Making car rides fun for a child can be a challenge. Taking a trip always has it’s own fair share of expense so keeping the kids occupied without spending more money is always a plus! The destination itself should not be the only fun part!
When I was a child, we would go on at least one long road trip each year. That was before everyone had portable electronic devices. My parents always had a way of making car rides fun for us without spending a dime.
Although I do allow my kids to watch movies on the DVD player and play on their iPods while we travel, I prefer for the electronic time to be limited. If they are on them too long, we notice they become pretty grouchy. I often find myself occupying my kids the same way my parents occupied us.
1. While driving through the mountains, my mom would always tell us to watch for the Indians in the rocks. She would tell us that is where they use to always hide out so be on the look out! I remember looking and looking and looking thinking there were really Indians hiding REALLY well. I now know that my parents just wanted us to keep busy. Every time I see the rocks in the mountains, it brings back special memories with my parents and siblings.
2. You are not always driving where there are rock walls beside the road but more often (as long as it isn’t night time or raining), we would look at the clouds trying to see what we can see. We have found all sorts of “pictures” in the clouds!
3. When my parents could tell we were getting tired, they would turn on classical music and have us picture what was happening in the music. My mom would usually start a story about something to get our minds picturing our own movie to the music. Of course, she had us close our eyes to picture it….. then before we knew it we were sound asleep. GENIUS!
4. The license plate game is one my boys like. See how many states we could find on license plates along our journey.
5. When we would get antsy in the car, they would turn on fun music and finger dance. Yes, I said finger dance. Full out dance parties when you have 4 kids in the back of a station wagon was never an easy thing so finger dancing it was. We have continued this tradition with my kids. It’s different and because it is different, my kids love it just like we did.
6. Roll the windows down, crank up the music, and sing as loud as you possibly can!
7. Turn on a fun song, give each person in the car a specific instrument to “be”. As the music plays, each person plays their instrument by making the sounds with their mouth.
8. Unusual cars and trucks can be found all over the place but you have to be watching for them. This is one thing that keeps especially my boys occupied for a long time. We tell them to see who can spot the most unusual vehicle possible. They get excited when they see a monster type of a truck or an antique car first. Then, of course, the next 10 minutes they spend talking about how awesome that type of vehicle is and why.
Parents, you may think these all sound simple, strange, and boring but if you make it fun, your kids will have fun and have fond family travel memories just like I do. My oldest is now 14. He will bring up the games to play with his 4-year-old sister. I believe the tradition will continue with my one-day grandkids.
Vacations are supposed to be for quality family time. Set aside the devices for at least part of the trip and use nature to create a memorable trip for your kids!
Check out one of our latest adventures HERE!