In the next 3 weeks, I will be spending 6 days of 4+ hours in the car with the kids. My kids are pretty good travelers, most of the time, but like any kids, there comes a point when car travel gets old. That’s when the complaining and sibling fighting starts.

I like to be proactive in dealing with problems before they begin. Therefore, I like to have an arsenal of ideas, ready to keep the kids happy before boredom turns to fighting.

These are just a few of the things I have planned for this month’s trips.

  • The ABC Game. This one is an old family favorite. As a family, look out the window at signs, license plates, or anything else with letters, and see if you can find all the letters of the alphabet in order. If you’re a competitive family, compete with each other to see who can complete the alphabet first.
  • Looking for License Plates. Give each child a notepad before you start the trip. Have them see how many different state license plates they can find on the road.
  • Audio Books. I stopped by the library yesterday and checked out a few books on CD. On our trips we’ll be listening to Henry Huggins, How to Eat Fried Worms, and Felicity.
  • Crayola Color Wonder. This is not free, but I have used this in the past with the kids. The “invisible” markers are definitely a better alternative than regular markers. At least “invisible” markers don’t stain like regular markers.
  • Music. Whether in the CD player or an Mp3 player, music is always a great way to sooth the nerves. The beauty of personal Mp3 players is that each person can listen to their own music. That means quiet time for mom. Since my son doesn’t have an Mp3 player, I might let him listen to music on my iPhone. Maybe.
  • DVDs. I’ll admit I have never let the kids watch DVDs in the car before. For one, we don’t have a portable DVD player. For another, I’m too cheap to buy one. However, my laptop has the ability to play DVDs, so as a last resort, I’ll pull it out and throw in a movie for the kids for a nice two hour break from bickering.

What do you do to keep the kids happy on long road trips?

Photo by Andrew Currie.