Monday, April 2, 2012

Are We There Yet??

This past weekend we went on a huge adventure!  We traveled to visit one of my oldest and dearest friends 4 states away - with the kids by car!
This was our longest road trip by far!  We drove from South West Michigan to St. Louis Missouri!  I wasn't sure how the kids would do sitting for such a long time.  We do have a DVD in the car, but each child has a certain taste and they get bored watching after awhile so I had to be prepared with an arsenal of tricks and treats!

It took a little bit of preparation, but it was so worth it!  I think the kids enjoyed the road trip as much as they did when we reached our destination!
 
I put two containers in the middle of the van filled with activities to keep the kids busy.  We had books, coloring books, maze books, crosswords, sudoku, construction paper, blank paper, crayons, colored pencils, and some doodle boards.  I also packed in a couple of cookie sheets with letter magnets and other magnets we had.  I also had magnets that could be built into creations.  The kids loved making up words and stories with the different magnets on the cookie sheets and I was saved from retrieving things all of the time because they stuck to the cookie sheets!

I also printed out a scavenger hunt that included pictures.  Each child had a clip board with the scavenger hunt on it and Jackson had an extra sheet with license plates and a map of the US.  This kept them busy for the entire trip down!  It was fun having them be so excited spotting things along the way to mark off on their sheets!  The little ones could participate because of the pictures.

Up front by me I had a list of game ideas to play and ways to pass the time when the natives became restless.
My list included:
  • I spy
  • I'm thinking of an animal or a person (can only answer yes or no questions)
  • Call out a color and everyone has to name off things they see that is that color
  • Hide and seek - think of a spot in the house -any size - to hide and people ask yes or no questions to find where you are hiding (like the silverware drawer)
  • play rock paper scissors
  • Fortunately, Unfortunately  Mom starts by saying something like: "Unfortunately, there is a lion in the car!"  Dad adds on: "Fortunately, he has no teeth!"  Jackson adds on: "Unfortunately, he has terrible breath!"  and on and on to create a silly story
  • Read a book out loud to the kids
  • Give each child a roll of tape - It doesn't matter if they have nothing to tape - they will find something to do with it and it will keep them busy!
  • Give them some foil to play with.  They can create animals and things.  Jackson made a frame for a picture he drew.
  • Pipe cleaners would be fun to bend together as well.
  • Read a joke book.
  • Alphabet game:  Start with A and find something that begins with that letter and move on to the next or have each child find something with that letter before moving to the next.
  • Sing songs

We didn't even do half of the list, but I wanted to be prepared!  Our most popular part of the car ride was getting tickets!  (not speeding tickets) I packed little brown lunch bags with a small toy from the dollar store or a special treat.  On the outside of the bags I wrote each child's name, if it was a toy or treat, and a number.  The number was how many tickets they needed to get the bag.  They went from the number 3 to 6.  For example a bag with a piece of gum was 3 tickets.  (My kids never get gum so this was a huge treat!)  Every half hour I gave each child a ticket.  This really helped pass the time as they weren't waiting to get to the destination as much as they were to get the next ticket!  I explained to them that they had to be doing a good job to get the ticket too!  They could choose to cash in their tickets or to save them and cash them in later.  I also used tickets if they wanted an extra snack so they weren't begging for food the entire ride down.  I gave everyone snacks, but if they wanted something extra like Gushers or chips they could turn in tickets for it.  A few times I chose to give them a sucker instead of a ticket at the half hour.  These tickets were the best thing ever!!!!  The kids loved it and it made the ride go faster and made it more exciting!!


One of the silly prizes!

I was surprised about how well the trip to and from went.  Eight hours in the car is a long time, but the kids did great!  I was a little disappointed that I entertained the kids so well that the only ones that slept in the car were the two adults!  Oh well!  No major melt downs = total success and that was just the ride down and home!!  I'll tell you about the days we spent in Missouri tomorrow!!

4 comments:

  1. wow....where in the world did you come up with all these ideas! awesome!

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  2. I found a ton of the ideas at http://www.momsminivan.com/ - it is a great source for fun ideas and print outs!

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  3. These are some great ideas that I have never thought about. I love the surprise gifts a long the way and next trip I will have to try it out. I have usually resorted to using the iPad when we are on the road because it gives the kids so many options. Their favorite option is watching live TV on the DISH Remote Access app through our provider DISH. The kids can watch all our subscription channels through DISH live wherever we can get a 3G or Wi-Fi connection. A co-worker at DISH told me I could also stream our Blockbuster@Home service on the iPad as well. Now I can stream thousands of movies off the Remote Access app, which will be awesome on our next road trip. I do have them pack a bag of other activities for the trip and I know I really should try to do other things with them besides letting them use the iPad the whole time.

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