It’s summertime, which means that many of us will be hitting the road for vacations over the next few months. Those who have children are likely used to hearing the perennial question, “Are we there yet?” during long rides in the car. There are ways to make those interminable, boring car rides more fun for kids, however. Here are just a few ways to entertain kids on long car rides.
Food. Make sure to pack enough food to keep your kids placated during a long car trip. You want to make sure to pack things that they like, and preferably things that are healthy. Fruits like apples and bananas will keep kids full and prevent a sharp rise in their blood sugar that could trigger angry behavior, tantrums and fights among the kids. Candy is usually not recommended for this very reason. Salty snacks are ok, but if you pack them, remember to pack healthy drinks as well (and be prepared to stop for bathroom breaks!)
·Coloring books and crayons. If your kids are young enough to enjoy coloring books (and really, who doesn’t enjoy them – they even make them for adults these days!), pack a bag filled with coloring books and crayons. Puzzle books can be included if your kids like them. Any type of books that will keep them busy for a few hours are great.
Play car games. Remember these from your own childhood? “I Spy With My Little Eye,” is a classic, in which someone describes what they see and others in the car take turns guessing what it is. The clue should be simple, such as “I spy something red.” “Alphabet” is another good one for kids, in which each person must find something beginning with the next letter of the alphabet. “Going on a Picnic” is the perfect memory game, where the first person starts with, “I’m going on a picnic and I’m going to bring,” then lists an item. The next person adds to it, and so on, until the last person must remember every item that will be brought on the picnic.
Car karaoke. This can be done with the radio or regular CDs you bring, or you can bring actual karaoke CDs with you.
Stuffed animals. You should definitely pack your child’s favorite stuffed animal to keep him or her company. This is also useful for car naps.
Neck cushions. Specially designed neck pillows or inflatable cushions can make your child’s nap in the car more comfortable.
·Camera. Give your child a camera before the trip and have him or her document what is seen along the way.
·iPad games. Download educational games on the iPad for your kids to play. Drawing Pad is a good one, in which they can create their own digital art.
·Audiobooks. Bring audio books along, which the entire car can listen to or your child can listen to privately with headphones.
·Drive at night. If all else fails, do your driving at night while your kids sleep in the car. Then they can’t constantly complain, “Are we there yet?”