when hungry? Be sure to pack some healthy snacks for the kids to help keep them satiated in between meal stops. Pack things like water, crackers and peanut butter, precut fruit and veggies. Make the snacks a little festive and fun for your kids by adding a holiday spin. For instance, use cookie cutters to cut sandwiches into holiday shapes or draw a snowman on a bottle of milk.
Plan Fun Pit Stops
Even adults can get tired and bored on a long road trip. Liven things up and give everyone time to stretch their legs and burn off some energy with fun pit stops. Keep in mind, the pit stops don’t have to be extravagant or cost any money. You could simply stop at a park or roadside attraction. The key is to look up your route ahead of time and find things to do along the way. Let your children be involved in picking out places to stop so they have something to look forward to throughout the long drive.
Let Kids Pack Their Own Suitcase
Encourage your children’s enthusiasm for your trip by letting them pack their own suitcase. Letting your kids pack their own clothes and some toys can help them feel more involved with the trip and get them excited for the big day. When it comes to bringing toys, many kids will want to bring the whole toy box. Help limit the number of toys they bring by giving them a small plastic shoebox or container to fill with their favorite toys. In addition to packing some toys, you can keep your kids entertained by scheduling some fun activities throughout the day. This way, you can give your kids a routine while on the road and give them something to look forward to. Consider activities like:
- Travel Games or Puzzles
Travel games are great for keeping kids entertained during long road trips. This Stinky Pig Game plays like “hot potato” but with a stinky pig. Yes, it’s a bit crude but it’s a guaranteed laugh for kids of all ages. For those traveling with one child, or kids who don’t play so well together, puzzles are a perfect option. There are many different types of puzzles, from jigsaw to mind puzzles, sure to please any bored kid. Travel Tangoes comes with magnetic pieces to create different shapes based on an included book of puzzles and will occupy kids for hours.
2. Stream Movies or TV Shows
Bring a tablet or an iPhone 7 along and let your kids stream their favorite movies or TV shows. Data usage is often a concern when streaming, but it doesn’t have to be. Carriers like T-Mobile now offer their “Binge-On” program, so your kid can stream hours of kid-friendly movies and TV shows without eating into any of your data.
3. Play Classic Road Games
Distract antsy children with a game of the old classic “I Spy” or try playing “I’m Going on a Picnic.” To play the game, players take turns saying “I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing…” The first person picks something that starts with “A” and the next person repeats the item and adds something starting with the next letter of the alphabet and so on.
4. Listen to Books on Tape
Find your children’s favorite books on tape either at your local library, bookstore, or download to your mobile device and use the Audible app. You can get the whole Harry Potter series on Audible for hours of magical fun.
5. Have a Sing-along
Bring some family friendly CDs or make a playlist together to listen to during the drive. Let your kids pick out some of their favorite songs and albums and have a sing-along while you hit the road.
Keeping kids entertained during your road trip will help you make it “over the river and through the woods” this holiday season. Good luck and happy holidays!