Recently, we went on a BIG road trip. From Ohio to Texas and back, it was 46 total hours on the road. That’s a LOT of time to spend cooped up in a car with 4 kids.
These are the things we did to prepare for our trip:
1. Invest in a DVD player.
I know they are expensive — that’s why we didn’t get one earlier. But we decided that now was the time, so we got the fancy installed kind that flips down from the ceiling. We got a great sale, in conjunction with a military discount so the whole thing installed was under $450. And it was worth every penny.
2. Scour the internet for ideas.
Pinterest was my best friend here. I pinned a bunch of ideas, and made lists of the ones that would be best for my kids’ ages and interests. At the end, I had a list of 14 fun and unique activities.
3. Buy some basics online.
We got a few things on amazon.com – a lap desk for Finn, travel bingo cards, and some Melissa & Doug travel games. I’m in love with this whole line. They are great for both home and on-the-go. They have a license plate game, hangman, bingo, memory, and more.
4. Buy everything possible at the dollar store.
To save money, we bought everything we could at the local dollar store. I spent less than $40 and got TONS of things to keep the kids busy.
Click here for a FREE printable dollar store shopping list!
5. Collect free and cheap movies.
I used my Disney Movie Rewards points to get a few new movies, we got several multi-packs from the Walmart $5 bin, I cashed in other points and gift cards for a few more, and the grandparents bought some too.
We prayed over our home, our van, our travels, and our queasy stomachs. Prayer works!
So when it was time to hit the road, I put all of our activities and new movies on tickets, and taped them onto a piece of construction paper. I put little dots to differentiate between the movies and activities, and I saved half for the way home. All I had to do was say “Choose an orange ticket!” or “Pick a purple one!” We had enough movies and activities to keep them busy every minute of the trip. They literally didn’t have time to say “I’m bored.”
Here is the list of our activities:
* Aluminum foil modeling (give each kid a sheet of foil, instruct them to build a sculpture)
* New coloring books ( x2 )
* Road trip Bingo
* Draw with chalk on black paper
* Lacing cards
* Washi tape pictures (give them a little roll of washi tape and a sheet of construction paper)
* Decorate sock puppets
* Decorate hats
* Pipe cleaner sculptures
* Letter plates (Write the ABCs around the perimeter of a paper plate. Cut them apart so the letters are on tabs. Fold the tabs down as you play. We played this one two different ways: find the actual letter, like on signs or license plates; or find something that starts with the letter.)
* Guess Who (Get some little strips of paper, write down characters from the kids’ favorite movies & tv shows. Then play the classic guess who game, asking yes/no questions until you guess who the person with the paper is. You could also play this with relatives or friends, which would be especially fun if that’s who you were on your way to visit.)
So that’s it! That’s how we survived DAYS in the car with all these blessings.