By Jennifer Halter
August is here, and with school starting in just a few short weeks, families are taking this time to
squeeze in as much sweet summertime fun as possible. For many, that includes travel. While some
may choose to fly, others are planning to hit the road and travel by car to their destinations. As enjoyable as this can be, many parents find themselves stressed making sure that the kiddos are occupied and will do just about anything to avoid hearing the dreaded question, “are we there yet?” Here are some tips for passing the time on the road and making those trips more enjoyable for everyone!
Map it out. Prior to leaving, sit down as a family and map out your trip. Talk about the length of time you will be on the road and discuss certain landmarks that you may see along the way. Plan when you will be stopping for meals, to use the restroom and for breaks to get out and stretch your legs. Allowing the kids to get involved with the planning will help them know what to expect and when.
As a bonus activity, ask the children to research and share fun facts about the sights you will see, such as
historic sites, statues, famous bodies of water, etc. and share that information with the family as you near each destination.
Play road trip games. A popular game for the road is I-Spy, where one person will see an item and start
describing it to the others by saying, “I spy with my little eye…” and the other players will ask yes or no questions until they are able to guess what the mystery item is. To make this easier for younger children, you can start out by saying, “I spy with my little eye, something that starts with the letter…” or “something that is blue” to give them a jumpstart on guessing.
Another fun game is the license plate game. Each time you see a license plate from a different state, add it to your list. Once you arrive at the destination, count the number of states on your list and the person with the most wins.
Sing or read along. Nothing helps pass the time faster than hearing a good story or singing to fun music.
Create a playlist of music prior to hitting the road. Give each person in the family the ability to choose
5-10 songs (depending on the length of your trip), so everyone has a fair shot at having their song heard. You can also download family friendly audiobooks or better yet, hit the library before your trip and have each child choose a few of their favorites to read aloud.
Jennifer Halter is publisher of Macaroni Kid Woodbridge and Macaroni Kid Gainesville/Manassas.