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How to Keep Kids Entertained on a LONG Car Trip

Updated on June 19, 2012

Long Road Trip Ahead?

Summer is here! Wahoo! I am thrilled. I LOVE summer vacation! So do my kids. We live for this time of year. No schedules, no homework, no lunches to make! We are free!

The only thing about summer that sometimes (ok, not just sometimes) makes me wince is the LONG CAR ride. We travel in our car A LOT. We can bring all of our stuff with us and we save a LOT of money, so for us, it is the way to go. My kids have grown up in the car during the summer. They really do rock when it comes to long car trips. But, with various ages in the car, there have been times when I have had to come up with some pretty creative ways to keep them all entertained.

I am not a big believer in TV the whole way (sadly, according to my husband). I think they should look out the window, daydream, read, play, fight, etc.... I think car rides are HUGE character builders (yes, my kids think I am nuts).

But, sometimes, they need a little help in the "What can I do" department. So, with that in mind, here is a book I made for one of our longer trips a while back. I made one for each kid. They were all the same, but each kid could fill it out as they chose, decorate it the way they wanted to, or just toss it in their backpack and forget about it.

I scoured the Internet for printable activities. Some of them were:

License Plate games

Find the Difference pictures

Scavenger Hunts

Puzzles

Find the Animal game

Mad Libs

Hangman

I added some of my own creations:

A TO DO list for when they were bored

How many words can you make out of these letters

Scavenger Hunts

Dot to Dot

Find Something with each Number - 1-10

Fine Something in each Color

Tic Tac Toe

Blank Pages (just because)

You can also include:

Maps that they can keep track of toward your destination

Color by Number pages

Coloring Pages

Fun Facts on your destination

Fun Facts about the states you will be driving through

Questions to ask you or siblings (ie: where were you born, how old were you when you started college, what was your major, your first boss's name, what was your phone number as a child, etc...)

END PRODUCT

Once I had all these printed out from the computer, or created, I copied them. Then I bound them in a book. If you don't have a binding machine, staples work just fine.

I presented each kid with the book during the car ride. I didn't want them to have it ahead of time - knowing them, they would finish it and be more bored during the ride.

They were a HUGE hit. The kids loved them. It gave them something to do when the iPods got boring or we were on a long stretch of road without anything but corn!

The cool thing about these, is that you can create them any way you want. If you have a pre-reader, you can find things with just pictures, so that there is no frustration of not being able to read the text. Or, you can make them harder for older kids. You create it any way you want.

This is one of those super easy things to do. I loved creating them. The kids have also kept them as a memory of our road trip. I think they are still looking for some of the license plates we did not find!

Enjoy!

I made the cover blank so that they could decorate them as they saw fit.
I made the cover blank so that they could decorate them as they saw fit.
This is a TO DO list.  When they said that they were bored, I directed them to this list and told them to do something off of that list.
This is a TO DO list. When they said that they were bored, I directed them to this list and told them to do something off of that list.
HOW MANY WORDS CAN YOU MAKE out of these letters?  Answer:  A LOT!
HOW MANY WORDS CAN YOU MAKE out of these letters? Answer: A LOT!
LICENSE PLATE game from Momsminivan.com.  I think some of the kids are still looking for Rhode Island and Maine.
LICENSE PLATE game from Momsminivan.com. I think some of the kids are still looking for Rhode Island and Maine.
A FIND THE DIFFERENCE IN THE PICTURES (from FamilyFun.com)  and a SCAVENGER HUNT game.  So easy to create on your own or look up on the Internet.
A FIND THE DIFFERENCE IN THE PICTURES (from FamilyFun.com) and a SCAVENGER HUNT game. So easy to create on your own or look up on the Internet.
CAN YOU FIND THIS CAR?  from Enchantedlearning.com.  Awesome!
CAN YOU FIND THIS CAR? from Enchantedlearning.com. Awesome!
DOTS and FIND ANIMALS FROM A TO Z.  This kept them busy for a while.  A long while.....
DOTS and FIND ANIMALS FROM A TO Z. This kept them busy for a while. A long while.....
FIND SOMETHING IN EACH COLOR.   You would not believe how many yellow and orange cars there are out there!
FIND SOMETHING IN EACH COLOR. You would not believe how many yellow and orange cars there are out there!
MAD LIBS (remember them from when we were kids???).  They are still awesome.  These I found at teach_nology.com.  There were a lot in this book.
MAD LIBS (remember them from when we were kids???). They are still awesome. These I found at teach_nology.com. There were a lot in this book.
More MAD LIBS and some HANGMAN games from free-puzzles.net.  We LOVE Hangman.
More MAD LIBS and some HANGMAN games from free-puzzles.net. We LOVE Hangman.
TIC TAC TOE rocked and some more MAD LIBS.
TIC TAC TOE rocked and some more MAD LIBS.
Some blank pages for coloring, notes, etc....
Some blank pages for coloring, notes, etc....
I bound it up with a binding machine.  But, staples work just as well.  Office Max and Kinko's will bind for you as well.
I bound it up with a binding machine. But, staples work just as well. Office Max and Kinko's will bind for you as well.

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