Going on road trips with kids can be somewhat interesting, messy, and hectic! It definitely takes longer than trips pre-kids but that's what makes it fun. When on a long car trip with toddlers, you should be ready for bathroom breaks and constant questions about when you are going to get to your destination. One of the best tips to make traveling in a car with kids fun is by finding engaging games and activities to pass time.
In this blog, we will highlight some of the activities for kids and travel smart tips that you need to know on family road trips to make it more fun and memorable.
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Preparing for a Road Trip with Kids
Preparation is key when it comes to road trips to ensure that you have everything that you will need in case of emergencies. You can find some of our family travel secrets here. In the meantime here are some of the tips to get you prepared for a road trip with kids are stated below.
Prepare your vehicle
Before you go on any road trips, it is best if you can schedule an appointment with your automobile technician to help check if your car is in perfect condition and to avoid breakdowns while on the road. You should also take an inventory of the items in your car to ensure they are there in case there is a problem on the road. Some of the other items that you may need in your car are:
• Antibacterial wipes
• Umbrella or rain coats
• First aid kit
• USB plugs and charging cables, etc.
Nothing makes a child more cranky on a road trip than being hungry or thirsty. With that said, it goes for parents too! This is why it is a great idea to pack snacks and lots of it to make sure there is plenty for everyone to enjoy during the drive. Just make sure to balance the healthy snacks plus the occasional sweets and stay hydrated along the way.
Some healthy options include multi-grain varieties of snacks instead of standard chips and crackers, as they are healthier and better for the kids.
Durable fruits and vegetables
Fruits and veggies are a great addition to snacks. You can pack fruits like apples, carrots, oranges, cucumbers, etc., in a cooler bag. Kids are hungry little human beings, so make sure you bring enough fruits and vegetables as healthier alternatives, as to help avoid the kids getting sick whilst on the road.
You should always bring a reusable water bottle while traveling and keep hydrated. What's cool is, you can also fill it and freeze it at night so in the morning your kids have cold water to drink during the day. As a bonus, it also keeps contents in the cooler cold.
Toys and gadgets
For a fun and less stressful trip, you need to provide simple activities for your kids to keep them occupied. Make gadgets your friend and mix it up with some games and books. Some suggestions that you can pack for your kids include coloring books, DIY cookie sheets, puzzles, crafts, and so on.
Be more lenient with your kid's screen time along the way. Load up the iPad with eBooks, audiobooks, movies, and educational games for your kids to keep them busy on the trip.
Learn about your surroundings
Learn whilst on the road. Enlighten your kids with the knowledge of where you are going and fun facts. With some planning, you will also be able to show your kids the popular landmarks along the route and help them understand how close you are to your destination. Paper maps! remember those? a great way to keep older kids occupied is by showing them where they are going on the map.
Manage Car Sickness
One of the things that you need to be prepared for when traveling with kids is sickness. Kids can be prone to car sickness especially if it's their first road trip and this can be a challenge on a long car ride. One of the great ways to prepare for this is by getting some disposable bags and stash them somewhere handy in the car. You can also pack motion sickness medication in case your kids get sick. Just a note that, motion sickness medication normally only works before they get sick and not during. Please consult your pharmacist and doctor before administering any medication.
How to Stay Organize on a Road Trip
It is a known fact that you are going to spend a lot of time in your car on a road trip. One of the great ways to make road trips comfortable and fun is to spend time setting everything up in the car before you go. You will need to make sure that you pack essential items like food, drinks, pillow, chargers, toys, and so on in a place that is easy to access. You will also want to devise a way that you can securely store those items when they are not needed as keeping things organized once on the road can be challenging. A great hack is to use car storage organizers to help keep your belongings and the kid stuff in check.
Tips on organizing your car and where to put each item
- Navigation system, map, and directions
- Cellphone or iPod with cord for music
- Medical kit in the under the front seat or center consul.
- Trash bags under the passenger's seat.
- Small towels in seat's back pockets for messes
- Food bag
- Cooler with a small towel over the top
- Kids bag, pillows, and blankets
- Toys and crafts.
- Extra food and beverages in a bag
- Optional bag for dirty laundry
- Tools and supplies for car maintenance
- Luggage (ensure that the bags with essentials are on the top and can be easily accessible).
Tips For Organizing Your Car
Here are some of the best tips for keeping your car organized:
- Be ready to make use of the space behind your car seats. You can use it to hang bags for collecting trash. Furthermore, you can use it to hold an organizer where you can keep your kid's games and toys at arm's length.
- Avoid losing spare change between seats by keeping coins in a plastic pill bottle or mint container. Furthermore, this tip will help you to prepare for any tolls that you find on your trip.
- Be ready to be creative when organizing your car with containers. One of the best ideas is to go for a container with multiple handles and compartments. You can then store and organize things like kids' toys, snacks and drinks, tissues, books, and other essential items with it.
- Bring binder clips on the trip. You can use binder clips to close chip bags, clip things to your visor, keep receipts together, and even organize cables and cords.
Keeping your Kids Occupied
Keeping kids occupied whilst on a road trip is what it's all about. Here are some of the ways that you can keep your kids busy.
Allow your toddlers to play with real toys
You will need to pack toys when going on a road trip to help keep the kids busy. Variety is your friend. Remember to pack your kids' favorite toys to help them pass time on the car trips. Some other games that you can bring include board games, coloring books, card games, tic tac toe, and so on.
Another great idea that you can do with toys is to fill a bag with small toys and allow the kids to dip into the bag every hour or every hundred miles. This not only creates excitement but enables them to play with different toys every hour.
Get your kids to read a book
One of the top activities to keep your kids occupied during a family trip is to bring interesting books. Please keep in mind that reading in a car is not suitable for kids who are prone to car sickness. Before you embark on the trip, simply pop to the library, grab some books about the great outdoors or your destination, and off you go. Books definitely still have their place compared to its cousin the eBook.
Depending on the route and destination, this is one of the all-time fun activities for kids to do during a road trip. To make it more engaging, turn it into a competition and put up a small prize to motivate your kids to participate.
Play guess your location
This is a great activity that allows kids to answer the question "are we almost there?" Make this game more interactive by printing out a map and encourage your kids to mark off the various landmarks and cities that you pass. They can also fill in the route with colored pencils as the journey continues.
Electronic games vary from small pocket digital games to full-size gaming systems installed in your vehicle. Although screen time may not be the most creative thing that your kids can do, it helps to keep them busy and sitting on the car seats. The important message here is balance.
Screens are everywhere from our cell phones to portable movie players. One of the top tips for long trips and one that kids will love is by watching educational movies, shows, or cartoons. You will be amazed by how quickly the drive time passes once you start the on-screen entertainment. As with all electronic devices and screen time and mentioned above, break screen time up with other activities.
Keep them satisfied with munchies
Hunger and boredom are your kids and your worst enemy whilst on the road. Keep their tummies and hands busy during road trips. This is why you should keep snacks such as granola bars, homemade smoothies, crackers, etc., handy and ready to serve them along the way.
Bring Kid-friendly audiobooks
You can easily keep kids happy and engaged for hours by bringing kid-friendly audiobooks to listen to on your travel. By using both visual and audio aids, helps both the visual and auditory learners. Just be prepared to play the same audiobook over and over again if your kids love it.
Promoting Good Behaviors on a Road Trip
It can be stressful having to stop a fight or argument with kids while on a road trip, hence most parents will appreciate strategies that can help them promote good behavior. Here are some of our great tips to help promote good behavior.
- Try to reward good behavior in the car. This may be that you give your kids a treat at the next rest stop or watch the favorite show for an extra 5min.
- Enforce a quiet time: One of the top things to do when on road trips is to ensure that there is a mandated quiet time or rest time. During this period, everybody stops talking and the radio is switched off. You can easily time this period to your kid's regular nap time. Having a quiet time helps to reset everyone's energy for the rest of the trip.
Unique Rest Stops
There is a need for rest stops during long road trip activities with family. This helps everybody on the trip to cool off and burn some energy. Some of the places where you can take a rest stop while traveling are stated below.
Take a break at the grocery store
How about a stop at the grocery store! This allows everyone to stretch their legs as they walk up and down the aisles and pick their favorite snack for the road.
You will be amazed by what 20 minutes of play at the playground can do for the body and mind of your kids on a long road trip. There are lots of applications that you can use to find playgrounds that are along your route. Some playgrounds are totally awesome so be sure to check them out.
Sightseeing at roadside attractions
Try to track down gems of roadside attractions where you can. You will be surprised at what you find. Stretch your leg and burn some calories. Don't get bend on making it to your next marker but enjoy the attractions along the way.
Finding Unique Road Trip Stops
There are several ways that you can find a unique attraction whilst on a road trip. Here are some suggestions.
- Before your trip, Google search for what is around the route that you are taking. You can then use this to plan where you want to stop.
- You can also check out websites such as Roadtrippers to determine the types of activities for kids that are along your route. On the website, you will see every interstate rest area that is available.
- Use your phone's map feature to check for rest areas that are available on your route.
Have Awesome Fun
Road trips offer a mind-blowing opportunity to create memories that will stay with your kids for a lifetime. It's not only the destination but the activities, road stops, games, and family moments that you have on the drive that makes a road trip unique.
Whether you are going on a short trip to see family or just exploring the interstates, take a deep breath and enjoy your journey.
Have a wonderful day wherever you are and safe travels.