Friday, May 25, 2012

Keeping Kids Entertained On Long Car Trips


“He put gum in my hair!”
"Are we there yet?”
"Mom! He's touching me!" 
"She's breathing my air!"

Okay, maybe the last one is a bit silly, but you get the idea. Long car trips with children can be rather taxing on your sanity. Even if your kids are normally good and get along with each other, the frustration and boredom of having to sit in the same place for hours on end can make them restless. Restless siblings often fight, making you wish you'd brought more pairs of earplugs. How can you keep them entertained in situations like this? Here are a few ideas.

If your children have iPods or other audio-listening devices, consider audio books. There is an app called Tales2Go that allows your children to choose from thousands of stories and novels they can stream from anywhere. It's a subscription-based service, but you will definitely get your money's worth. Also, iTunes offers several audiobooks and podcasts your children can listen to on their own without disturbing anyone else. There are also plenty of kid-friendly mix CDs out there that have songs you can all sing along with and not want to pull your hair out within five minutes! Veggie Tales or KidsBop beat Barney any day of the week!

Remember those activity books or 'Fun Pads' we had when we were kids? They're still out there, and they're still a great way to keep kids entertained. These might be more appropriate for older children who can read, but there are still quite a few out there that have pictures to color or easy puzzles like 'connect the dots'. Better yet, make puzzles yourself or have kids create puzzles and pictures for each other. My sister used to draw color-by-number pictures for me when I was little. It can also be fun to start a drawing and pass it around the car, with each person adding to it along the way. If nothing else, you'll have an interesting picture at the end of the day!

Bring some crayons and paper and ask your kids to draw various things for you. If you're going to a big vacation spot such as Disney or the Grand Canyon, have them draw you a picture of something they want to do when you get there. If you're going to visit relatives, have the kids draw pictures to give to them. If you bring Post-its or other 'sticky' notes, they can 'display' their art on the windows or in different parts of the car.

If all else fails, there are always searching games. Pick a color and have them call out what they see in that color, scoring points. Better yet, have them look for out-of-state license plates, and give whoever finds the most some sort of treat. We always had fun with this, with extra points given for Canadian plates.

Hopefully now you have an idea of how you can keep your kids entertained on long car trips. Have a good vacation!

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