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On The Road Again – Tips For Traveling With Kids

Animals For Sale April 26, 2017

ARE WE THERE YET?

If I had a dollar for every time my 8 year-old said this in the course of his life, I could probably fill up my car with gasoline for a year. It is a question my son constantly asks, and it is one I asked my parents more times than I’d like to admit. And, while there is a valuable lesson to learn on patience here, teaching that to an 8 year-old when in the midst of a multi-state trip is not the most ideal time to do it. So, distraction tactics are necessary.

So, on a quest to at least curb this question that, when asked, sounds like the proverbial fingernails on a chalkboard, I found a few nuggets of wisdom to use with my son that allow him to enjoy the trip as well as myself.

1. The Alphabet Game – this is, by far, our favorite game. There are multiple variations, but here are a couple of our “standards”. Play the A to Z Animal game where, starting with letter A, everyone tries to name as many animals as they can that begin with that letter. When no more can be named, move on to the next letter. Another variation of this is the A to Z Sign game. Starting with letter A, each person searches for a sign with that letter. Once a sign is found, move on to the next letter.

2. Bury Your Animals – this game works great for long, country road trips.

Each person (or team if everyone is playing) keeps up with the number of animals seen out their side of the car. But, when a cemetery is passed (or a sign indicating a cemetery), all animals counted for that person have to be “buried” and counting starts over at 1 again.

3. I Spy – a timeless classic in the travel game world, there are many variations on this. You can spy by color, by shape, by amount, by clues.

My younger son LOVES this game – it is one we play quite often, no matter how long or short the trip!

4. Map It – State maps can be found relatively inexpensively (or even free at state visitor centers). Acquire one for your young traveler, and have him or her map out their route as you travel. As you pass landmarks on the map (highways and roadside parks), move your “track” from a pencil or pen along the route to indicate your position. This is an awesome visual for seeing exactly how far along on the trip you are.

5. Pull Out The Paper – We are notorious for our mail during trips, so have the kids make cards along the way to send to themselves! They will get a thrill creating their own mail, and imagine their surprise when they receive it in the mailbox after coming back home!

While these ideas haven’t eliminated the “are we there yet” syndrome, they have significantly reduced it. Now I get to hear, “Let’s do that again!” which is a lovely melody compared to the other.

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