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Tips for Road-Trips with Kids

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Have a road trip planned and worried about keeping your kids entertained? Road trips can be stressful when trying to manage children at the same time. Whether it is a two-hour trip to the amusement park or an eight-hour trip to Grandma’s house, thinking up a variety of ways to keep children entertained for the duration can be challenging. While watching a movie on an iPad or reading a book may sound like a good idea, sometimes that can cause car sickness in both children and adults alike. To help keep your crew happy, here are a few tips to try on road trips of any length. 

Play Classic Games

There are many different games you can play with your family members in the car, including some that are likely throwbacks to your childhood. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • The License Plate Game: name off different state license plates that you see during your trip. 
  • The Alphabet Game: name things that they see that start with each letter of the alphabet in order. This can be made more challenging for older kids by having each person have an individual alphabet to go from A to Z to see who can complete the alphabet the fastest or with the most creativity
  • Twenty Questions: one family member thinks of a person, place, or thing, and the rest of the family takes turns asking questions to see if they can correctly guess the answer before question 20 rolls along. 

You can even come up with your own games unique to your family. Make it as interactive as you can, and you’ll have a lot of laughs in the process. 

Be Ready for Snacktime

Snacks are essentials for long car rides to help curb hunger, but they can also be used as an activity. Pack some snacks that are healthy and aren’t excessively messy because busy mouths means quiet miles. Using reusable bags or containers can be a lifesaver and make snacktime something you don’t need to supervise too closely. You can pack sandwiches and frozen juice boxes in a cooler to use as ice packs and then have a picnic in the car or stop at a scenic mountain view or at a park for a nice break in the day. 

Assemble a Travel Pack

To get children excited about a long trip, it’s a great idea to take a trip to the dollar store, grab a few items to keep them entertained, and put them in a fun travel bag. This will also help to declutter the car if every child is in charge of their own backpack. You can add a few new toys for them to use for some imaginative play during the drive, and even better, maybe you can sit in the back and play along with them for part of the drive. Engaging in activities together can make all the difference on the way there. 

A fun idea to dodge the “Are We There Yet?” question: put a roll or quarters in the children’s bag (if they are old enough to handle small objects!), and every time someone asks that question, take a quarter away and hopefully that question will stop pretty quickly. These quarters can also be used to pick out a treat at a vending machine at a rest stop along the way. 

Create a Family Playlist

With streaming services nowadays, it is easy to create and stream playlists for the whole family. Take some time to create a family playlist for the car ride to help make this bonding experience extra special. Include some songs or artists you know your children enjoy, and make sure to let them in on the oldies and classics that you listened to driving around with your parents growing up.  If you have the option, make sure to download the playlists to your phones in case you lose cellular service somewhere along the way. Being cooped up in the car can be a great time to talk with your family on some topics you may not get the chance to in the normal day to day and who knows what topics might come up from listening to your favorite songs together!

Prepare for an Emergency

When traveling long distances, things can get a little off track. To make sure you’re ready for anything, pack a small first aid kit, extra blankets, a roadside emergency kit, a spare tire and car jack, jumper cables, big ziploc bags or trash bags for soiled clothing, and a list of emergency contact numbers, such as roadside assistance. Additionally, be sure to pack some over the counter motion sickness medicine, such as Dramamine, so you are prepared if car sickness strikes. If you are braving the overnight drive with little ones (for some children, this is a great idea, while for others, this may cause more sleeplessness, so make sure to weigh the pros and cons before you decide), a flashlight may also come in handy.

We hope your family has a great trip! Tag SmartSitting in Facebook and Instagram posts, so we can see and share your road trips on our channels. Want to know more about our tips and tricks? Make sure you sign up for our newsletter for all the latest info coming from our team!

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