Does the thought of hearing, “Are we there yet?” make you want to stay
Studio 5 Executive Producer, Michelle Torsak finds the best ways to make
travelling with kids not just tolerable, but memorable.
A Studio 5 viewer recently emailed us asking, “What are the BEST activities for
kids 5 and under in the car?” It’s a great question, and my advice comes
down to 3 tips.
TIP #1: ESTABLISH EASY ACCESSIBILITY.
Think how wonderful your road trip would be if you didn’t have to reach to
the backseat every 5 seconds. It would be off to a pretty great start in my
opinion! That’s why I’d start with a trip down the organizing aisle of your
local Dollar Tree store.
I found these perfectly sized and compartmentalized caddies, with colors for
every person in the family. Fill each child’s carrier with the things she needs
and uses most. These things might include: wet wipes, a drink, snacks,
crayons, coloring books, earphones, etc.
And when you stop at the drive through for lunch, place each child’s meal
inside their caddy. It will prevent drinks from spilling and French Fries from
TIP #2: EMBRACE THE NOVELTY OF THE ROAD.
While it’s tempting to want to let the DVD player do the entertaining, use this
as an opportunity to do the things you can only do on a road trip. You can
watch Sleeping Beauty anytime, but you can only play “Slug Bug” on the road.
The best part; other moms have done the work for you! Oodles of
downloadable travel games exist online. Print the games on cardstock and
either laminate or place in sheet protectors – either way works perfectly for
My first favorite source for FREE printable games comes from the blog
Oopsey Daisy, where you
will find a travel bingo game for elementary age
kids; a travel bingo for toddlers; and a “Slug Bug” game. She has
conveniently made 5 versions of each game board, so the whole family can
play. Click here to download and print.
TIP #3: CELEBRATE THE RIDE.
Why not make the road trip an event of its own. A great way to help kids
pass the time is to give them a bag full of tickets. I recommend one ticket
for each half hour of travel. So, if you are heading out on a six hour road
trip, you’d give each child 12 tickets. Every half hour, they will redeem their
ticket for a new activity. As they start seeing their piles of tickets decrease,
they know you are almost there.
Cookie sheets make really great lap boards. So for example, the first ticket
might be redeemed for a dollar store puzzle. Add magnetic tape to the back
of each puzzle piece and small children can easily work on a 24 piece puzzle
in a half hour. Other activities and ideas for ticket redemption include:
window markers (within close proximity of car seats); match games (again
add magnetic tape so they can work on their cookie sheet); sticker sheets –
with the challenge to create a story using their stickers; dry-erase paper with
tic-tac-toe; glow sticks (great for night travel), etc.
Other great travel games I recommend include:
· Melissa & Doug Travel Memory Game; www.amazon.com
Note: The Melissa & Doug line has other great travel games as well.
· Rory’s Story Cubes; www.amazon.com
· Scavenger Hunt for Kids Cards; www.amazon.com