How to Entertain Kids on a Road Trip
Yes, you can take a road trip with kids and have it be a fun event! Don’t listen to all of the clichés about, “Are we there yet?” and the classic, “I got to potty!” Planning ahead to make sure the kids are entertained is half the battle to a pleasurable trip.
Before you even start the trip, make sure the kids know that it is going to be a long drive. Tell them, also, that it will be fun and adventurous and that they will see lots of new things. Plan for your trip to take longer than it actually should. You will have to make more frequent “potty” breaks. If you have figured that into your time schedule it is a lot less annoying when it happens…and it will happen.
Make sure that the kids are well rested before you start the trip. Tired children will become even more tired just sitting in a car. Tired means cranky!
1. Give each child a road map. Explain to them that “this is where we are and this is where we are going.” Give them a small highlighter so that they are able to track the trip. Even younger children enjoy this, with a little help. And, they don’t even realize that you are teaching them about maps and geography!
2. Discuss the scenery. If you plan to pass historical areas or interesting sites, be sure to do your homework and explain the history of the area, or tell them about the site you just passed by. Kids love to talk, and believe it or not they do love to learn new things, so long as it is interesting.
3. Stop frequently to keep them refreshed. Stop at rest areas or parks with a playground and let the kids stretch for a little while. They may whine when it is time to go, but they will have run off some energy. Don’t forget to have them mark the playground or rest area on their map. If it was a good one, you’ll know where to stop on your return trip!
4. Allow some game time. A lot of children have Nintendo DS or other small hand held electronic games. Let your children bring theirs and spend some quiet time playing a game they enjoy. Do not let them spend the entire road trip playing the same game they could play at home. They should be entertained by looking at new things that they may not get to see again.
Most of all have patience with the kids, especially if it is their first road trip. Bring some wholesome munchies for them to snack on. Even a box of dry cereal is better than feeding them candy. Candy will just give them a sugar rush and make it harder for them to sit still!