“Are we there yet?”
That classic refrain is not something that you want to hear over and over again if you’re in the car for any extended period of time with young kids. We’ve put together these 4 ways to keep kids entertained the old fashioned way—no gadgets involved!
1) Give them a Map!
Print off a map of your route and have your kids color in the route and mark off different cities as you pass through them. The map can be simplified or have more details depending on the ages. Encourage your kids to watch for signs and clues for where they are on the map. They will be gaining road navigation skills long before they actually learn how to drive!
2) Goodie Bags
Make a run by the Dollar Store before your trip and fill a small bag for each child. Only allow your kids to open their goodie bags after the trip has begun! You can include items like small coloring books/puzzle books, crayons, stickers, and special snacks. The novelty of exploring the new treats should capture their attention at least for a while 😉 Another idea is to portion the goodies into smaller ziplock bags and distribute them every hour (or block of time that you determine.)
3) Play Classic Car Games
A few good ones:
One persons recites the line “I spy with my little eye, something ___” that ends in a clue. The other tries to guess the object.
The License Plate Game:
Hand out a list of all the states (or use this one) and cross off the states when they are spotted.
Player A thinks of a person, place or thing. The other players take turns asking yes or no questions. If another player guesses the thing before the 20 questions are up, they win. If the question can’t be guessed before the 20 questions are up, Player A wins.
In this classic game, players are on the lookout for VW Beatles. Whoever spots one yells “punchbuggy!” and is then allowed to punch another player in the arm. Whoever spots the most wins. You can of course play the game without punches or pick any other kind of object to find—anything from yellow cars to cow fields.
The Picnic Game:
Player A uses the phrase “I went on a picnic and I packed ____” and chooses something to pack. Player B then must then say the phrase and repeat what Player A planned to bring as well as add something new. This goes on with any amount of players until someone is unable to remember an item or says an item out of order.
4) Plan Fun Stops
Check to see if there are any quirky stops along your route. Roadside America is a great site for finding some of those places. In California, you’ll find everything from an outdoor collection of vintage neon signs to the International Banana Museum. Take a break from the car and make some fun memories in the process.
Do you have any screen-less tried and true methods to keep kids entertained on long road trips? Let us know in the comments below!