How to Keep the Kids Busy on a Summer Road Trip

When school is out for the summer, the world is at your feet. If your family is looking to travel sensibly this summer, a great way to make your way to every destination is with a road trip. Hopefully, you have the luxury of recalling some of your own vacations as a child. The best memories are not always the place you were but the people you were with. If you want to create similar experiences for your child, then a great place to start is with a summer road trip.

Learning to incorporate a car ride into the adventure of a summer road trip can make your trip much more enjoyable for everyone. You can use technology, creativity, and even plan surprises. An activity binder for each child encourages both independent and group play. Family road trips are a cause for fun and celebration but taking every precaution to be safe on these trips is essential.

Ten ways you can keep your kids busy on your summer road trip this year are:

1. Make Travel Activity Kits: No matter the age of your children, making a road trip a novel experience that is more than just a typical car ride creates the feel of a vacation. An activity binder for each child encourages both independent and group play.

Some of the best activity kits are made from a few simple pieces like notebook paper, a folder, a zip-up pencil pouch, and a trapper keeper/zip up binder. Inside the binder you can include things that are interesting to your kids like sticker books, logic puzzles, card games, small toys, travel activity books, writing activities, and more.

2. Play Travel Versions of Your Favorite Games: Most board games have travel versions that are easy to play in the car. For example, Scrabble’s travel version is smaller and the letter tiles snap into place so a pothole doesn’t lead to a destroyed board. Invest in a few family favorites for your children to play. Games like Uno, Clue, Trouble, Mancala, Scrabble, and even Monopoly are all available in inexpensive travel sizes. There are also many games that can be played by one person like magnetic crossword puzzles and magnetic word puzzles.

3. Spend Some Time on Enrichment Activities: According to the National Summer Learning Association, students typically score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer vacation than they did on the same tests at the end of the school year. Enrichment activities like reading challenges, writing practice, math puzzles, and even Brain Games can keep your child’s mind working on an intellectual level. Learning should be fun so even let your kid choose the type of activities in which they want to participate.

4. Use Movies to Your Advantage: There is nothing wrong with using technology to your advantage and putting in a movie every once in a while. If your car does not have a DVD player, there are portable players, video game systems, and even smart phones and tablets that can play movies for you. When using a smartphone or a laptop, be sure to download your movie to the device prior to the trip or else you might find yourself paying high data costs on your mobile network.

5. Variations of Popular Word Games: If your children are old enough to write, you can play various popular word games. One of the most popular favorites is to pack a clipboard with printed paper that includes a line for each letter of the alphabet A through Z. You then choose topics and every family member must think of an example relating to that topic from A to Z.

Many families time the game depending on the age of your children. Some sample topics are movie titles, animals, and food but we encourage you to get creative with your ideas.

6. Encourage Your Children to Read: On every road trip, no matter how many activities you have there will be a time where you just want a little bit of silence. Before the road trip, make an event out of going to the bookstore or library and encourage your kids to get “too many” books. An interest in the ocean can lead into a passion for Jacque Cousteau, sea turtles, or even erosion. You never know what your child may discover on your family road trip.

7. Play the Classic Game “Guess What I’m Thinking”: Perfect for every age, this game has the basic rules of guessing what the person you are asking questions is thinking. This game also allows for variations in the rules such as setting a limit on the number of questions asked.The game is simple: Guess what the person is thinking. There are variations like “Guess What I Am” and “Guess Who I Am” if you get bored with “Guess What I’m Thinking”.

8. Invent a Story with the Picnic Game: This game is fun but also improves memory building. The story always starts the same. A family member starts by saying “I went to a picnic on Sunday and I brought…” and they finish the sentence with a food starting with the letter ‘A’. After this, the next person repeats what the first person added, and then chooses a food starting with a ‘B’. This game goes on until someone messes up! (If you need an alphabet cheat sheet, get out the paper from the word game in #5).

9. Celebrate by Studying Every Town or State: Depending on where you are going, you can pay attention to states, cities, or towns by celebrating every time you enter a new place. Using a phone or tablet, everyone searches for a fun fact about the place you are now driving through. Soon enough, your kids will be swapping facts and inadvertently learning about the place you visited.

10. Get the Family Involved in Road Trip Bingo: On your travel clip boards you can also add printed out bingo cards with street signs printed on them. As family members see street signs they cross off what they have seen until they get bingo. This game suits people of all ages and can turn competitive very quickly.

Family road trips are a cause for fun and celebration but taking every precaution to be safe on these trips is essential. From pre-trip maintenance to never driving tired, you can keep your family safer by taking minor precautions.

If you are worried about the safety of your family following a car accident, visit or contact the personal injury lawyers at Glotzer and Kobren today at (561) 361-8677. You don’t owe until we win the case.