You’ve planned your route, found interesting facts about your destinations and can’t wait to share them with your three-year-old. After all, they really like dinosaurs and castles! This is going to be a great trip, you can feel it. The hard work was getting the dog sitter to agree to the dates and putting a hold on the mail delivery.
You pull out of the driveway full of energy and joy, timing it after breakfast but before lunch and nap time. What a smart way to start off this trip – on a happy note, you go parent, you go! You smile and wave goodbye to the Johnson’s, who are out working on their amazing flower beds this lovely morning only two houses down from yours, you can’t help but envy their succulent…. ”Mom, are we there yet? I have to go to the bathroom. I’m hungry. What is that plant? Where are we going?” And just like that, you question the length of this trip! Ten days of travel, seeing the sights, quality time with the little one, hours and hours in the truck camper. Did I mention hours and hours?…. “Mommy, I have to go poop! Hurry mommy!” Okay, an unexpected stop, roll with it. As you turn around in the Brown’s driveway, Stanley comes out, “Hey, you headed on your trip? I heard you’re gonna be gone a while, safe travels. Oh wait, Ann made ya’ll some cookies for the road! Ann, the Millers are here, bring those cookies out would ya?” “Hey Stan, yeah, we were just leaving, we have an emergency bathroom situation on our hands, thought I’d turn around and go home so the kiddo can use the potty.” “Nonsense come on in, he can use ours!”
Thus it begins, stops half a mile from starts. Questions you’d love to answer, but they are so rapid fire you can’t keep them straight or remember more than two at a time. The food, drinks, the questions, potty times. Well, it’s all part of the trip, this wonderful trip.
Let’s keep our sanity and get our child’s brain learning, laughing, and growing with experiences. Keep connecting with your child with positive energy and a shared sense of adventure.
Below are 12 Road trip activities. Go travel and see what’s over there!
- Pack a Goodie bag – A basket or a treasure chest with new toys, activities, and books. Inexpensive items can be found at your local dollar stores.
- An activity drawing book – with markers designed for use only on special paper. The upholstery saving paper! Re-purpose a shoe box with lid to hold the supplies.
- The Direction Game – Give your child a compass and when you change direction ask them what letter the needle is pointed to.
- Play a game of “What do you see?” – “What do you see that is yellow?” or any other descriptive term and listen to all the interesting things they see!
- A new book – About the places you are going. Ask them to read (or tell) you about it. Exercise their imagination. Later, they can retell the story while you write it down. They’ll love seeing their words in writing.
- A snack for all the senses! – Touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing. Put the snack in a small brown paper bag you’ve poked holes in. Ask them to guess what it is by smelling. Go through all the senses one sense at a time.
- Guess the Sound! – Make a sound or listen to a prerecorded track and Guess that Sound!
- Books on tape – well, not really tape, because, well, tapes are soooo 1980s! Your local library rents audio books, there’s an App for that! Download the free Libby, by OverDrive app https://meet.libbyapp.com/ to your iPhone or Android and begin enjoying the world of audio books. Have a few ‘books’ ready to go.
- Play the Counting Game! – How many people are on that sidewalk? How many horses do you see? Ask learning questions, I saw 2 horses, how many would there be if 1 was added?
- A travel size Magna Doodle – Ask them to draw a picture of the dog you passed or the farmhouse with the rooster on top.
- Sing Along Songs – Whether it’s silly songs or songs with a theme, songs are meant to be sung!! Set up a station your child will love. I use Spotify and have a couple of kid channels preset so when my kiddo feels like singing, a singing we do!!
- Pack a Picnic – Have your child help pack it. Take a break, a road side stop or a local park in the town you are driving through. Stretch the legs and burn off some energy. Enjoy the sights and sounds of this wonderful town while eating a well-balanced, three-year-old packed feast. After all, the point of a road trip is to stop and smell the roses, errr, playground turf!