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Are you ready for summer road trips with your young ones?
As we head to Delaware for Addie’s surgery, I’m in full prep mode, which, of course, includes what we will do for 300 miles through Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. My typical pre road-trip planning led me to Walmart to stock up on the essentials for being in the car for all those miles. Strolling aisles ticking off my list (plus searching for some spare sanity), I was psyched to have the added benefit of shopping to WIN cash and prizes. Sort of takes one’s mind off of all those miles ahead.
So… here you are asking: How can one survive such a feat with 2 kids, ages 2½ and 5?
- Scavenger hunt to keep those eyes busy. (click to print)
A is for adelaide car scavenger hunt for preschoolers
- A map to help them navigate right along with you! (click to print)
A is for Adelaide Map Your Trip
- iSpy. This classic game is great for passing the time, and while it seems like it can get boring, my kids LOVE when I see green and it isn’t a tree or a car, but the shirt on a guy stuck in traffic next to us. A little creative spying always brings about a smile and is a great way to make it through traffic!
- The license plate game! (click to print)
A is for Adelaide License Plate Game
- Make a playlist! We enjoy a good playlist to keep the music going with what the kids like and we like, so we make a long playlist and cycle through. As we go, Dave or I will pause the song playing and everyone in the car gets to finish the next line together. Undoubtedly, Addie always knows it… and Millie and I always flub it!
Each of these tools help your little ones stay engaged with their surroundings without needing your constant attention!
Hitting the road with kids…
Seems daunting, doesn’t it?
Before every road trip we take (or surge-cation as we’re calling our “vacation” trip for surgery), we make sure we divvy up some goods to pass the time and avoid stops (and emergencies!). This means loading up a cooler with fresh cut veggies, a gallon of water, our own (refillable) water bottles… and a little potty, just in case the girls need to stop before a sanctioned rest stop.
For the first thirty minutes, we all enjoy talking… but as time goes on, unrest settles in. It’s like they know it’s going to be a long trip, so they get the wiggles before they typically would in the car! My first tip is to pass back a crunchy snack- this keeps their mouths busy and who doesn’t love a crunchy treat?
Our fave are RITZ Crisp&Thins. They’re oven baked with 50% less fat per serving than the leading regular fried potato chips, so I feel better about passing them out to the family as we go. Plus, everyone gets their favorite kind to choose from.
*Tip: grab a pack of binder clips while you stroll Walmart. They’re great to reseal your RITZ bag if you don’t finish in one sitting!
For me, I usually settle with my favorite TRIDENT Gum, spearmint. The huge pack of 50 means I always have some on me and it’s my secret to not over-snacking. My husband and kids have the metabolism to enjoy with no ends, but usually I just want to nibble well past hunger because everyone else is. TRIDENT keeps me from bored eating- my secret weapon for road tripping. When you over eat, especially when you’re sitting in a car all day, it can leave you feeling blech. Having TRIDENT gives me fresh breath and I feel good. Can I get an Amen from my fellow fit mamas!? #thestruggleisreal
Ready to play?
When they’re done, I hand them their clip boards preset with their printouts of our route, scavenger hunt, and license plates and they choose their activity. This keeps them going for at least an hour, and gives Dave and I time to enjoy some Wait! Wait! Don’t tell me! on NPR and let the kids explore the outside as we go.
Inevitably the CLUNK! of the clipboard can be heard as they drift off to sleep with the gentle rocking of the highway, which is the mama and daddy’s cue to enjoy some alone time, talk about all the things we don’t get to during the days that are too long but the weeks too short. For these precious moments, I pack my absolute favorite treat: A&W®. The 12oz 8 pack is so convenient for road trips. The small bottles fit perfectly in my cooler behind the seat AND they reseal… which means if the kids wake up, we can quickly put our drinks away for a later nap date. Yes, you guessed it, we’re not the cool parents- our kids don’t know about soda yet!
As they wake…
Now is the time to get them a bit more active! Take a break to stretch your legs and then pump up the jams (did I age myself, there?). My kids think it’s hysterical as we belt out the Beauty & The Beast Soundtrack, but also really love finishing the lines of Adele and Bruno Mars songs. It all just depends on whose song is playing when the track gets stopped! No winners or losers here- but it really keeps everyone on their toes!
Are we there yet?
Since we’ve been to Delaware before, often we play iSpy close to our location, as well as in traffic jams.
It’s a cool way to utilize their maps and track where we are, and there’s always something new being built, which leads to talks of city planning and all sorts of big conversations from there! Like our days and weeks, the miles are long but the trip always too short.
Enjoying our road trips is just as important as enjoying the destination! I’d love to know how you survive long road trips without relying on (too much) technology… but will also share this secret: OUR PARENTS DID IT, TOO! Every time I feel like we’re awful for popping a movie on the tablet as we’re trapped on the GW in NYC going on hour 2, I remember my GameBoy and how that must have been such sweet relief to my parents- especially when they came out with a light for it! We’re all just trying to get those miles to go by with as many smiles as possible, right?
What are some of your road trip tips and favorite car games? I can’t wait to learn a few new ones from you! Click the games above to print out your own copy, and enjoy the miles and memories ahead! Happy summer!