10 Ideas for Entertaining Your Kids on Summer Vacation
Everyone looks forward to taking off for the campground, across country, or to a favorite warm-weather vacation spot when summer finally arrives. Smaller children
pick up on the excitement and when the big day comes, everyone’s on board and the crew is soon on the road.
Then comes the inevitable question. “Are we there yet?”
You’d like to say yes but you can’t. It’s going to be a very long day in the car.
Here are some ways to channel all of that inquisitiveness and energy into fun that
everyone will remember.
Count out-of-state license plates. Kids love a little friendly competition. Keep tabs on who can spot plates from out of your area first.
Use a magnetic checker board. Travel games are a big hit and when they can’t be
spilled by fidgeting or deliberate board-tipping, they’re even better. Most magnetic
games are small enough to keep in the car all of the time.
Have an art contest. Crayons or colored pencils can channel creativity and keep
young minds occupied for a long time. Keep the artwork to use as inserts for
greeting cards later on.
Oversee a tic-tac-toe championship. This ageless game requires only a couple of
pencils and a few pieces of paper.
Have special treats planned and let them know it. Make food and fluids available
throughout the trip but keep special treats to celebrate milestones along the way.
Kids love M&Ms and other inexpensive candies that come in manageably small
packages that you can pass around when the time comes. Kids excitedly await the
arrival of designated spots on the map.
Play “I See”. This game allows a player to look out of the car and focus on something that is observable to everyone in the car over a long period of time. This player says “I see” and everyone else has to guess what it is. Players ask for clues such as “what color is it?” Kids love it.
Focus on observing. Compile a list of things kids can be looking for and the first one to spot the item you bring up gets a point. Small children can be looking for red cars and telephone poles. Older boys can be asked to look for Chevrolet pickups and basketball hoops. Girls might be enticed to play by trying to find billboards with a romantic twist or vanity license plates.
Travel movies work for the long trips. Small DVD players can be plugged into the
outlet and help pass the hours.
Have kids use a map. Many children enjoy following the trip’s progress on a road
map. This activity also teaches valuable navigational skills apart from a GPS.
Frequent stops are one of the best ways to handle a road trip. Get the kids out of
the car at a rest stop and let them play tag, throw a ball around, or race across
the grass. Cooping up young children in a car for hours at a time is only asking for
trouble. Get that energy out and active in a positive way.
Keeping children entertained on a family vacation takes forethought and age-graded creativity. Being on vacation can be a disaster to be endured or a great time of fun and togetherness. Strive for the latter and make this a vacation to remember.
Nicole Rodgers has been blogging for 3 years; she currently helps teens with their DMV prep and budgeting once they get to college.
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