Long car trips can be very tiring and stressful in and of themselves, but if you have to battle rush hour traffic or bored, screaming children in the backseat they can be downright torturous. Unfortunately, finding new ways to help your little ones stay entertained so you can concentrate on the road can be tedious, time-consuming and create a mess of your car. Before you head out for your next road trip with kids, here are a few easy ways to keep your kids entertained, your head clear and your car clean.
Books on tape:
Take your kids to the library and let them choose a book on tape. Your local library will have (or have access to) many age-appropriate books on tape for your kids. Allowing them to help choose what they want to listen to will nearly eliminate all fuss and grumbles when it’s time to pop the audio book in your vehicle’s CD player. If your family can’t agree on anything at the library, Amazon has a wide selection of books on tape here that is conveniently organized by age group.
Teach your kids the alphabet game – finding
all of the letters of the alphabet on road
signs, licenses plates and trucks – the person who reaches letter Z first reigns
supreme. You can also try 20 questions or “I Spy” for a tech-free distraction zone.
Nothing makes a road trip as fun as a good round of sing-a-long songs. Let your kids choose their favorite songs and give your vocal chords a workout. It’s not important if you are in tune or even if you get the words right! What is important is that you are spending time together and having fun as a family. You can make a game of it by encouraging the next person to choose the next song that starts with the same letter as the last letter in the last song or choose another song that has one word from the previous songs title (For example: Old McDonald had a Farm to Down on Grandpa’s Farm.)
When you are driving a particularly long time, having several activities to keep the little ones entertained will go a long way to eliminating the “Are we there yet?” complaints. A car activity organizer, like the one found here, will help keep all of your children’s activities in one place. The fun thing about this particular product is that it unzips and folds into a lap table so your kids can color or draw on a sturdy surface. Simply slip it over the back of the front seat and your kids have access to whatever games and activities you have prepared.
Portable DVD players:
If you run out of non-tech entertainment, don’t feel too guilty. Consider investing in a pair of portable DVD players for your car or van. Since this technology has been available for a few years now, the prices on these items are very reasonable (remember: silence is golden). Allow each child to choose a movie to watch before switching it off and redirecting to other activities. Bring headphones for each child and you may even be able to listen to your favorite CD once or twice during your trip!
These are just a few tried-and-true techniques to keeping your children occupied during a long car ride. If you have any other tips or tricks not mentioned, be sure to let us know down below in the comments!
Author Bio: Hank McKinsey is a lifestyle how-to blogger and SAHD located in Central California. When he’s not at his computer blogging, he can be found at the park with his two Maltese or on the tennis court with his wife. Follow him on Twitter to see what he’s up to.