When you think of fond family memories from your childhood, going on road trips is probably at the top of your list. There’s nothing like packing up a car with suitcases, toys and a load of excitement for traveling to a new destination. Although the trip itself may have been five hours longer than you’d hoped, even as an adult, it was still worth the drive.
Now, it’s easy to toss a phone or tablet to your kids to keep them entertained and whine-free throughout the journey, but spending countless hours in the car is a great opportunity to build family traditions and make precious memories with your loved ones. We tapped seven moms who have mastered highway entertainment with unique ideas to keep their kiddos entertained, happy and smiling for hours. Here’s what they shared.
Singing Together as a Family
“My family is big on musical theater and movie soundtracks. Even before we had kids, my husband and I would play soundtracks and sing them from beginning to end. It took my son some time to get into it, but…now we sing along in the car and even split up roles between the three of us. It’s pretty funny! Now my 3-year-old doesn’t expect anyone to sing when it’s their ‘turn,’ even when they don’t really know the song.” —Luisa
Listening to Audiobooks
“I have two little boys who love books but aren’t reading yet. I check out audiobooks for kids from the library. It comes with a CD and the hard copy of the book. They hold the book and follow along while listening to the audio. There’s even a special bell to tell them when to turn the page. There are also books on CD called ‘playaways,’ which are self-contained audio books. You can hook up headphones to them, and the kids can listen so you can still listen to the radio.” —Julie
Playing “I Spy”
“We play I Spy Road Game with our kids. It’s a card game with objects on them, and we try to find each of the objects on the car trip. It provides hours of entertainment for my kids.” —Allison
Creating Games with Magazines and Cars on the Road
“When we drive to Maine, I get the kids the ‘trucks for sale’ magazines. I ask them to count each color and to match a truck from the magazine to what they see on the road. To be honest, they just love staring at them. If we are driving further north, we get tractor magazines and I don’t hear a peep from them.” —Meyvi
Collecting Shells at Rest Stops
“My family and I are rock and shell collectors, so we use this as entertainment for the kids while on the road. We try and find stops along the way and take a break to collect rocks or shells. After we arrive at our destination, we have a story and paint them to give to family members.” —Tricia
Playing the Alphabet Game
“My kids and I list the alphabet on a sheet of paper. For each letter, we write down a memory or something we see along the way that starts with the corresponding letter. We make one for the road trip and one for the vacation destination. Sometimes, I will make a picture book out of it when we get home with vacation photographs and my kids’ drawings.” —Rebecca
Listening to Audio Dramas
“We don’t watch much television in our house, so audio options are a great pick for my five children. Though their ages vary, from 7 to 15, they all love listening to audio dramas while driving on long trips. We pick options that sound like a theater production instead of choosing audiobooks. It’s much more engaging and encourages them to use their imagination throughout the story.” —Emily
This post is sponsored by Honda.