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How To Make Road Trips More Fun for Your Little Ones

Make Road Trips More Fun for Your Little Ones

As much as a road trip can create wonderful, lasting memories for you and your family … let's face it, road trips can be a handful with kids. The chorus of "Are we there yet?" might seem endless, but it's all part of the joy of family travel, right? … Right?

Luckily, there are ways to turn your family road trips from stressful to blissful with a bit of planning and a sprinkle of creativity. To help ensure your next journey on the open road will be a joyful adventure rather than a stressful trip you sort of regret taking, let’s talk about some ways you can ensure your kids enjoy the journey as much as they’ll love the destination.

Involve Your Kids in the Planning

Start with letting your kids be part of the trip planning. Children love to feel included, and this gives them a sense of responsibility and anticipation. You can show them the route you’re planning on taking and use online services like Roadtrippers to help your kid identify exciting sites and interesting stops you can hit along the way.

You can also let them have some input into where you might be spending the night — maybe in a cozy inn or nestled in a tent in your sleepover beds if your family likes to camp. A good plan also means less likelihood of last-minute surprises. And when your kid has stops to look forward to along the way, they’re less likely to feel like the road trip is going on forever.

By involving them in your planning, it stops being about getting from A to B and starts being about crafting an adventure together.

Keep Hunger Pangs at Bay

A hungry child is not a happy traveler. Pack a variety of healthy, easy-to-eat snacks that your little ones love. Mix it up with fruits, granola bars, cheese sticks, and their favorite sandwiches. This is a vacation, so a few treats won't hurt.

A small cooler can keep drinks and perishables fresh. Think of meal times as mini road trip events, and you'll soon have kids looking forward to the next snack break!

Boredom is Not an Option

Everyone loves a good game — especially kids on a long road trip. Traditional games like I Spy or 20 Questions can be a lot of fun. Audiobooks and sing-alongs are great too, but why not take it up a notch?

Create a personalized scavenger hunt list of things they might spot on the journey. The first to complete the list gets a prize!

Make Their Space Cozy

Comfort is essential during long trips. Ensure each child has a comfy pillow and a blanket, especially if the journey includes nighttime travel. A favorite cuddly toy can also make a world of difference.

You can even get shades to block sunlight from the windows if you’re driving during the day or reading and activity lights that will suction cup to the window to keep your kid entertained during night drives. With the right setup, the backseat can become a cozy nest — they might even catch some ZZZs!

Plan for Breaks and Exploration

Regular stops are not just necessary for bathroom breaks and stretching legs. They are opportunities for exploration and adventure. Discovering a beautiful scenic spot, a historical landmark, or a cool playground can be the highlight of the journey for your kids.

Even a simple picnic in a beautiful roadside setting can create memories that last a lifetime.

Sometimes, Screens Are a Savior

You can dream about keeping your kid active and engaged for the entire road trip without ever having to rely on a screen to entertain them … But as much as we want to limit screen time, sometimes a movie or game can provide much-needed downtime.

Especially if you’re dealing with a young kid who can’t calm themselves down even though you know they’re tired, letting your little ones watch a movie or play a game can help them wind down for a much-needed nap.

If you’re worried about content, there's a myriad of educational apps and games that can keep them engaged while also fostering learning, like Homer, which is customizable to your kids’ age, reading levels, and interests.

Takeaway

Road trips with little kids who have a lot of energy and not a lot of focus or impulse control can be daunting. But with a bit of planning, creativity, and flexibility, you can turn that long journey into a delightful memory for the whole family.

It won’t just make your family trip more enjoyable. It’ll help teach your kids important lessons about planning and patience. Perhaps you’ll start a family tradition that they can pass on later. The destination may be exciting, but making the journey just as fun — that's the real secret.

Bon voyage!

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