Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Road trips galore

We all know that summer means school is out and vacation is in. Chances are with a growing family, road trips are the number one option. Sometimes, road trips aren't the easiest on a little family, but here are some way to stay entertained and bust the boredom from state line to state line.

We traveled to a lot of basketball tournaments growing up, and with 5 little ones in the car, my mom did the best she could to keep us entertained. My favorite activity was trying to get the semi trucks to honk on the freeway. If you are sitting by the window, all you have to do is put your arm up, elbow at a 90 degree angle, and move it up and down, from sky to floor. That is the international symbol for semi truck horn honking, I guess. (Or my mom was very good at convincing us to do silly things). For every semi that we got to honk during the day, we received 5 cents, and at night if we got them to honk, we received a quarter! Once we reached our destination, we had money to spend! (Even if it was only enough for one gumball). Chances are, you were going to buy that gumball anyway- this way they "earned" it, all while deterring boredom in the car.

We'll get you started with a couple more ideas and you can take it from there. Every family is different and each child enjoys something new and exciting. Lucky for you, there are plenty of hours within road trips to find the perfect cure for the road trip blues.

  • Map Quest

Bring a large map (or smaller map book that little hands can better handle) just for the kids. Have them use stickers and highlighters to mark each road you take on your journey.
  • Team Storytelling

Ask each family member to create a line for a story (e.g.,"There once was a boy name Hugh..."), then have everyone add a line until you're all stumped ("who lived in the town's biggest zoo" ... "he often had nothing to do" ... "so he decided to make an igloo" ... "with a big polar bear named Sue"...).

To make things really interesting, go as fast as you can, rhyme as much as possible, and take turns out of order (pointing to someone new each time). Write down the story as you go, then have kids create drawings to coordinate with your silly tale. When you're done, you'll have your own custom-made family story.
  •  Road Trip Box

Find a sturdy cardboard box or hat box (one for each child) and paint the top with chalkboard paint (black or green). Stock the box with tons of handy-dandy arts and crafts items and playthings: chalk, chalkboard eraser, washable markers, crayons, pocket-sized coloring books, colored pencils, scrap paper, mini dry erase board, dry erase marker and cloth eraser, construction paper, stickers, stencils, colored pipe cleaners, Popsicle sticks, tape, colored tape, mini pom-poms, child-safe scissors, hole puncher, yarn, and small dolls or action figures.

Long road trips are a great time to put kids' imaginations to the test to create puppets, masks, journals, and more.

Still bored? More ideas can be found on kidshealth.org

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