Summer vacation time is upon us. That time of year when family trips happen and lifetime memories are made. It is my favorite! However, with three kids 5 and under, we have to be prepared on long trips or the fun happy family memories can quickly become lost in the chaos. Multiple kids screaming and whining while parents pull their hair out and grind their teeth in frustration does not make for good memories. We are taking a family vacation soon that will require a long trip in the car so I have been trying to prepare myself to avoid meltdowns (or at least as many) and ensure happy memories for all. I have found that planning and organization are the key to successful happy car rides with youngsters. Today I am sharing 10 car activities that I have found from various sources. I plan to add to this list throughout the years and adapting it for our kids’ ages, but for our upcoming trip I hope this will do. Obviously I will be prepared with plenty of snacks, drinks, and movies on hand for emergencies. Let’s be real, I can’t possibly keep them all entertained the ENTIRE trip!
1. Handwriting Practice Pages
I love this idea because my kids will be doing something educational and worthwhile. Go to www.handwriting.com and you can personally design a handwriting practice page to say whatever you want. Since my girls are still little I just made them say their names. I chose to use my Scotch Thermal Laminator to laminate them so the girls could use them over and over using a dry erase marker and a cloth to wipe it off.
2. Scavenger Hunt
There are so many scavenger hunt pages out there. I used this one because it included pictures since my girls can’t read yet. I also laminated it so it could be used over and over again.
3. Interactive Gifts
I love this idea and free printable. What a fun way to keep the kids engaged on the trip. I picked up some little toys and treats at the dollar store that I plan to use this for.
4. Go Fish
I am hoping to make this super simple and fun fishing game. The fish are made out of felt with a paperclip hotglued on. The magnets are just tied and hotglued to some string. Let each kid have a string and go fishing to catch the fish on the floorboard. This would especially be a good one for us since the trip we are going on is going to involve a lot of fishing.
5. Coloring Pages
I printed some of these to take along. Of course I will be taking some regular coloring books too, but thought these were a fun and creative alternative.
6. String Car Travel
Nothing fancy, but such a great idea. Find an image of a car like yours online, print it, and hang it from a string that goes across the inside of your car. Make marks on the string for each hour passed and move the car each time. I love this to help the kids see how close you are getting to the destination.
7. Busy Packs
Everyone seems to have their own ideas and ways of making busy packs, but I liked some of the these ideas for little kids like mine.
8. DIY Magnetic Dolls
My girls love their magnetic dolls at home so I think they will equally love this.
9. Magnetic Sandpaper
Since I will already be buying a cheap cookie tray for each girl for the trip, I figured it should be put to good use. I would have never thought of the idea to put magnets on sand paper and then use yarn to stick to it. It will be another fun way to encourage the girls to practice recognizing and making their letters and/or being creative and making pictures.
10. Would You Rather Conversation Cards
Whatever happened to just good old fashioned talking on car trips. I am super excited about these free conversation cards. What a fun way to get to know each other better and have some laughs.
And just for fun there is this awesome Road Trip Questionnaire that would be great to do with older kids and/or yours spouse. Jason is going to love me pulling this out while the kids are sleeping. Even though we have known each other since we were 5, there is always more to learn or refresh on.
I will try to follow up and let you know which of these my kids actually liked, hopefully at least some keep appeal to them. Whatever travel plans you may have, just try to plan ahead as much as you can and then just go with it. In the end it will all be fine and memories will be made no matter what. Happy Trails!