Since we became a family of five, air travel of any kind is limited to non-existent. I mean, have you checked lately how much it costs for five people to fly anywhere, then rent a minivan (because of the car seats for the young children) and then reserve a hotel room for any length of time? It’s enough to drain anyone’s bank account, and that doesn’t include the monies for food and attractions.
So when Summer hits and we finally are free of the school schedule and we actually have time to travel and visit places, we do it by car. Yes, we load up the minivan with movies, snacks, suitcases, AND the kids, and then we hit the road. We have road tripped to San Diego, Tucson, and Kansas City (twice) so far. We have road tripped countless times within the state of Texas (we live in Austin). Any road trip under four hours is like nothing to us by now!
The husband and I have made it a point to try and keep the kids active when we stop the car for gas or meals. We make them get up and MOVE, and further than just walking into the gas station and going to the bathroom!
- Play Red Light, Green Light
- Play Freeze Tag
- Play Simon Says
- Playing in the leaves (this was during the Fall)
- Play Chase
- Play Follow the Leader
- Take a walk while Daddy gasses up the car
- Go *exploring*
- Play ball or catch or soccer if we have it with us
We’ve done these in parking lots (away from moving cars), on the side of buildings/restuarants, at rest stops, etc. My husband or myself, whomever has Kid Duty, tries to be as silly as possible so that the kids laugh and giggle and get into it. It is always a good time and a great break from the monotony of being in the car for hours on end.
In the car, the kids do the normal things that kids do on long car trips- watch movies, play video games, play old traditional *road trip* games (like I Spy, a favorite for us), make videos using mommy’s phone, and having a dance party- dancing and shimmying whatever we can while safely secured in our seat belts.
My kids are quickly becoming seasoned car travelers and they don’t even bat an eyelash when told we are driving 11 hours in one day (sometimes longer). It is just the way it is and it’s not so bad, especially if we want to get around the United States affordably and visit the people we love and see and experience new things.
What do you do to keep the kids active and engaged while on the road?
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