So I mentioned a little while back that we’re driving from Louisiana to Utah in a few weeks. This is brand new territory for me. I came later in my parents’ lives, way after their cross-country road trip days, so we never really did road trips growing up. When my husband and I were newlyweds, we didn’t really have a reliable enough car for much road-tripping, and then, up until this summer, we’ve always been able to find reasonable airfare within 4-5 hours of us.
I’ve been checking airfare since the beginning of the year, but the same flights we took last year would cost us 3-4 times as much this summer. Throw in a car rental and we could seriously take a fully-loaded tropical vacation.
So. We’re driving. And I’ve been trying to figure out how we can keep everybody occupied and happy for 27 hours each way in the car (that doesn’t involve 27 hours of fighting or 27 hours of crying or 27 hours of video games, although, to be completely honest, 27 hours of video games sounds better than 27 hours of fighting.)
So I’ve put together a binder of simple activities to keep my kids at least semi-aware of their surroundings.
None of them are exactly earth-shattering (although one of my favorite and last memories of my mom is a rather epic round of the license plate game that took months before we finally tracked down Hawaii), but I’ve put them all in one place and used cute fonts. So, you know, the essentials. This is the map I used (it can either be just a reference–I’m having my kids color each state we visit); be sure to check out the whole site–it’s full of ADORABLE printables and activities. Everything else can be found here in this pdf:
You’re going to need …
- 1 3-Ring Binder per child
- Sheet protectors
- Pencil Pouch
- Various drawing/writing tools (I used pens, washable markers, and colored pencils)
- Glue Sticks
- Postcard stamps (optional—if you want to send postcards to friends or yourself)
- Money for postcards
- Pencil sharpener for colored pencils
- Paper, cardstock, and/or lined paper
- Stickers for the road trip scavenger hunt
- Map of the United States
- Kid’s Road Trip Survival Guide from Our Best Bites
Find a sturdy pencil pouch that has three holes and will fit into a 3-ring binder:
Fill it with a glue stick or two, scissors, postcard stamps, money for postcards, markers (I was able to raid my kids’ school supplies, used and unused),
and stickers for the scavenger hunt.
Place the filled pencil bag at the front of the binder.
Place the scavenger hunt, license plate game, map, postcard passport, art gallery, and vacation journal pages in sheet protectors (I put the scavenger hunt on the front and the license plate game on the back of one sheet protector, then put the map opposite the license plate game so my kids could see where different states are on the map.)
After the postcard passport, put several pieces of cardstock so kids can glue the postcards onto it. The Art Gallery goes next, followed by several sheets of plain white paper, then the vacation journal followed by lined paper.
I’ve gotten some awesome tips on road trips so far, but now that I’ve shared these binders, I’m basically begging for your very best tips to keep all of us sane! We’re going to need them!