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Road trip prep ideas for families

How to Prep for a Family Road Trip

bloggers Sisters of Red have some great ideas

We all love a good road trip. But let’s face it, prepping for a road trip can be overwhelming. How do you know what you really need versus what you just want to take? (Raise your hand if you’re like us and take three too many pairs of shorts for a two-day trip.)

To help you prep for your upcoming adventure, we chatted with bloggers Sisters of Red about how they prep with their kiddos.

The women tell us that they “love going on road trips as a family, but with kids ranging from toddlers to pre-teens, it can be hard to sit still in a car for 3 (or more) hours at a time.” And sure, putting on a few movies is great and all, but the ladies prefer to limit their kids’ screen time on trips so they can interact with each other and make family memories. “Family road trips are about spending quality time together, so we try not to sit in silence in front of a screen,” they say. “Naptime is a different story, though!”

After they’ve taken multiple road trips, the Sisters of Red have found some fun activities that their kids love and keep them entertained—including some to do as a family. “Since tackling the challenges of being a mom, teacher and coach to our kids for the past two months, we have had to get a little creative,” they explain. “We are not your typical DIY mamas, but we do have some helpful tips and tricks!”

First, come up with some crafts for your car.

Create a Travel Journal or Scrapbook

“Your journal can be homemade with construction paper and yarn or you can simply use a notebook,” they say. “Encourage your kids to draw a picture of something they spot, or something memorable about the journey.”

The older kids may enjoy this time to try out scrapbooking for the first time. “In Ziploc bags, bring old pictures from your childhood and young adult years,” they suggest. “Have each kid go through them to create [their] scrapbook. This is a fun way for kids to see your memories of growing up, and it sparks some fun and often-humorous stories. Kids are always super inquisitive and want to know more about their parents’ and when they were young.”

Below are some Amazon options the women suggest to get your kids started on a homemade journal or scrapbook, and other fun crafts:

Wikki Stix

The two say these craft supplies are a fun way for kids to be creative, but still keeps the mess at bay. “My boys (pre-teens) love Wikki Stix and love to create lots of different projects with them,” says Molly.

Second, come up with some family games.

Road Trip Bingo

“Amazon has a great set for traveling bingo,” they say. “You spot common road trip sightings and mark your board to win. The kids have so much playing!”

Play the State License Plate Game

“Challenge your kids to see if they can name all 50 states, or for the younger ones, have a checklist ready to go,” they recommend. “Cross off the names of each state as you see them on license plates on your journey. The highest number of states crossed off is the winner.”

Create a Family Playlist

To create a family playlist, the women suggest that every family member gets to choose a few of their favorite songs and add them to the playlist. “Everyone gets a little of what they like, and you get to introduce your kids to some of your favorites,” they say.

For the Older Kids, Bring Some Mad Libs

Mad Libs kill time and are a lot of fun. “They are also a great way to teach your kids vowels, nouns and adverbs, and always provide a great laugh,” the two say.

Third, bring on the snacks.

Pack a treasure chest

“The kids love having their own Art Bin to decorate with stickers and markers, but we also like to fill it up with some of their favorite snacks and small toys,” they say. “When they get to decorate and fill it themselves, they’re excited about what’s inside! You can check out this snack box treasure chest as well.

Turn snacking into an activity

This easy car ride activity calls for string and cheerios, that’s all! “The kids have fun making bracelets and necklaces that they can snack on later,” they say.

 Fourth, reward good behavior.

Reward Ideas

The sisters’ kids are rewarded when they don’t complain between state lines. “It’s a great way to teach them to enjoy the ride,” they note. Some rewards they use include: the winner gets to pick their favorite restaurant; an extra treat for dessert; stay up extra 30 minutes past bedtime; and skip a chore of their choice.

Plan Your Stops

The sisters also suggest planning your stops in advance to get the kids excited, and let them see where you are in your drive. “If your child is old enough, pull out an old-fashioned map and let them track your journey,” they say.

Have a No Technology Contest

This is where you can see who can stay off technology the longest. “Reading and audiobooks are allowed” they note, “and the winner gets to pick out a fun souvenir to remember your travels.”

How do you prep for a road trip with the kiddos? Tell us at editorial@dfwchild.com.  

Image courtesy of iStock.