We recently took a 16 hour car trip…..Yes it was lengthy! But we kept the 3 kiddos entertained with some fun games. These activities kept the kids busy, our car free of arguments, and I do believe kept the “are we there yet” question reduced to a simple 5 times instead of 55 times.
Here are a few of the travel activities I planned for our kids.
We started the trip with travel sticky notes. I placed 18 (I added a couple of extra hours for any stops that might be a little longer than planned) small sticky notes on a large index card. The sticky notes were in the shape of arrows and relatively small. Each of the sticky notes represented an hour of our trip. With each passing hour we took a sticky note off the front of the index card and placed it on the back of the card. It was a great visual for the kids to see and use as a guide to how far we had left to go before we met our destination. I stored the card above my visor for quick retrieval and easy storage. The kids were really excited and never missed a reminder to move the arrow. Plus, we reached our destination with two hours to spare.
I coordinated this activity with a little geography lesson as well. I printed off a map of each of the three states we were driving through. As we went through the towns/cities the kids highlighted them on the maps. We used the maps for a mini-lesson on map reading and much more. They were great for games later on in the ride as well. We played a game called “I’m There”. I named a city within a specific state and the first kid to locate it would say “I’m There!”. On the back of the state maps the kids drew pictures of things they saw while visiting the state keeping in mind some of the background information we gave them prior to our trip. We found basic information about each of the states such as state flower, tree, insect, reptile, motto, animal, bird, and some historic information.
Other games I included in our Travel Game Bag are listed below.
- Letter Play: Write 9 alphabetic letters at the top of a large index cards. I held the card for the kids to see and gave them 1 minute to write as many words as they could. The winner was the kid with the most words at the end of a minute.
- Scavenger Hunt: Prior to leaving for our trip I gave our kids a piece of paper to draw pictures of things thought they might see on our trip. Pictures included cars, tractors, ponds, a person walking, bridge, sidewalk, library, tree, cows, etc. During the trip the kids circled the pictures they found as we were traveling.
- Doodle Books: I attached several index cards together by punching a hole in one corner and placing a metal ring through the hole to make a booklet. The kids drew pictures of the activities we did while we were on our trip. This helped to chronicle our time on vacation and kept the kids busy each night in our hotel as well as in the car.
- Foil Art: We had an art contest in the car using foil. Each kid was given a piece of foil. I set a theme and the kids created something that represented the theme. For example, one of the themed ideas was something they would find in the ocean. The kids created a stingray, whale, dolphin, and boat.
- Art Making: I decided that the box of crayons could not go on our trip due to the extreme heat. We didn’t want the upholstery to look like a rainbow had melted on it as the temperature highs were above 100 degrees during our trip. Instead, we packed a variety of colored paper. The kids made torn art by ripping the paper and gluing it in a design onto construction paper in their binders. The kids put the extra torn pieces of random paper into a baggie for later use.
- Even and Odd: This game is similar to “Rock, Paper, Scissors”. One player declares Even or Odd the other player gets whichever one is left over. Then on the count of 3 both players use their fingers on one hand to display a number. The partners total the number and decide who won by determining if the number was even or odd.
- Tie Your Shoe: I made a tie your card game to help my youngest son learn to tie his shoes. Simply punch holes in an index card and lace it up like a shoe. We attached the index card to a clipboard. He was able to practice this skill several times on our trip.
- Postcard Making: In the hotel my kids designed postcards to send to their grandparents. They included illustrations of things they did to make an original postcard.
- Travel Binders: I created a travel binder for each kiddo as well. In the binder each child had a spiral notebook, flashcards geared at their level (subtraction, addition, multiplication, and high-frequency word practice), their doodle books, and construction paper. I also included some fun learning worksheets, word ladders, and brain-teasers.
- Travel Bucks: We gave the kids five dollars to spend on our journey. The money could be spent on souvenirs or a special treat when we stopped to fuel up the car. This added some excitement to our trip. They spent time making a list of what treats or trinkets they were hoping to find. The kids made great buys that included postcards, some special snacks, and souvenirs.
- Hide and Seek: We played virtual hide and seek in the car. One person was it while the others thought of a place to hide in the house. The person who was “it” had to guess where each of the players were hiding. A clue could be given to help the person who was “it” locate those hiding.