There’s no two ways about it: long road trips are boring. Unless you bring something with you, the only things you can do are watch the scenery pass by and try to find a decent radio station before you drive out of range. If you have someone else along for the ride, you can pass some time by chatting with them, but kids aren’t that good at keeping up hours-long conversations. Instead, kids need distractions on long car rides, or else they’ll find ways to entertain themselves at the expense of their parents and siblings.
Backseat Entertainment Systems
SUVs and minivans aimed at families often come with an available backseat entertainment system, one or two monitors built into the front-row headrests or else an overhead console. These systems connect to wireless headphones, DVD or Blu-Ray players, and inputs that let you hook up a gaming console, which means they have plenty of ways to keep kids distracted.
And if you don’t want to pay extra for a system like this, you can get a pair of tablet holders that fit over the front seats. A pair of tablets won’t have the same connections or convenience as a backseat entertainment system, but it’s still a decent alternative.
Active kids will get antsy if they have to still and watch movies, so you should also bring along activity books so they can write, draw, or color. Activity books can include things like coloring pages, puzzles, riddles, quizzes, and more, with different books aimed at different ages. You also might find tablet apps that have similar activities.
Visit a Tourist Trap
If you have some extra time, you can always make a detour and check out some of the local attractions. Most tourist traps are kid-friendly because family vacationers are their biggest customers, and even if you’re an adult, you might see something that’s unforgettable while you’re exploring. Just be careful to guard your wallet–the “trap” in “tourist trap” refers to all the inflated prices.
You can always play solo or online games on your phones or tablets, but you might want to have your kids spend some quality time playing with the other people in the car. If you have an atlas in the car, you can hand it to your kids and challenge them to find where you are without using a GPS. You can play word games that let the driver get involved, including classics like “I Spy” and “20 Questions”. And while they’re old fashioned at this point, you can still buy travel-sized board games.
Keeping yourself entertained on a long road trip can be hard, but keeping a kid entertained will either be a nightmare or incredibly easy depending on whether you bring along the right distractions. Take some old favorites they already like and add in some new games and activities to keep things interesting, and you won’t have to worry about how long the trip takes.
Image by vhines200 via Flickr | Licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0 | Cropped from original
4 Ways to Keep the Kids Entertained During Road Trips