At some point in our lives, we viewed road trips (especially spontaneous ones) as the epitome of freedom and summer adventure. We sang along to our favorite mix tapes and drove late into the night, eating gas station candy with impunity. This phase in your life probably happened before you had children, right?
At times, road trips with kids can look more like a backseat full of monkeys with high-pitched little voices arguing over what music to listen to and begging to stop for the bathroom every 45 minutes. Plus, they don’t always handle spontaneity that well either.
But take heart, weary moms! Road trips with kids can still be fun—not to mention they can turn into an amazing family bonding experience. All you need is a little preparation for keeping your kids sufficiently happy and entertained.
Plan a Disney Movie Karaoke Sing Along
This may sound like a lot of extra work, but it’s actually pretty easy and will get the whole family jamming out together. Choose some of your family’s favorite Disney ballads, like Frozen’s “Let it Go,” Beauty and the Beast’s “Belle” (“I want much more than this provincial life!), and the Lion King’s “I Just Can’t Wait to be King.” You can download your family’s favorite songs on iTunes, if you don’t already have them, both the original versions and the karaoke versions (the instrumentals but not the singer’s voices) and make a personalized playlist for the car. Print out some copies of the lyrics, or let your kid use a smart phone to look them up, and then bust out with your singing styling together.
Make Car Time Art Time
This one may sound counterintuitive. Who wants a bunch of finger paint smears all over their car upholstery? But this is your chance to show off how creative you can be without using messy materials. Little miniature magnet doodle boards work really well for a non-messy car situation. The kid’s art section at your local craft or toy store will also have a plethora of cool coloring books with special pens that only work on those pages. Finally, sticker book projects can be a really entertaining art activity with very little potential for a mess.
Make a Reward/Treasure/Surprise Box
This one is so easy. Compile a collection of lots of little toys, games, and treats, and either bring out a new one every hour, whenever your child demonstrates good car-ride manners, or whenever you need to prevent a meltdown with colorful distractions. The best kind of item, in this case, is usually something that provides a little activity, like a small puzzle. Some of our favorite items to toss in the treasure box include our Despicable Me 3 Nail Art Collection, which contains stick-on nails and decals, so they won’t make a mess and the TownleyGirl 4Ever Friends Cosmetic Set, which includes two of everything (no fighting!) and a handy little carrying case that’s perfect for travel.