You’ve packed up your belongings, said your final goodbyes to your neighbors, handed your keys to the new owner, and piled into your van. It’s time to trek across the country to your new home.
If you’re traveling with kids, here are a few ideas to keep your children entertained and happy during every leg of your trip.
If your kids are prone to dizziness or car sickness, purchase a book on tape or CD. You can also stock your smartphone music store with a wide assortment of books so your children can sit back, relax, and let their imaginations run wild. Popular children’s audiobooks include the following:
- “The Twits” by Roald Dahl
- “Fortunately, the Milk” by Neil Gaiman
- “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” by J.K. Rowling
- “The Great Cake Mystery: Precious Ramotswe’s Very First Case” by Alexander McCall Smith
- “How to Eat Fried Worms” by Thomas Rockwell
Audiobook narrators have a way of instantly drawing readers in, leaving readers captivated throughout the entire book.
Special note: Don’t forget to bring an auxiliary cord. Without one, you won’t be able to plug the audiobook into your car’s speaker system.
Lights, camera, action. If your car doesn’t have a DVD player, don’t worry. You can purchase a portable DVD player for under 50 dollars and set it up between the driver and passenger seat so every child can see the screen. Popular movies include:
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid
- Princess Diaries
- Chicken Run
- Fantastic Mr. Fox
- My Neighbor Totoro
If your children aren’t close in age, ask your older kids to occupy themselves with different types of media. You might consider allowing your older kids to use your smartphone or tablet for movies, games, and other fun apps.
If your kids tire of movies and books, play one of these road trip games to keep them happy between states.
- Restaurant game – Find fast food restaurants along the way. Pick one fast food restaurant (Taco Bell, Burger King, McDonalds, Arby’s, or Wendy’s) and have each player choose a different fast food restaurant. You earn a point every time you spot the restaurant on the side of the road, on exit markers, or on billboards. Set a time frame and when the clock runs out, the player with the most points wins.
- Telephone – Have one child think of a line or story and whisper it into another child’s ear. Pass the line or story along until everyone in the car hears it. When the last person hears the line or story, let them repeat it out loud and see how much it varies from the original line.
- Twenty questions – Ask one child to think of a noun-person, place, or thing-and invite other players to ask that child one yes or no question (“Does it bite?”). After 20 questions, each player gets to make a final guess. The person who guesses correctly wins. If no one guesses correctly, the person who thought of the noun wins.
To make travel time a breeze, bring a cooler with plenty of snacks and beverages for the entire family. If you constantly have to deal with one son whining because another son stole his cookie, make a special snack case for each child and set ground rules. Here are a list of things you might want to include in the personal snack case:
- Sunflower seeds
- Dried apples
- Chocolate chips
Make sure to stop for meals every few hours so you and your kids can consume something more filling than snacks. Although the prospect of a cross-country drive might seem daunting, keep your kids happy (and keep yourself sane) with a combination of the audiobooks, movies, games, and snacks listed above.