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  • Road Trip Games

    As a kid growing up, I can remember the many miles I spent sitting in the back seat with my siblings on yet another road trip. We played many imaginative games such as the ones listed below. Our old station wagon was not equipped with an audio/video entertainment package as some new cars are today, so we had to be creative when it came to making our long family car trips more bearable.

    Now that family vehicles often come fully equipped with DVD players and headphones, you'll still need to supply other games and snacks to keep kids entertained on a long car trip.

    I have fond memories of the trips I took with my family. Road trips can be a great way for families to connect with each other and have a great time. Here are some great tips and ideas to help make your road trip a memorable one for your whole family.

    Plan Activities Ahead

    When you are planning a road trip that will involve the kids, you'll need to plan their activities ahead of time. Estimate the number of hours they will be in the car, and according to their age group and their temperament, schedule rest stops so that they will have frequent opportunities to get up and stretch their legs to expend that excess energy, eat, and use the restroom at frequent intervals throughout the trip.

    Road Snacks

    Having a variety of good snacks to eat while riding in the car helps the time to pass by more quickly. When choosing road snacks don't pack anything that will be messy, sticky, or stain their clothes or the upholstery in the back seat. Dry cereal snack mixes, crackers, fresh or dried cut-up fruit, and juice in boxes or sealed sipping cups are good options. Bring snacks out at varying intervals, and try offering the kids special snacks that they don't usually get at home.

    Amusement Bags

    You know your children and what activities they enjoy. Prepare a bag for each child that contains things like coloring books, crayons, stickers, a favorite doll or action figure; any toys that do not contain small pieces that will get lost in the seats. If your kids use hand-held electronic games, make sure to have plenty of spare batteries in the car.

    Small Surprises at Planned Intervals

    In addition to the individual bags for each child, the adults on board need to be prepared to be able to deal with outbursts of, "I'm bored!" You could keep a bag with new coloring books, small, inexpensive toys, or a new deck of cards set aside ready to be pulled out when the items they have are no longer amusing them.

    Music Helps Soothe...

    Before your trip, burn some custom CDs with your kids' favorite songs that you can play either on their personal CD players or on the car's stereo. Storybooks on CD are a great diversion, as well. A road trip is an excellent opportunity to buy a few new DVDs that they have not yet seen. Because kids love repetition, be sure to also bring along their old favorite DVDs as well.

    Make up a list of familiar songs to sing with them, have them teach you some new songs that they have learned from school, and learn some new songs together.

    Games to Get You Going

    Here are a few easy games that you can play out loud with older kids and even other playful adults.

    I Spy

    I Spy is an easy game that requires no pieces or special equipment. One person looks around and finds a fixed object that everyone playing the game can see. Then they say, "I spy with my little eye something that is. . ." and then they go on to give a clue about the appearance of the object. The other players can ask questions about the object until someone guesses the correct answer. The one making the correct guess then chooses the next object.

    Twenty Questions

    Twenty Questions is another guessing game where one person thinks of a well-known person, place or thing. Each player gets to ask 20 yes or no questions in order to get clues to discover who or what the thing is. The person who correctly guesses the answer leads the next round of the game.

    License Plate ID

    For this game, players try to see how many license plates from different states they can identify.

    I am Going on a Journey

    This is a memory game. The leader of this game starts off by saying, "I am going on a journey and I am bringing with me a (blank)." They then describe an object that begins with the letter A. The next person must repeat what the first person said and then must add an object that begins with the letter B, and so on. Subsequent players must remember all of the objects in alphabetical order.

    Variety is the Key

    Having a variety of novel activities is the key to help keep kids engaged and entertained while they are strapped in to their seat belts on a long road trip. Tailor the planned activities to your childrens' interests; make sure you have lots of good snacks; and maintain a flexible attitude; and your road trip should be a fun success.

    Other Resources:

    Moms Mini-van

    This website is a great resource for planning a road trip with kids. It has ideas to keep babies, toddlers and young kids occupied and entertained with printable games, and articles.

    About.coms Travel With Kids

    This website has lots of resources and ideas for families who travel with their kids. You'll find printable games to take along to make your trip more fun.

    Planning Your Getaway, will help you plan your road trip.

    Roadside Attractions, is an article with lots of information and ideas about making the most of those stops along the road.

    Saving Money on the Road, is an article with useful tips and resources for making your road trip as economical as possible.

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