Thursday, May 2, 2013

Road Trip Activity Book

As I mentioned two days ago, this weekend the husband/lover/chauffeur and I will be taking our twin granddaughters on a road trip, two hours to and from our destination.

In an attempt to make our drive happy and keep them occupied, I searched the internet for road trip games and activities.  Pinterest is a valuable resource for these sorts of things, and virtually all the activities I will show here came from various Pinterest sharers.

Each notebook has the child's name on front with a flower embellishment.  Inside is a zipper pouch containing all the necessities:  twistable no-sharpen crayons, a wet erase marker for the games, a pad of sticky notes, and a large pack of gum, of course.  Each activity/game page is stored in a plastic page protector, so games can be wiped off and used again on future trips.

The very first page in their notebooks is a map with our travel route highlighted.  I have placed a sticky arrow at the starting point.  There are also mile markers on the route labelled #1, #2, and #3, and END.

When we get to each of those points, I will indicate to the girls that it's time to mark the spot.  When they notice me hanging another car mileage marker it's time to mark that spot.  I have a little rope on my sun visor.

At location #1 we will be in the vicinity of a large bald eagle nest, and hopefully we will be able to spot it and an eagle or babies.  We have seen it on previous trips, and I know it is currently active.

When we get to location #2, it will be time for a snack.  Kids always like snacks, and this is my method for eliminating the never ending snack begging.

At location #3, we will call our relatives and inform them of our imminent arrival.

If I were traveling with older kids or even teens, I would include a more detailed map, but the marker points would be the sightseeing items, restaurants, and overnight locations we will be stopping at.  Knowing a destination is three days away is one thing, but visually seeing the trip progressing is another thing altogether.

As for the rest of the notebook, I will give the pages to the girls to add, only as restlessness requires, one game or activity at a time.

There is a scavenger hunt available, with a checklist.

If they want to play together, there are tic tac toe and dots games.  

The "Slug Bug" game requires players to find various colored cars.  Whoever finds and checks off the most number of colored cars in a given amount of time wins this game.

There is the traditional "Alphabet Game."  You must find a letter "A" on a sign or billboard, then a "B," etc. until all letters are found.  Letter "Q" usually stalls the game up for a while.  

If we need some quiet time, there are even several pictures to color in a sleeve.  Because these girls love horses, all the pictures to choose from are of horses.

I will probably keep aside half of the activities to use on the ride back home.  I also have an "I Spy" game.  

For the "Bingo" game, I enclosed the game cards each into a quart sized ziploc bag.  That way, instead of having to store and use markers that will slide off the card, a wet erase marker can be used.  Used up bingo cards can be stored in the pocket of the notebook.

There are several pages of jokes that the girls can take turns telling to the rest of us.  Most of them are at an appropriate reading (and knee slapping!) level for our first graders.

There is a sleeve to use for playing the game "Car Bucks."  We will select a word, probably "car" or something else simple and frequently used.  Then whenever a player catches somebody accidentally using that word, they earn a "car buck" to put in their sleeve.  Whoever has the most car bucks at the end of the trip wins a prize.

Finally I have the traditional "License Plate Search" game.  These girls may be a little young for this one, so likely I'll save it for another trip.  I remember playing this game with my family, but we never had any cool printouts to keep track of what we had already seen.

That's about it for this trip.  If the kids were older, I might include an empty sleeve and encourage them to save brochures or maps from places we've visited.  I'd insert dated pages on which they could write lists of things they saw and did each day.  I'd also include a page containing the list of the "Car Bucks" words for each day of the trip. 

I do not think kids should be occupied every single moment of their days.  And as far as this trip goes, I look forward to just hearing the girls tell us all kinds of stuff about their lives, like they usually do.  Sometimes they just like singing silly songs with us.  Sometimes they enjoy watching for farms with horses.  We simply appreciate being together.  

But, I'm armed and ready if any boredom shows its face.   Ready for fun.  Yeah.


  1. That looks like an awful lot of work but I'm sure every minute of it was done in love. I suspect your efforts will be richly rewarded.

  2. they. will. love. this!!!! you are such an amazing garmel. its too bad your craftiness hasnt passed down to me haha. or...maybe the girls just keep me too busy on a daily basis to do these neat things :)

  3. I would enjoy riding with you. "Are we there yet?" "Are we there yet?" "Are we there yet?"

  4. What a great way to keep the kids busy during the drive so mom and dad can better focus on the road.