You may be joining the thousands of others traveling for the holidays. Thankfully, my family lives literally across the street, and my husband’s side lives only an hour away, so we have it easy! But since we used to live about 675 miles away from family, I can completely relate to traveling with small children for long distances. Road trips can be challenging, to say the least; but we’ve found some useful ideas for entertaining the family that may help you keep your sanity if you’re traveling this holiday season.
For the Little Ones
If you have toddlers, try these ideas to keep them occupied in the car:
- Arts and crafts. Bring plenty of coloring books and crayons, or drawing paper and colored pencils. Don’t forget a lapboard or other hard surface for them to write or draw on!
- Books with lots of pictures. With these, you can ask them to find as many specific items as they can.
- Books you can read to them. I used to sit in the back seat between our daughters and read them one story after another. They loved it!
- Sing-along or story CDs. Our girls listened to these for hours. It really helped the time pass quickly.
- Snacks. I’ve learned to pack lots of these for long road trips! If our girls were starting to get extra fidgety, I’d give them a sucker, and it would content them for quite a while. Of course, I tried not to load them up with sugar—that can majorly backfire!
- Toys. We would let our daughters choose a few of their favorite toys to play with in their seats. I usually ended up playing silly games with them, not only to entertain them but also to hear their contagious giggles.
For the Older Ones
Traveling with children actually gets easier as they get older because you’re able to play different games with them, such as:
- Twenty questions. It’s a classic time-filler! We like to play a Bible version of this that involves guessing a person, place, or thing mentioned in Scripture. With 66 books to choose from, you can come up with a plethora of possibilities.
- License plate game. Keep track of how many other states each family member can spot on license plates and tally points. Award extra points for license plates from places outside the US, such as Canada.
- Board games. Lots of travel-size board games are available, such as checkers, Trouble, chess, Connect Four, and so on.
- Bible verse game. This one can be especially helpful if you get stuck in traffic. Have each family member quote a verse that starts with a given letter of the alphabet in sequence. For example, for A someone could quote, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” The next person would quote a verse that begins with B, and so forth. References are optional.
If you’re all gamed out, you can listen to a sermon, read, or just spend time talking as a family. Road trips can be great opportunities to connect with and encourage each other in the Lord. Hopefully these ideas will help you on your next long journey!
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Jennifer is a pastor’s wife and mom of two young girls and loves homeschooling them. During her own twelve years of being homeschooled, Jennifer developed a passion for reading and writing. She earned a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and relishes writing during her free time.