Wednesday, June 8, 2011

On The Road Again...

The season for family road trips is upon us, which I cannot wrap my head around because wasn't winter break like four days ago?! Anyway. Seems like car trips are either a source of happy, funny memories or an absolute black mark on the family history...sometimes an amalgam of both. We've got upcoming travel plans and I'm trying to plan ahead in hopes that we can infuse our journeys with some joy.

Here's that I'm thinking:

* A trip journal with pages like...
- The W's - WHERE are we going? WHO will we see? WHAT would you like to do there?
- 5 THINGS (you've heard on this trip, seen on this trip, thought about, tasted...),
- Draw a picture of what you can see out the window right now.

* Books on tape that we've checked out from the library.

* Something we could memorize as a family - a short poem or scripture.

* Wishing we had this darling car trip bingo game (pictured above), but we'll improvise and come up with a fun "I Spy" game with things the kids can watch for while we drive. There will, of course, be a tasty reward for finding all the items.

* I like to be prepared with fun snacks, new stickers, plenty of paper and markers, a CD full of favorite songs, a new movie.

* I'm going to have a little note or surprise for the kids to open every hour - anything from a stick of gum or fun snack to a little note announcing that a family sing-along is about to begin (and then dedicate the next several minutes to playing and singing favorite songs - I'm already working on a Family Favorites album with plenty of Raffi, Elizabeth Mitchell, Disney tunes and pop songs my kids are familiar with).

* The guessing game is a stand-by family favorite of ours. "I'm thinking of something that lives in the forest..."

I realize some of these things take a bit of planning and preparation, but if we can stave off some of the boredom and bickering that inevitably set in on the road? Worth it!

Your turn: I'd really love to know what you do to pass the time peaceably
on a long road trip. Any suggestions you've got would be lovely.


Laurel said...

You are a very good mommy. Almost every summer, I drive my kids to from Arizona to Wyoming without my hubby (who can't take that much time off of work.) And in my world it goes like this:

Kids: When will we get there?
Me: In three more movies.


Maybe you will inspire me.

Melissa said...

I do what Laurel does! That is so funny how we measure time in movies because that's what they understand. This last time, now that my girls are older, we did 12 chapters of Harry Potter 7. That got us from CA to Utah. It was wonderful. Movies still work for us. They can't read in the car because they get carsick. I love the bingo idea!

Emily Anne said...
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Bloom said...

Oh, there will be movies! But when you're looking at 24 hours of've got to mix it up a little :)

Mirien said...

We just returned from a big road trip in our Toyota Sienna 8-seater. 17 hours each way. Six kids, ages 2-17. Not one movie. Great memories. Books on CD, some music, travel games (ThinkFun games are a big hit--I usually buy a new one for each trip. Chocolate Fix is a favorite for all--even the 2yr old pretends to play it). This trip I also bought a couple of sticker pads by Melissa and Doug (faces)--totally worth it. I buy all of this stuff on Amazon. Another great idea I got from a friend? Pipe cleaner sculptures. Cheap, easy and fun. Have a great trip!

The MOB said...

Back before DVD players, my mom used to make us little goody bags with cheap little toys in them to occupy our time - crayons, coloring books, stickers, snacks, etc. I have done this with my son too and he loves it.

We also had these cardboard car bingo cards with plastic sliding windows that you would slide closed when you saw the picture outside - for example a bridge or tree. We loved those. I plan on getting some for my son this summer. They still sell them - here is the link:

Emily C. said...

Check out my cousin's blog, Merry Babies (, where Emily blogs about her growing family of 5 beautiful children and all the amazing homemade projects and activities she makes for her family. Two relevant to traveling are: and Enjoy!

jeanine said...

I love your ideas! I'm going to remember these for our next roadtrip! We have a lot of ideas on ServingPinkLemonade too! Good luck!