It’s spring break time! And for many families, that means road trips. But are you tired of your kids using that time in the car to just glue their eyes to their screens? Our mommy blogger Stephanie has some great ideas for ways to entertain your kids on a road trip, sans device.
On the road again!
Spring break has arrived and summer is quickly approaching, and while that often equates to more vacations and family time, it also means our little ones may be stuck in the car with us for longer periods than usual.
And yes, it’s super convenient to pull out a device, but part of the road trip fun is being able to have conversations with our kids instead of seeing their eyes stuck on a screen.
Below you’ll find a few ways to keep your children entertained while traveling that don’t involve our trusty devices.
No matter what the age, children are best occupied when we can tap into their creative side.
But sometimes that gets tricky in the car with twists, and turns and speedbumps galore.
Enter: travel desks for kids. You can purchase trays that attach to your child’s car seat or—for older kids already in a seat belt—onto the back of the seat in front of them.
The desks often have pockets for water bottles, snacks and—to hold their much-needed art supplies—visit your local store or Amazon for pre-made art kits specifically designed for road trips, and let the hours of creativity begin.
Bonus: When it’s time to eat, they already have a built-in tray.
Books are a sure-fire way to pass the time, but what’s even better (especially for our preschoolers who have short attention spans and can’t read yet) are interactive stories read aloud.
Pinna is the only screen-free, ad-free audio streaming service custom-made for kids ages 3–12. Pinna consists of podcasts, audiobooks and music compilations developed for children that are divided by age, so it’s easy to find the appropriate fit.
From science and fantasy to interactive game shows and mysteries, Pinna has hundreds of hours of stories to pique the interest of any kid.
Lucky for us, there’s even a specific “Road Trip” section!
Sometimes, we just run out of things to say (to our kids and our significant others).
That’s exactly why I turn to conversation cards to fill the silence. There’s plenty of them out there, but my favorites are from Big Life Journal called Growth Mindset Conversation Cards.
This beautifully illustrated deck of cards offers 52 interesting questions including: What challenge or problem did you work on today? What is your favorite way to feel calm? What is one quality you look for in a friend?
Each question helps kids and grown-ups share thoughtful discussions about growth mindset, kindness, resilience, gratitude and more.
Even better, the back of each card features colorful artwork that when put together reveal an artistic scene.
Plan Pit Stops and Pack a “Bag of Fun”
Before venturing out on a long road trip, I do a few things to prepare (which saves my sanity). I map out where we’re going, but also schedule in our stops along the way.
Instead of looking at the trip as a whole, which can be daunting and overwhelming (i.e. 15 more hours until Disneyworld), break it down by hours until that stop at the Chick-fil-a play place or the next Starbucks.
Also, take a trip to the Dollar Store prior to leaving and pack a “Bag of Fun.” This can include anything from art supplies or Mad Libs, to sweet treats and snacks. The trick is, my kids can only ask for one thing from the bag every hour. That helps pass the time and also prevents them from speeding through a bag of goodies right off the bat.
Things automatically seem more manageable when we’ve got reasonable timelines and end goals!
Become a Traveling Band
Your voice will never sound better then when singing in the car!
This one seems silly, but it’s a quick way to pass long stretches of time.
Bring along some instruments or rice shakers, turn on fun music and, when that tires out, start writing your own family song. Take turns making up rhyming lyrics and rehearse it as a family. It gets the kids engaged and moves their minds while their bodies are stuck in a seatbelt.
Stephanie Hanrahan was just your seemingly average housewife until she grew tired of pretending and took an axe to her white picket fence (also known as making her private journal public). Learn how she traded her pretending for a panty liner on Instagram, Facebook, and her blog Tinkles Her Pants, where she chronicles her journey as wife to a husband with chronic illness, mother to special needs kiddos, and a woman who often unravels then finds her footing again.
Photo courtesy of Stephanie Hanrahan.