1. Clipboard Games – I downloaded car games, printed them out, and gave each kid a clipboard full of activities, along with a mechanical pencil so there was no need for sharpening. The kids especially loved the license plate game, road trip bingo, snake pit, and VW Bug collecting. This license plate game from The Dating Divas is free (and fabulous). This printable Ultimate Road Trip Games ebook cost $14.95 to download, but you get 140 pages of games and activities. It’s worth every penny!
2. Read Aloud – Longer books work best, especially those with chapters ending in suspense. That way you get to hear delicious pleas of “Don’t stop! PLEASE keep reading!” When I’m in the passenger’s seat, I’ve been reading The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien to the kids. On this trip, Kit-Kat kept us all entertained by reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling.
3. State Line Celebration – This is an oldie but a goodie from my own childhood car trips. Every time you cross a state line sing a song. Growing up as preacher’s kids, our family song was the chorus from “To God Be the Glory.” We watched for the state line sign like hawks and burst into song when we crossed it. One memorable trip out west, we must have sung it 30 times. Today, my kids and I sing the same chorus whenever we cross into a new state.
4. Welcome Center Travel Agency – I made up this game when we stopped at Georgia’s Official Welcome Center on 1-75. Before the kids dashed out of the car to go to the restroom, I said, “Look around the welcome center and find ONE brochure you think is interesting.”
We took about 15 minutes to use the facilities and pick our brochures. Back in the car, the kids each shared why they picked their brochure. Their choices were revealing. I learned some neat things about my kids’ interests and about what passes for tourist attractions in the State of Georgia. Did you know there’s a real live sea monster in Darien, Ga.? We didn’t either until Curly-locks found the brochure!
On a whim, I asked if any of the places were near our I-75 travel route. Unfortunately, the sea monster lives off I-95. But, it turns out that the Crime and Punishment Museum selected by Jo-Jo was just up the road a bit in Ashburn, Ga. So, guess where we stretched our legs next?
Mainly I wanted to visit so I could lock all six kids in an old cell and take a photo. How great would THAT have been?! Sadly, museum tours were by appointment only on the Thursday we stopped by. We also missed the popular Fire Ant Festival, which struck me as hilarious. I laughed all the way back to the interstate.
On the return trip, we pretended to be tourists and stopped at Florida’s Welcome Center, which presented a fairly accurate picture of the Sunshine State in summer time. The air conditioning was out and the place was full of flies. Welcome to Florida!
“Pick ONE brochure from a place you’ve never been but would like visit,” I instructed. Based on their choices, we can plan some pretty interesting day trips this summer.
5. “DJ, You’re Playin’ my Song” – The oldest girls took turns playing DJ and ran an iTunes request hour. Each kid picked out two songs. My kiddos are seriously good at this. I loved listening to the eclectic mix they came up with. Some of our faves right now include: “Top of the World” by Imagine Dragons; “Cups” by Anna Kendrick; “Paradise” by Coldplay; “I Would” by One Direction; “Who I am Hates Who I’ve Been” by Relient K; “Fireflies” by Owl City; “Stereo Hearts” by Gym Class Heroes; “Mama’s Broken Heart” by Miranda Lambert; and “Jesus Freak” by D.C. Talk.
The miles passed quickly as we sang, read, and played games all the way to Grandma’s house and back. It was an awesome trip. When we got home, after 10 days, three states, and 1,400 miles, I actually thanked the kids for a great ride. Then, I ran inside to kiss Daddy Rooster.
I hope you have a blast on the road with your kids this summer.