Just a little bit further…

Win the materials to make your own road trip activity kit.  Keep reading for details.

By:  Kelly Driver

In the coming week, We Travelers Three will be hitting the road.  We have planned a Southern Ohio “Staycation” and can’t wait to pack up and take off to explore some great family friendly sites right here in Ohio.  

We don’t go on road trips that often, the farthest we’ve gone was to Grand Haven, Michigan and back, but we do make the 4-hour trip to the Detroit area pretty often.  This trip to Hocking Hills and Cincinnati is only a couple of hours but it got me to thinking about ways to keep the little ones occupied while on a longer road trip. 
The obvious solution is a portable DVD player or hand-held gaming system however I wanted to find some other options, using the electronic variety as a last resort.
One fun activity to get the kids excited about the road trip as well as feel part of the planning is to have them help you create a Playlist of some favorite songs for the initial departure period.  Throw in some songs about driving, road trips or songs about places you’ll be going through as well as your destination (if you can find some).
A few that we have found in our collection:
1.   On The Road Again – Willie Nelson (an obvious choice)
2.   Life Is A Highway – Rascal Flatts (from the CARS Soundtrack)
3.   East Bound and Down – Jerry Reed (from Smokey and the Bandit)
If you would like to get this Road Trip Playlist all the songs can be found on iTunes.

We’ve mixed these songs in with some Disney Princesssongs,  Imagination Movers, Backyardigans and others of Sydney’s choice.
Since our trip is only a couple hours we want to try to make the playlist last as long as our drive.
After figuring out some of the songs I decided to find some ideas that would work for us and other families for longer road trips.  With the cost of airfare on the rise families are opting for road trips which means finding things for the kids to do.
I found a lot of great ideas but some of the best were from Disney’s Family Fun June/July 2012 issue.  
In an article titled “Are We There Yet?” the author Charlotte Meryman compiled the top 10 readers’ ideas for keeping things playful and stress-free on the road.
All the ideas were great but there were three that really stood out to me and I think that we will try out on this short road trip.

Instant Lap Desk
Photo:  Mark Mantegna

“Every summer our family makes the 17-hour drive from Ohio to New Hampshire,” says Cincinnati native Amanda Nobbe, mom of a 3-year-old and a toddler.  “We travel with cookie sheets and a plastic tote filled with playthings. Easily held on a lap, a cookie sheet can be used as a surface for coloring, playing with magnets and Bendaroos, or holding a snack. It’s an inexpensive alternative to a car-seat lap desk, and when it’s not in use, it fits in the back pocket of the seat.”

Hunt For Fun

Photo:  Steven Vote
Amy Malaise of Petaluma, California, helps her kids explore their vacation destinations with a scavenger hunt prepared in advance. She glues pictures of the items they’re looking for onto index cards (one apiece), then laminates the cards, punches a hole in one corner, and hooks them on a ring for portability. Items vary with the destination but might include nature finds, landmarks, public art, or eye-catching buildings. “You can use your own photos if you have visited the spot before,” she says, “or look on the Internet for information about the place.”

and my favorite…

Souvenir Ornament

Photo:  Steven Vote
The Brunicardis of Galloway, Ohio, have found a clever way to savor vacation memories: they preserve small mementos from each trip, such as ticket stubs and nature finds, in an inexpensive, clear plastic ornament ball. Each Christmas, they’re reminded of all the great places they’ve been.

I would love to hear some of the ways that you entertain your kids on road trips, whether travel songs or activities.  Leave a comment and be entered to win the materials to make your own lap desk, scavenger hunt book and souvenir ornament.   I’ll do a random drawing on or around August 20th.

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