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Keeping kids entertained while traveling

Whitney Coy is a freelance writer and editor based in Columbus, OH, where she lives with her husband and two daughters. She writes frequently for SheKnows, as well as several other websites. She writes on topics including parenting, trav...

Road trips made easier

Road trips are a whole new animal when there are kids involved! These tips will help keep them busy while you're on the road.

children in car

Do you remember the carefree road trips of your child-free days? Taking your time, stopping whenever you want, enjoying the peacefulness of the road? Those days are long gone, mama! These days, it's just about getting from point A to point B as quickly as possible, without anyone killing each other or getting sick.

Thankfully, planning ahead and being prepared can help turn a torturous road trio into fun family time. Try these tricks for keeping your kids entertained on the road.

Bring books

Hit the library before you leave and keep all the books off limits until you hit the road. This way, they'll have new books to keep them busy while you drive.

Watch movies

If you have a DVD player in your car, load up on new or rented movies before your trip to keep your kids occupied.

Bring electronics

Are you an electronic family? Does everyone have their own techy gadget or two? If so, bring them all. If not, make sure to pack what you've got, including iPhones, tablets, e-readers and any other handheld devices you can dig up. If you have the ability, download a few new games or movies onto them before you start your drive. Don't forget car chargers and headphones, too!

Hit the dollar store

If you've got young kids, you probably know the toys from the dollar store can keep them busy for hours. Hit up the dollar store the week before your trip and stock up on anything that looks like it can be enjoyed while strapped into a car seat or seat belt. Place every toy in its own brown baggie, and let everyone pick a new treasure each hour or so of the trip.

Get artsy

Give each child a clipboard and plenty of paper. Pack pencils, markers and whatever else they like to use to create their own masterpieces as you drive.

Listen to a book

It's not always easy to read a book to your kids on the road, and some children may get carsick when they try to read to themselves. Grab a few audiobooks to pass the time on the road.

Document the trip

Why should you be the only one taking snapshots? Encourage your kids to take pictures of interesting things they spot along the way. If they’re not quite old enough for their own phones or digital cameras, give them each their own disposable camera. You'll love seeing the trip through their eyes once you get back home.

Stretch your legs

No one likes to sit for too long, but kids are even less tolerant. Make sure to stop every hour or two, and don't rush the stops. Give everyone time to stretch their legs, walk around and get rid of some energy. You may even plan a quick game of tag or kickball for a stop or two. It'll make your trip longer, but much more enjoyable — we promise!

Pack snacks

Hungry bellies make crabby kids. Make sure you've got enough snacks and drinks to get you through the trip, and start handing them out when the tension starts rising.

Tip:

Use Roadtrippers.com to find tons of interesting stops along the way. Let everyone pick a stop they'll love!

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