While living in New York, we also owned a home in Tennessee. We would commute to Tennessee on a regular basis to check on the home or just to relax for a few days. Included in these trips were three and sometimes four kids in tow. While our older kids could understand the drive, our now three-year-old was never quite happy having to sit and wait. To make our trip as comfortable as possible, we included activities, such as these, to hold their attention, create a fun environment and even offer a bit of trivia to the trip.
- Movies– We would bring along not one but two laptops for the kids to watch movies on. The older kids would use their own in the back of the van and the baby would have her own in the middle to enjoy her cartoons. Typically, we would bring four or five movies for each.
- Video Games– We eventually purchased the dual dvd players that supported gaming systems. This was truly another life saver for us. When they tired of movies, they had an alternative that offered a neutral and non-argumentative environment. The only drawback was that at times the bouncing and noise was a distraction to pops.
- Travel Games– Most full-size board games now come in magnetic travel size versions. Their favorite games can easily be packed away and transported with little to no hassle. The older kids can play monopoly, clue dice and such while the baby can play dress up, a newer version of the old paper dolls.
- Travel Trivia– the most famous being spot the tags where we each have a pocket notepad and have to write down the states that we see and how many we find of them. We put a timer on the game usually 3-5 per round and then pick a winner. Another enjoyable topic for the kids is historical or important facts about certain areas that we may be in such as Virginia, Maryland, Washing D.C. etc. (P.S. parents beware if you plan to do this, look up certain areas first so you can at least know a little bit). It is a great social or science study lesson for all ages.
- I Spy– A favorite of the younger, we find items that are described by the teller as quickly as possible. The baby has such fun with this game that she usually yells out the answer so that she can be first to answer it. She congratulates herself and declares that she is the winner.
There is usually a game, past time, or interest that can maintain the attention of kids for an hour or two. It is best to prepare yourself ahead of time and have backup solutions close at hand. Always provide the kids with a map so that they are able to trace your path as you travel. It helps to avoid the litany of “are we there yet” questions. It also teaches them valuable map reading skills and sign knowledge.
(If you plan on using electrical items, be sure to purchase a power inverter that is capable of handling the items desired)