This is part 2 in response to Amy’s request for suggestions as she embarks upon a 16-day traveling adventure with her family brought to you by Passionate Homemaking’s monthly contributor, Michele Augur.
A road trip is a great opportunity for new experiences and family bonding. But it can also be a potential for sibling bickering and boredom. Here are some suggestions for a more pleasant trip, with a frugal price tag.
- For small children, a “surprise bag” of items you pull out gradually throughout the trip is especially effective for preventing boredom. I stock up through the year for travel activities at thrift stores and bookstore sales, typically purchasing books and craft items for around 10 or 25 cents apiece.
- Schedule plenty of times to “get the wiggles out” and picnic stops for everyone’s sanity. Run races and play games at rest stops or find a park/playground to explore!
- Encourage creativity and teamwork by passing around a project of “drawing prompts” such as from Ed Emberley or Taro Gomi. Take along some “non-messy” art supplies (don’t forget the pencil sharpener!) and clipboards for holding your papers.
- Keep everyone looking out the windows, with games like The Alphabet Game, the Cow Game, or Travel Scavenger Hunt (you can glue magazine pictures on index cards ahead of time for non-readers, instead of writing a list of things to find). “Interactive” games such as Sweet or Sour can be especially hilarious, as passengers attempt to get other passersby to smile!
- Memory games, such as “My Father Owns a Grocery Store” or “Grandma Went to Market” are great group activities. Travel versions of board games, such as Scrabble are also fun. (Check thrift stores and garage sales for these. Or you can often find them during Christmas board game sales. Stock up and stash them away until travel season!)
- Pack some special homeschooling subjects, such as focusing on a foreign language (which can be used in your destination), such as French or Spanish. Nature studies in new environments can also be fun; pack your nature journals to sketch new flora & fauna.
- Stop by a thrift store or used bookstore to pick up a bag of 10 cent paperbacks. You can often find some entertaining classic literature to enjoy on the trip. Mysteries (such as the classic Sherlock Holmes books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) are fun to read aloud and try to solve together.
- If you are taking electronics along, books on tape/CD are perfect for road trips. (Take turns who gets to choose the story.) Focus on the Family Radio Theatre’s productions, such as the Narnia series are entertaining for both parents and children.
- If you have a video camera, assign the “task” of documenting the trip. (Many cell phones now contain this feature.) You will enjoy your teens’ creativity as they conduct interviews, narrate, and ham it up for the camera! You can also give them a hilarious “scavenger hunt” project list to find and record along the way (such as two siblings standing on their head in a hotel elevator!).
- Worship together. Pack along some favorite worship CDs (check your teens’ collection, or pack “Wee Sing” for the little ones) to enjoy in the car. Don’t forget “campfire sing-a-longs” if you’ll be camping!
- Pray together. Keep a routine of family prayer and devotions to stay connected, just as you would at home. This can easily be done after you grab some breakfast and pile into the car, before you drive off. Dinner time can be an opportunity to share about the day’s experiences and address any negative attitudes that might be cropping up in weary travelers. A road trip is a great time to work on Bible memory verses, too!
- For larger families, institute a “buddy system” or “helper of the day,” to help address sibling issues and keep the trip going a bit more smoothly. (This is a good way to incorporate helping each other, prevent losing someone, and designate who gets the “popular seat by the window” for the day.)
I hope you have a joyful trip! Let us know how it goes, Amy!
What are your favorite travel activities? Please share!