We spend a lot of time in our cars and, now that fall is here, we travel a lot. Family weekend trips to apple orchards and pumpkin patches are in full swing. And many of us have started holiday shopping…at least for Halloween. While getting out is fun, keeping our kids entertained during car travel is often not. Kids get hungry, bored, and want to watch something. But rather than indulging them on your next outdoor road trip, why not try something different.
Below are 5 fun travel activities that you can do with your kids in the car that get them thinking and laughing.
Travel Activity #1 – Listen to an audio book.
This is a great activity to do on so many levels. Young children love listening to stories and they get the benefit of hearing complex grammatical structures that can be absent from some children’s books. So many print books come with audio CDs, so your child can read along during travel and develop his or her skills.
For your older children, let them choose the audio book. Maybe they’ll pick a book they are currently reading in school or a book they have always wanted to read. This is a great way to show interest in your child and make a connection without “saying” anything. Allowing them to make this choice shows their opinions are valued, and it’s a great way for the family to “read” a book together!
Bonus – Play a foreign language CD course or songbook, and discover the joys of language learning.
Travel Activity#2 – Bring a family grab bag.
Keep a grab bag filled with family objects. Choose an object, and take turns telling the family stories behind it. You’ll have a lot of fun hearing different points of view on a special family memory. It’s an excellent bonding activity and a great way to help children work on their oral presentation skills–which are so needed in today’s world of emojis!
Bonus – Get the kids to bring their own grab bag of special items to “show and tell.”
Travel Activity #3 – Hold a spelling bee.
When was the last time you asked your child to spell something? Spelling is a skill we often don’t think about unless we are writing. And today, it’s an underdeveloped skill due to social media or cell phone text abbreviations.
Use car time to review weekly spelling lists with your younger children. Play a spelling game with your older ones. Use your current location to generate unique words, and make a game out of it. Let the kids test you, too, and everyone will feel smart and appreciated.
Bonus – Hold a math bee, or pick any subject and generate vocabulary words to spell and discuss.
Travel Activity #4 – Play “Fact or Fiction.”
Kids love this one. Fact or Fiction is a popular icebreaker game that generates interesting discussions. Simply tell three facts about yourself, two of which are true, and one of which is a false. Then everyone has to guess the true facts from the false one.
Bonus – Get really silly with your younger kids, and pick facts that can generate purposeful discussions with your older kids.
Travel Activity#5 – Plan a stop just for them.
Who says you have to go from Point A to Point B without a little fun? Let your kids have a say in the trip, and plan ahead for a special stop that they want to visit. This is especially useful for those far away shopping trips that drive kids nuts. Maybe your child wants to visit a special playground or a great CD store. Whatever it is, plan for the stop ahead of time so that everyone has something to look forward to.
Bonus – Break out maps, and help your children get to know those hidden local treasures better!