Monday, June 14, 2010

Road Trip Ideas!

Thanks so much for all of the road trip ideas you sent it!! I've had fun looking through them and preparing things for our own road trip that is fast approaching!

Now, let the ideas begin!!

* Angie shared about Family Fun's website, when I typed in "in the car" it resulted in 139 matches. I thought the most unique was Radio Bingo - never heard of it! She also mentioned metal cookie sheets being used as trays for stickers and magnets, DVD's from the library and a beach ball for quick activity at rest stops!

* Jenny mentioned one of my favorite things - car bingo! I've played with cards found at the store and we've made our own. Either is fun!

* Jolene shared about the alphabet game! Everyone starts with the letter A and has to find a word (outside of the car) that has that letter in it (no two person can use the same letter - gotta find your own billboard!). The first person to get to the letter Z wins!

* Lindsey links a whole bunch of ideas she shared on her blog! You'll want to check out her snack and activity ideas and see how she made a car organizer from an old shirt and skirt!

* Venessa suggested taking an empty water bottle and putting random trinket toys inside, then fill with rice or beans. They will have to shake the bottles to find the hidden treasures. She noted that it helps to make a master list for yourself in case you forget what all you put in it. Then you can say - who can find the penny first, etc..

* Ami's idea is great for children like her son who love maps! Provide a map with a list of towns you will be passing through - let them find them and see how far you've gone!

* Nancy suggested making your own sewing cards out of old cereal boxes. Cut cardboard into desired shapes and punch holes around the edges. Use an old shoelace or piece of yarn to "sew" around the edges!

Her second idea was something I had not thought of: 2nd. In the die cutting machine area of craft stores they sell colored vinyl that you cut, in a roll, that clings. You can cut a doll body and different clothes and the children can cling these pieces on the car or airplane window. You can also cut out some grass along with flowers and simple vegetables like carrots out of the vinyl and the kids can design their own garden on the car window. That sounds fun! All three of mine do not get the privilege of being near a window - but this still sounds fun!

* Becky contributed a great idea of creating State Bags. As they enter each new state, she provides her children with a paper bag that has something interesting in it - might be a page of stickers, a ring pop or small happy meal toy. She mentioned that she also makes binders with age appropriate activities like coloring pages, games and holiday activities.

* Michelle suggested going to the Dollar Store and getting a bag of small goodies for your children. She wraps these up and allows her children to unwrap one thing each hour! She also mentioned that she told her children they had to stay in their seats and play quietly while they were driving to receive the goodies. I imagine they would really look forward to opening those goodies!

* Elizabeth just did a 4000 mile road trip with her nine children - and survived! Here are her ideas:

1. Use Books on CD - I recently went to our local library and picked up a batch of these for our upcoming trip! This will be the first time my three have listened to books like that and I'm hoping it will provide some fun in the car too!

2. Assign seats. Helps eliminate all the bickering and complaining about who is going to sit where. I was glad to read this one - because I had contemplated the idea of letting mine switch around (something we've never done) but nope, the notion is out of my head after reading Elizabeth's thoughts!

3. Special car trip toys. She keeps a special box of toys stashed away that are only for use on car trips. These are things specially made for trips...those bingo games with the little red windows you close, magnetic travel puzzles and games, etc. But they also have things that work well in the car...magnadoodles, wikkisticks, clipboards with pens and paper, etc. When the majority of the children were smaller she would also purchase a bunch of carnival-style prizes to have on hand and dole them out over the course of the trip whenever she sensed meltdowns were approaching. My mom did this too - the thing I always looked forward to playing with was a little puppet - I would do all kinds of little puppet shows out the window to cars passing by!

4. Music: I loved her point that not a lot of families might sing together anymore! I have a list of fun songs printed out to sing in addition to music we'll bring along with us.

5. Breaks. She suggests slightly longer, but less frequent stops. They try to find a place where everyone can run around when we do stop and often throw balls and Frisbees in the car to play with.

6. Remember to make memories: I often do what she suggested which is try to think about how my children will remember something; creating happy memories is one of my goals in life!

7. Stock up on snacks and drinks! Having your own on hand is definitely a cost savings - and choosing things you would not normally buy makes them more special and fun!

* Amy remembered my other favorite thing - I love playing the license plate game! Our children aren't old enough to play yet - but David and I always do! I start with a list of all 50 states and the race to win is on!

* Heather had the fun suggestion of printing small thumbnail-sized pictures of family members' faces on sticker paper, then bringing along magazines to stick them onto. You can get really zany using all the pictures in a magazine; for instance, making Papa swim in a fishbowl or having Mama's face on an animal's body!

And, here are a few more things I came across in gathering ideas:

* I stumbled upon a website called Mom's Minivan - it is LOADED with tons of car ideas! I love that is has lots of printable games and she suggests putting your bingo cards into a small Ziploc bag and using a dry erase marker! Great idea!

* These are great state coloring pages! I printed off one of each state we'd be driving through (NINE!) and put them between two pieces of construction paper to make a little coloring book. In the front, I also added a US coloring page so they color the small space of each state we'd been through and see how far we're going!

* I was recently in a Cracker Barrel and noticed they had a whole table display of travel activities and games! Most of them were too advanced for our age travelers, but still - could be a great resource!

* My mother-in-law found this at Tuesday Morning! It has memory games and scavenger hunt games to play - a fun find for just a few dollars!

* Our fun snacks include things like box drinks and fruit snacks that I would not normally buy!

My plan is to kind of introduce something fun each hour. Whether that be a snack, singing songs or listening to books on CD. I do have a very few small trinket things for them to open - maybe one or two per day (we'll be on the road for three full days), we have a couple of new movies to watch, etc... Then, I will collect the game, activity or supplies and we'll put it away until another time.

We plan to start each day with God as well - reading a Bible story or having a very simple devotional and working on memorizing a passage of Scripture as a family. Saying it once every time we get back in the car would take only moments and be a great way to get it firmly planted into our hearts and minds!

By introducing fun things to do consistently like that I'm hoping we can keep things fun and interesting without too much of this:

Ha! Yes, of course - it will still happen! But, I feel armed with a great treasure of ideas to make our time fun. Happy Road Tripping!


~katie~ said...


After we left for our trip, I thought this very topic would have made for a great blog post to help us along our road trip! Yay! I'm so glad you posted this ~ I'll bookmark it for future ones! :-) What great ideas and responses! We did listen to a lot of Jonathan Park CDs on this latest road trip, and the family was asking for more! I'm sure your road trip will be so fun! I love that you will start each day with a simple devotional too! Will be praying for a safe and blessed journey ~


Catherine said...

That's so helpful Monica - thank you for taking the time to compile all of those great ideas!

Mom said...

Great post and lots of good ideas! Sounds like you are well-prepared for your upcoming road trip. :) I'll have a few new things awaiting on this end for the trip home. Can't wait to see you and will be praying for your safe travel! Love you, Mom

Wendi said...

We leave on our trip for SC next Friday. I can't wait to work some of these ideas into our trip!

Debra said...

Thanks Monica. We are traveling across Nevada this summer - probably the most boring drive on earth - so these ideas will come in handy. Hope you have a wonderful trip!

asnipofgoodness said...

Wow, so many great ideas!

Debbie Fisher (debbiedee) said...

I'm going to share one of my favorite memories of travelling with my grandparents every summer.

They hauled cattle to sell every summer in an old truck and it was several hours away from where they lived and would take 3 or 4 trips every summer.

They took turns taking two of their grandchildren at a time. She had a large bag full of goodies for each town that we passed thru. Might be a little sweet treat, a picture to color or draw. Or when it was going to be a long stretch before towns, she would bring a book to read us or as we were older to read to our younger siblings/cousins. She even made up games for us to play along the way as well as "I Spy" and finding letters of the alphabet in road signs.

Mid point where they would stop to refuel, we always got an ice cream cone.

My grandparents have passed away, but I used that same idea when we traveled with our children and still do today even though they are older. I will always treasure these memories and hope my boys will too.

Bevy @ Treasured Up and Pondered said...

This is phenomenal!!

If you don't mind... I'll be bookmarking this page for *near* future referance.


Ami said...

I think you're really going to love books on CD!

One other thing you might consider is eating in the van. We figure our vehicle is going to get really messy anyway, so we eat our meals in there. That way when we stop to refuel and go to the bathroom, the kids can actually run around and play. Then when we get back in we eat and that usually burns up at least a half-hour of driving pretty happily!

Good luck!

*carrie* said...

Thanks for compiling all these ideas, Monica! Timely inspiration for us as well. =)

I hadn't thought of Eric and I playing the license plate game, though I always enjoyed that on our family trips.

Unknown said...

You have a great list going here! I'll be adding a few of the ideas to my own stash of travel games.
We do a lot of long drives to see family. My kids get carsick if they try to read, watch tv or play video games while on the road, so we've had to find other solutions. When we started these trips I had a preschooler and one in early-elementary so the license plate game and some of the Bingo games were too difficult or required a longer attention span than my kids' had... Over time we put together a small backpack for the trips. Favorites in it include puppets (both finger puppets and regular hand puppets) and regular spoons. The kids love trying to see if they can get the spoon to hang on their nose. We also have several bright bandanas in there. It is amazing the creative things the kids will do with just a few versatile objects. Even now at 10 & 13, they still play puppets and make weird use of the bandanas. Anything to pass the time, right?

Elise said...

Wow, you have quite a list here. Hope you have a safe, fun trip!!

becka said...

One year when our children were small I gave each one a roll of nickels at the start of the 700 mile trip. The idea was if they misbehaved, whined, bothered each other (you name it) they had to give me a nickel. After a couple of hours my son who was about five then handed me the remains of his roll of nickels and said, here Mom, just take it! His sister did a bit better with that concept. :)

~katie~ said...

Oh one more thing...this site sounds like it would be *right up your alley* whether now or in the years to come... :-)

Some homeschool moms referred me to it, and I've heard lots of good things about it! May be worth checking out, not just for road trips either. Just wanted to share!