Its Easter! And for many families that means the car will be loaded, the kids will be packed in too and a road trip to friends, more family or adventure begins. Longer road trips can take a little bit of extra preparation so here are a few things I do to save the car from internally imploding before we reach our destination…
- Pack sick bags, wet wipes, and water. This hat trick has saved me more times than I care to count. Before you pack anything else these babies go in first.
- Pack a lunch box for each child. When you’re trying to muster the strength just to get the suitcases in the car this can feel like an optional extra, but ultimately I find my children happily nibbling is a lot more relaxing for me than my children unhappily whining. So I just do it.
- Create a cruising playlist. Good music makes the time pass beautifully, however it’s hard to keep everyone happy in a small confined space when there are generational differences involved. Get each passenger (and the driver) to pick 5 of their favourite songs and then create a road trip playlist with everyone’s preferences. Just make sure you press shuffle.
- Have some ‘in your head’ games ready. Yes, the kind that require no materials whatsoever. Some suggestions include:
- Eye Spy – you can play the easy version with reading age kids or the really hard (but totally hilarious) version with toddlers (when its fairly obvious the letter will nowhere near resemble the word that it starts with – good luck). Another option here is to view the scene around you as one of those ‘find the object on the page’ books. For example: Who can see a bird? Who can see something red? etc ;
- Car Cricket – on a busier road this is a counting game where when its your turn to ‘bat’, each car you pass = 1 run. Trucks = 6 runs, cars with trailers or caravans = 4 runs, and red cars = out! And then its the next person’s turn;
- Spot the windmills (or pick another landmark that might intermittently pop up on your road eg gates, bridges, livestock);
- For reading age kids go through the alphabet and try and come up with a child’s name for each letter. There are plenty of different versions to this scenario eg a type of food for each letter etc;
- Comparison questions. We had an awesome family discussion following this concept just a couple of weeks ago. Just start with a question… What would you prefer, to swim a 25mtr race or run 100mtr race? What would you prefer, to eat lasagne or chops? Keep going with your own questions and the kids are sure to start thinking about a few of their own. (Ruby (age 6) had us all thinking hard about whether we’d prefer to keep an eyeball or our teeth!) Hmmmm (both thanks), anyway, that aside, this exercise will soon find you discovering more about your children and in turn they will find out more about you. As children get older this is also a brilliant way to instigate in-depth chats about deeper issues. Yep, I love this one.
- Pack a small bag with colouring-in pens, books, and a small toy for each child.
No doubt there are plenty of other great ideas families consider when taking long road trips. I’d love to hear them so please feel free to comment in the box below. And in the meantime have a safe and happy Easter on and off the road.
Words and Images: Rachel Walker