Hitting the Road with Kids: Travel Scavenger Hunt!

Travel scavenger hung from Our Best BitesSo remember last summer when I was, like 43 months pregnant in Louisiana in almost-July? Yeah, that was fun. My poor kids…aside from swimming lessons, I pretty much kept us locked inside the house with the shades down while I poked at the thermostat, wondering why 72 degrees felt like suffocation.

So in an attempt to make this summer more fun than last summer, we have a lot of plans. We have places to go. We have people to see. And we’re really excited about it.

During our most recent travels, the kids and I went to Utah and stayed with my parents for a few days

parents

before taking the 5 1/2-hour car ride up to see Sara for a few days, then we headed back to Utah to see the awesome teenage boy who pulled my son out of the water last October receive a life saving award from the Boy Scouts.

clark and greg 2

 

clark and greg

All in all, it was a pretty amazing trip.

But guess what is kind of not amazing?

Traveling with kids. It’s hard. It just is. There’s no good way around it. Every time I’ve done it, I’ve reached a point where I don’t care what the kids do as long as they’re not bothering anyone (read: donuts for dinner in the airport when our flight was delayed).

One thing that really helps is just keeping them busy and un-hungry. Funny story: my husband and I have flown fairly frequently our whole marriage because his family has always lived a plane ride away. And every single time, we’ve gotten dried mangoes and Lance Crackers–it’s like this unspoken family tradition.

Lance Crackers

So when we had the chance to partner up with Lance Crackers with kid-friendly activities, especially as we’re getting into Travel Season, it was a perfect, serendipitous fit!

Growing up, we always played the license plate game or the ABC game, but the license plate game always took too long and the ABC game always ended too quickly. So as I was thinking of travel activities with my kids, I thought it would be fun to do a little of both–a travel scavenger hunt where they can keep their eyes open for interesting (or not-so-interesting) things along the way, with plenty of snacks on hand to keep everyone happy.

I got a couple of cheap ice cube trays and some labels from the office department of the store…

labels and ice cube trays

 

and then I just started listing things they could keep their eyes out for. I actually made two sets, one for the plane and one for the car trip.

scavenger labelsThe labels fit perfectly inside the ice cube trays…

labels in ice cube traysand the ice cube trays fit perfectly inside their backpacks that they had both on the plane and in the car.

IMG_2206 labeled ice cube traysThen, the kids have a little bag/box of snacks and as they find different things along the way, they can fill in the ice cube wells. See??

snacktivityMy kids LOVED it! One of our favorite parts was that just for fun, I put alpacas on our car version, totally thinking that would be the ONE THING we wouldn’t see. Well, when we stopped to get gas on the lonely, desolate, human-free road between Northern Utah and Boise, these guys were there to greet us:

alpacas

My kids were so excited and it was such a fun way to engage with each other and enjoy the trip (instead of everyone being off in their own Nintendo DS/iPod world).

kids on the roadBefore anyone calls CPS, we were stopped safely when I snapped this picture. Promise.

You can totally label your ice cube trays however you want, but if you’re looking for ideas, click here for a printable version of the list I made:

travel scavenger hunt

This was such an inexpensive, fun way to keep the kidlets busy on the road (and in the air) and they’re already looking forward to the next time we get to use them, which is a total win for me!

I want to hear (I really do) about your summer plans–where are you going? What are you doing? Where have you been?

 

We partnered with Lance Crackers for this post, but all the opinions are completely our own.

 

 

 

57 comments

  1. What an amazing idea. Also, thank you for sharing the story about your son. It is so awesome that a boy scout was near to help him and knew the signs because as I’ve learned it’s not like in the movies/tv and can be quite silent. All of this made me tear up as my 4yr old son has a preschool friend that nearly drowned on a Disney cruise this past March. He is fighting his way out of a vegetative state and your story makes me believe even more that he’ll be ok. You can find his story on Facebook on his page: Chase Lykken.

    1. Oh my gosh. 🙁 I went and checked out his FB page and it just breaks my heart. We talked about going on a Disney cruise this year, but after our experience, I was just too scared–I felt like with us, we were so close to such wonderful medical care (I’ve checked my phone and it was literally 4 minutes from the time we called until the time I started making other phone calls at their request…I wasn’t exactly in the state of mind to be doing it without them telling me to) and then another 10 minutes to a first-rate hospital. Hugs and prayers to you and to their family!

  2. My kids have enjoyed the road trip scavenger hunt but adding snacks, that is perfection. I will definitely have to use this on our way to Florida before summer is out.

    My key to road trip peace has been book podcasts and books on tape. The girls and i completed The Wind in The Willows, Anne of Green Gables, and A Wrinkle in Time one very busy summer of road trips. They look forward to what we will hear and it keeps the negative energy down – who can hear the story when you are squabbling?

  3. What a fun idea! As soon as school is out (this Thursday) we are heading out for a multi-family camping trip with friends from our ward. As soon as we’re back from that my husband is going on a work trip. As soon as he is back from that I’m going to YW camp with our Stake. We’ll have a few days of a reprieve before we’re off on a 12 hour road trip to an extended family reunion. July will be crazy, but hopefully in August we can have lots of lazy, I mean relaxing days! Thanks for the fun ideas for the car and plane!

  4. We’re taking our first big road trip ever with 4 kids (1-11) from Virginia to Utah in July, and I’ve been pinning road trip activities onto my board for weeks now- thanks for the idea!

  5. What a great idea! I’ll be taking a train trip half way across the country with my kids — which can be scenic and long — so this will be perfect!

  6. Wow! You have hit this one out of the ballpark! Your kids are super lucky to have such an engaged mom!

    Okay, so I am definitely using this idea but with a twist: Since I am not the one traveling with a child but my daughter will be as she, her husband, and little boy drive ten hours to get here, I’m going to have my daughter use the ice cube tray idea and reward her four-year-old with a penny for each find along the way. Then when they arrive here, he can spend his earned pennies on a fun “welcome” toy I will have waiting for him! I think I will prepare a treasure hunt around the house to find the toy, thus also letting him get reacquainted with our house after six months of being gone.

    Thank you for a brilliant idea!

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