I recently took a road trip to visit family in Atlanta. That translates to 470 miles and 8 hours in a car with a kid. Now, as a parent, you soon figure out if your little one likes long trips in the car. Holly is not a good car kid, and I’m sure many of you can relate.
We leave before the roosters and Holly are even awake. She is the last thing we pack, so to speak. We ever-so-gently slip her into the car seat while she is sound asleep, buckle her in snug with her nook and blankie and off we go. Before you know it, we are just coming up on Knox-Vegas and Holly wakes up in her car seat hours later from our in genius head start! Now, what to do for the rest of the trip?
Holly is two and a half, so I try and incorporate some things that she does in her everyday life, along with some new creative things to make the car ride a win-win for everyone. Now, I will say that Holly is already being spoiled with little luxuries. We have an iPad with several of her favorite ‘Princess’ titles and we do have the DVD player in the car, but she can only do so many movies. I started to wonder what could we do as a family on our trip to make it more enjoyable for all of us, especially Holly. Then, it came to me.
There are so many places on the way down to stop and visit that any kid would love! Dairy farms, look-out points, national parks, and clean rest stops. Well, the rest stops are more for Dad and I. If your children are older, you can even add them into the planning fun and test their map skills. What an adventure!
All of these things include getting out of the car, fresh air and stretching. It is also educational and hands-on. If you’re in a hurry to get to your destination, or just simply don’t want to stop, writing or coloring pictures for grandparents can be a fun activity as well.
Moms, don’t forget to pack a cooler. I love packing a cooler filled with items so we are able to have a picnic at rest stops and parks. Here’s the secret for the long trips with kids this summer: When you are at the rest stops, play some sort of outside games to get out some of that pent up energy out of your kids. Even if it’s going to a Mickey D’s playland. You will thank me, because the rest of the trip all you will hear is snoring from the back car seat. And what a great sound that is with three hours left to go to your destination… ah, heaven!
Make your summer road trips fun, interesting and enjoyable. Learning experiences can only enhance your family fun and long summer car trips. Always be prepared – it’s less stress. Safe and happy summer travels!