What is a recipe for a road trip? Well, take:
- 4 family members
- 1 mini-van
- 1,600 miles
And you have a major Road Trip!
So how do you even get started? Lists! I love lists. So I have one for packing each child and myself (Brad is on his own!), one for things that need to be done before we go, and one for car things. Here is another list for cooking this trip up with lots of love, fun, and sanity!
- Music we all agree on. Emily bought a VeggieTales Sing the 70s CD that we will groove too and then we will throw in lots of other CDs so we don’t have to hear the same thing more than twice on the entire trip!
- Books on CD– We like Adventurs in Odyssey and the library has all kinds of fun books to listen too.
- Headphones for all the things those in the front seats don’t want to hear!
- Goody Bags– I picked up some cute purses at The Christmas Tree Store for each girl and will fill it with some activity books, new crayons/pencils, car candy (their favorite candy they can eat whenever they want on the trip!) and a new book to read.
- Trays– I found some plastic trays at Michael’s on clearance (3 bucks). They are perfect for resting a book upon, playing Polly Pockets (or race cars if you have a boy) or drawing. There are pockets on either side that can hold books or crayons so you don’t have to keep reaching for them. We have already tried them out around town and the girls are loving them.
- Food– Got to have it and a friend from Texas told me ages ago—let them eat and eat often in a car trip! We will have a snack box with various types of snacks and then we will also carry a cooler with drinks and items for lunch on each driving day. My girls love to have a Lunchable for the first day (yuck, but I let them) Then I have a new jar of jam to use for making PBJs on the second day. By keeping it on ice after we open it at lunch we can put in the fridge when arrive at our destination and it not go to waste.
- Frisbee and Ball– for those get out and stretch your leg stops
- First Aid Kit and other must haves for “just in case”- Our van came with a first aid kit but this year I’m adding Kids Pepto and Benadryl to the mix. Also ya gotta have wet wipes, hand gel cleaner, and paper towels. I will also have a towel and some plastic grocery bags for unexpected incidents. Plus the bags help make it easy to do a garbage sweep of the van each time we stop.
Some other ideas:
- Trip Tickets- special tickets that each child hands over at specified intervals in the trip–say every hour. This lets them see how many hours are left in the trip. So if you are in the car for 8 hours in one day, make 8 tickets. Then have them submit each hour- if the question…how much longer comes up, have them count their tickets! Works great.
- Geography lesson in disguise- print a map of the US. Then play the license plate game and have your child mark off each state they see- more for readers but they think they are having fun AND they are learning on the sly!
- Graphs! Yes, you can even get some math into the trip. My girls have been counting motorcycles lately. You can get some graph paper and have them fill in a block for each motorcylce they see- helmets in one column and no helmets in another. Or have each column be a different type of vehicle–maybe motorcylces, convertibles, 18 wheelers….
- http://www.momsminivan.com/printables.html This site has a ton of ideas too. I think it is where I learned of the “trip ticket” idea.
- Magnetic games- this way the pieces don’t drop down in the “I can’t reach zone”
- DVD player- yes, one of these is great to have too. We limit the watching to about 2 movies a day on our 12 hour days- so one movie per 6 hours in the car.
- Conversation Starters- There are many things you can purchase to help spark ideas. Here is a website that has some things: http://parent-child-communication.suite101.com/article.cfm/dinner_table_conversation_starters . You can also get books like- the “Would you Rather” series. Here is a link to one of them http://www.amazon.com/Would-You-Rather-Gross-Questions/dp/193473411X/ref=pd_sim_b_2#noop
Once you have mixed all the ingredients and placed them into the vehicle, say a prayer and head out!