As a mother of three, I can tell you, the thought of taking a vacation seems like a good idea during the planning stages.
ME: The kids are going to love going to Disney World! We should totally surprise them with this trip and film it for YouTube! Should we fly or drive?
MY HUSBAND: Let’s drive. Getting there is half the fun!
Moms, I think we can all agree, our husbands are sometimes delusional about what is “fun”.
But here we are, Moms, staring at the face of Spring Break. And we’re wondering how we’re going to keep these kids entertained in a car for two days.
Meanwhile, here is what your husband is thinking about:
As someone who has traveled far with her three little minions, I have a few tricks up my sleeve.
Moms everywhere can rejoice! Steve Jobs has handed us a music and gaming device, and by golly, that thing keeps kids of all ages entertained.
Most likely you will not be traveling with wifi access in your vehicle, so be sure to download a bunch of games before you leave the house. I love it that I can download a variety of games, and many are under $1 or totally free. When they get sick of one game, you just get them another one. You don’t have to break the bank to keep them entertained.
Here are some of our favorite iPod games for children:
- Anything from the Angry Birds line-up (All Ages)
- Bugs and Buttons (Little Kids)
- Where’s My Water? (All Ages)
- Cut the Rope (All Ages)
- Jelly Car 2 (Big Kids)
- Anything from the Toca Boca company (Little Kids)
- Minecraft (Big Kids)
- Elmo’s Monster Maker (Little Kids)
- Ticket to Ride (Big Kids)
- World of Goo (Big Kids)
Why not watch a movie? Movies kill time, and they keep the little ones engaged. If your vehicle didn’t come equipped with a DVD player, you could use your laptop or purchase a portable DVD player for the trip. They even make portable DVD players that will attach to the headrests of the driver’s and passenger’s seat.
The Alphabet Game
The Alphabet Game is a lot of fun, and you’re kids don’t even have to be old enough to read. They just need to be able to recognize letters.
The family just takes turns looking for the next letter in the alphabet. You can find the letters on road signs, license plates, bumper stickers, or billboards.
Do you remember those cheesy songs from Girl Scout Camp? Now’s the time to revisit them.
The other day! The other day!
I met a bear! I met a bear!
Out in the woods! Out in the woods!
A way out there! A way out there!
In Northwest Ohio, we don’t have mountains. I’ll never forget the first time my kids rode over a mountain. They thought we were on a roller coaster ride.
Why not take this time to learn a little bit about the lay of the land you’re driving through. Don’t remember much from geography class? That’s okay. Your fancy smart phone has internet access. You can Google it.
Stops Along the Way
I think it would be fun to see the world’s largest ball of twine. Your kids will think that’s fun, too.
Roadside America has plenty of fun activities that beat stopping at a dirty rest stop, where you spend your time begging the children not to touch anything.
You didn’t think a Volkswagen car dealership would let you escape without this old favorite, did you?
Change the game to Volkswagen! to keep the kids from touching each other, since there’s really nothing more annoying than hearing, “Stop touching me!”
To play Volkswagen!, you score 1 point for each VW you properly identify. For example, if you’re the first to say, “VW Bug!” when you spot a Beetle, you get 1 point. But if you say, “VW Jetta!”, and it’s really a VW CC, you lose 1 point.
Rent a Van
You might not want to put the miles on your SUV, or maybe you have a small car. When going on vacation, you need a van. Rent a fancy one with DVD players already installed. Let the kids spill juice boxes and drop potato chips in someone else’s ride.
Click HERE for van rental coupons. Mention you read this blog post, and we will give you $50 off a van rental (excluding cargo vans) or $150 per week for any car rental.
Snacks = Full Belly = Sleeping Kids
If all else fails, give them something to eat. If they are chewing, they probably have their mouths too full to cry or whine. Full bellies are also good for falling asleep in the car.
And when the minions fall asleep, you and your husband can have an adult conversation about how you’re going to fly the next time, while listening to the 80’s on 8 (because Duran Duran beats Justin Beiber any day of the week).
After all, nap time is when the road trip with kids finally becomes fun for the mom.
What road trip tips do you have to share?
Meredith Soleau is the Human Resources Director for Ed Schmidt. She has lots of kids. Like, lots. We’re pretty sure she spent three years of her employment with us… pregnant. It makes us happy when she brings her “little minions” in for a visit. They think their mommy’s work environment is the coolest place ever. We couldn’t agree more. Connect with Meredith on LinkedIn.