We have a road trip coming up soon.  The thought sends shivers down my spine.  I’m not a huge fan of road trips.  I’m a nervous driver.  I’m a nervous passenger.  I have four kids.  All these things make road trips REALLY stressful for me.  The last trip we took was over a year and a half ago, for the nuptials of a certain amazing couple.  I’m STILL traumatized from that drive home and have refused to even entertain the idea of an extended car ride until now.  All the “Are we there yets” and the “She’s breathing on me!” echo through my brain.

So, as you know, when something is bothering me, I stew and stew.  And then I obsessively try to fix the situation.  With the help of Pinterest, a good friend, and a few dollars, I think I have solved the keeping the kids entertained on the road.  Here’s what I’ve done to help everyone have a happy time.  Well, maybe not happy (need to manage expectations), but tolerable at least:

Tire Roulette

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This is the family tradition of my dear friend.  She told me I need to write all the kids names on the rear tire.  Every time we stop for the bathroom or more gasoline, we check the tire.  The person whose name is at the top gets a little treat.

Travel Scavenger Hunt

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I found this idea here.  You take an ice cube tray and label each section with something you’d see on a road trip (a red car, a billboard for a restaurant, an airplane).  You put a little treat in the section (a goldfish cracker, a gummy, an M&M) and when they see the thing, they eat the treat.  Easy peasy.

Do Not Open Until

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I found this idea here.  Carter and I discussed our route and I found cities we’d be  driving through.  I bought a bunch of candy and put it into bags labeled with all the cities.  When we reach the city, we’ll open the bag and share the treat.

License Plate Game/I Spy/Travel Bingo/Coloring Pages

How was it possible to parent before the internet?  I don’t know, but I’m glad I don’t have to try.  I found this great website and printed off a bunch of games and coloring pages for when we get desperate.  I also bought these travel bingo pads.

On top of all of this, we hit the library for books and books on tape (I hope we get to  listen to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe first!).  I bought tons of snacks.  Everyone will have access to an iPod.  Carter rigged an iPad for group movies.  I also confiscated the amazing treat bags they were given at an ocean themed birthday party to distribute in the car (we’re headed to the beach).  I have tons of good snacks.  And I have hospital-grade barf bags (the Tire Roulette friend brought them to me).  We have enough to do, right?  Right?  I can survive this.  Right?!?!?

What are your favorite road trip activities?

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