As if traveling for hours to go see your in-laws isn’t torture enough, your young son or daughter may spend the duration of a holiday road trip complaining if they’re not properly entertained. Keep your kids from getting bored in the car with these simple suggestions:
- Make a magnet tray. All you need is a baking sheet, some flat magnets and a glue stick. You can magnetize a notepad of paper and markers, or anything else you could imagine. You can also paint a scene on the magnetic sheet before the trip and get corresponding magnets for your kids to play with. For example, paint a barn and a field on the sheet and buy a set of farm animal magnets or stickers (magnets are better because they are removable and, thus, lead to extended play time). Magnet trays are great because utensils will not roll off and onto the floor, causing you to have to turn around and dig under the seats for crayons.
- Create a dry-erase book. A binder, plastic page protectors, and dry-erase markers are all you need to enable hours of entertainment for your children. You can look up printable games or coloring pages on the internet or create your own. Slide the sheet of paper inside the plastic and let your children go to town. The marker will just wipe right off; and not only off of the page protectors — dry erase marker spots are easy to remove from windows and car seats, as well.
- Buy “prizes.” These could be also known as “bribes.” Before the trip, go on a short shopping spree at the local discount store and get a bunch of small toys. Then give one at a time to your children if they are behaving, i.e. no whining, no fighting with siblings, etc. It’s cheap and easy, but it makes for decent motivation for the kids to be good.
- Have a road-trip tracker. If you don’t want to hear a barrage of “Are we there yet?” throughout your trip, a road trip tracker will help. What’s more, it will keep your children looking forward to the next milestone marks you hit on the trip. You can make a road-trip tracker with just a thick piece of ribbon and a clothespin. Mark off a long piece of ribbon into sections based on how many cities or states through which you will be traveling, or by landmarks or time expectations. After you hit the next milestone, your kids will be exciting to see how far they have traveled and how much longer they have left in the car.
- Go back to basics. You can never go wrong with a pillow, blanket and some headphones. Download a book on tape, or a read-along, or just have your kids’ favorite music on hand with their most comfortable aspects of home (their favorite stuffed animals, for example). Chances are they will fall asleep and you will have some peace and quiet of your own for a while.
Holiday road trips don’t have to be stressful. A little bit of preparation can go a long way when it comes to traveling with kids!
This article is presented by Jack Maxton Chevrolet in Worthington, Ohio