As my kids get older, one thing that I think will interest them on our family road trips is keeping tabs on where we are. Last night, my son asked me where our hotel was...I believe he asked if it was going to be in Cincinnati which is a place he is familiar with.
You should have seen his face light up when I told him that the hotel we are staying in is in North Carolina! This is a state he has never been to so I know this is crazy exciting for him. I then went on to tell him that from the time we leave until the time we get there, we will be going through 7 different states...
...and his jaw dropped!
In the interest of allowing my littles to follow along with where we're at any given moment, I decided to put together a folder of maps documenting our trip.
They each have their own color and I drew their initial on the front. Here is what the BIG littles have in their folders:
Maps that I printed from Google Maps that detail our trip in about 2 hr time segments.
I decided to go ahead and add some games that I found at Moms Minivan. Below is Road Trip Bingo for smaller children.
Tic Tac Toe
Lines and Dots (I can't tell you how many times I drew this game out and played it when I was a kid!)
And a car scavenger hunt.
At this point, I have only put the road trip bingo in my 2 yr old's folder. I think the maps are beyond her but I didn't want to leave her out of the "folder" that he big bro and sister get. I'm thinking on going ahead and adding the scavenger hunt though.
Here are a few thoughts I had:
Use page protectors!!
The littles can use dry erase markers or dry erase crayons to write on the page protectors and it will wipe right off. Then all of these can be reused for the trip home (and subsequent road trips in the future).
Another idea I found on Prepared Not Scared were called "car bucks." Unfortunately, the file download is no longer working! :( So, I created my own to use in the same way.
I also created my version in printable form if you would like to steal it. I am sorry it's in pink! I didn't really care about the color so I just clicked on the first link I could find. I printed in black ink anyways so color doesn't matter.
If you'd like to create your own in a different color I found the template for mine
The car bucks are meant to help keep your littles from acting up while on the road. I plan to tell my kids that they can earn 1 car buck for each portion of the trip that they did not lose their "kid tag." (a future post) A "portion" of the trip is from potty break to potty break which for us will be scheduled about every 2 1/2 hrs. These car bucks can be used by my littles to purchase surprises that I have pre purchased and brought in the car. The items I have up for purchase are the magnetic paper dolls, magnetic alphabet game, doctor kits (a future post), photo albums (future post), travel go fishing game, color your own puzzle, sunglasses, giant coloring books, disposable cameras, flashlights, balloons, and bubbles.
Another great idea that a reader left me in a comment is to give each child a role of quarters at the beginning of the trip. For every time they act up, you take away a quarter. The money they have left over can be used however they want for spending money on the vacation portion of the road trip.
That sounds like the most well spent money on any vacation involved children!