1) Ease Into It
Put on a DVD. For the first few hours, let them get used to being in the car with the comfort of a movie or TV show. While it seems too easy to give them a cartoon to zone out to, it distracts them from the idea of sitting in the same spot for an extended period of time. Plus, if you're well prepared with discount bedding, a DVD might put them to sleep for a while. Don't be afraid to use the DVD player multiple times. While a television should never be used as a babysitter, it can be a lifesaver on a road trip. Kids never get bored with TV.
Giving kids an easy, car-friendly arts and crafts project with a clear goal can keep them occupied. They can use brainpower and physical energy to make a friendship bracelet, a lanyard keychain or pipe cleaner animals. Steer clear of anything that requires glue, cooking utensils or scissors; those items are asking for a disaster. The activity will keep them from getting into car clashes with each other and you won't hear the dreaded "Are we there yet?" ...at least for a little while.
3) Car Games
Car games are fun for everyone and they don't require packing an extra bag or make a mess. Games keep the driver and all the passengers engaged in thought and conversation to make the road trip pass quickly. Road trip games are easy enough for most everyone to participate in, and you might learn a little bit more about each other. A fun game to play is family trivia. Asking each other questions about brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, and grandparents lets the kids learn more about their family and how they fit into the family tree.
4) Activity Books
A book to read might not be sufficient to get kids interested enough to forget they're riding in the car for hours. Interactive books with word puzzles and memory challenges will keep them engaged. Time will pass by quickly until, of course, they've had enough.
Downloading a great audiobook, or playing one on CD, captures kids' minds in ways you don't expect. Their minds get lost while picturing what's happening as the reader runs through the book. Let them stare out the window while absorbing a story. It will keep them occupied and it will keep you sane.
Break up the trip with interesting stops. Don't stop at a fast food joint just because it's there; make your meal stop an event. If geography is on your side, you might be able to take in a site during the stop. Either way, sit down with your kids over a meal and talk about the road ahead. Well-planned breaks might not get you to your destination faster, but they could make the trip more delightful.
Whether you're getting ready for a road trip or you have a staycation planned, The Lakeside Collection has everything you need to enjoy the summer. Shop here for all your summer essentials.