"Are we there yet?" I thought I was in trouble the first time I heard my kid say this...until my kid started counting every mile marker! Be proactive and plan a few activities to help children pass the time. Here are some tips to keep children busy while making that long drive to Grandma's!
Pack snacks. Spare your wallet. Pack snacks and avoid the urge to spend beyond your budget! Instead of stocking up at the gas station or pulling off the Interstate to hit up a drive-thru, have snacks already packed and available in the car. Designate a garbage bag for any wrappers to help keep the car clean and organized.
Listen to music. Bring along your favorite CD player, CDs, and headphones. Make sure to pack some extra batteries in case the batteries die out.
Bring books. Here is a good excuse to go visit your neighborhood library. Find some interesting books or magazines that your children can read to pass the time. Activity books are also great for both young and old. Younger children might enjoy coloring books while older children might enjoy word searches or crossword puzzles. Some stores sell travel trays, car organizers, or travel desks that can be placed on the back of your seat to help children organize all there activity sets.
Play games. Some stores sell games that can be played in the car. For example, travel bingo will show a bunch of different pictures or road signs. Every time the players see one of these pictures, they can mark it off. Whoever crosses off a row first wins. Not to mention, there are endless possibilities for portable games that children can bring, such as popular board games that have been converted to a convenient hand held device, learning, or action games.
Watch movies. Portable DVD players allow children to bring their favorite shows with them! Some car's have a DVD player already installed, but make sure to adhere to your local state's laws concerning electronics while driving. Again, don't forget the headphones so the movies are not distracting (or annoying) anyone else in the car.
There are lots of activities parents can plan to help keep their children's mind off of a long car ride. Electronics, portable games, car games, snacks, music, and even reading can make the time move a little faster. Always remember safety first and enjoy the ride.