Can traveling with kids by car fun?
I love an adventure, the idea of driving cross country with my boys to show them some of my most memorable places, has always been met with enthusiasm. Contrary to my husband’s preference, the long journey I imagined would be filled with stops in little towns, hikes off the beaten path and cuisine with a local flare.
So after dreaming taking this trip and annoying my husband for months about it, I decided to start to plan it. I honestly don’t think he thought I’d follow through and God knows, he wasn’t planning to join me. I created a crazy spreadsheet (I love spreadsheets!!) and planned every detail. Restaurants featured on food shows, silly stops for weird or unusual things or places and of course the tourist traps too.
My plan was to rent a vehicle and drive from Cleveland to Seattle then down to San Francisco and fly home.
Why do I want to subject myself to this?
I really feel that there’s so much value in seeing the country. We live in a wonderful place and there’s so much to see. The idea of sharing the sights I’ve loved with my boys really feels like an honor, an incredible opportunity and a gift I hope they will always remember. Sure they’ll drive me crazy during the 21 day journey, so what? It’s summer, life is short – sometimes you just need to go for it!
Let the adventure begin…
Fortunately, I recruited my mother to join us for the first leg of our journey, I thought this would be a smart thing to do as driving alone this distance with 4 boys under 14 could be scary when they start arguing and fighting with each other. At least I will have someone else to share the “fun” times with:)
The next few days I’ll be posting our journey as we travel…I even convinced my husband to meet us in Seattle and drive the second part of our trip together!
Have you driven cross country with your children? Where did you go? What did you see?
Do you find your children complaining more as the end of summer draws near? I do. Things that my boys would enjoy at the beginning of summer suddenly are boring to them and whining increases – as does my stress level. I realize, it’s time to head back to school.
Raising boys to entertain themselves.
“I’m bored”, “There’s nothing to do!”, and “He’s hitting me!” or “He’s mean” are phrases muttered more often as September gets closer. In my house I don’t allow video games Monday- Friday, unless the boys have friends visiting. This makes them play with their Legos, read and arts supplies that they receive but would otherwise ignore.
Here’s the deal… as annoying as it is- its normal. I remember feeling the same way. The difference is that my parents didn’t coordinate playdates and activities to keep me entertained. When I was bored, I might complain to my mom and she might make a suggestion, but ultimately- it was up to me to find something to do.
I think that’s a good thing.
I learned to be creative with my toys inside and outdoors. Creativity gave my toys a longer life. Taking my Barbies outside was a completely different play experience than in my room. If I played dress up inside was fun, but running around outside was an adventure.
I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t play with your children, but that they need to be able to entertain themselves sometimes and learn not to rely on you.
Encouraging independent play helps to develop creativity – which will aid in their ability to effectively solve problems. I’d say that’s a good skill to have.
Activities for Long Car Rides
If you are traveling with young children, you know how important it is to have a few tricks up your sleeve with some activities for long car rides to keep your children entertained and make the car ride more enjoyable for everyone
Whether you are driving an hour and ten here having an activity box full of different games and other activities in the car at all times will help keep your children busy for the duration of the trip. Of course, it would be ideal for your kids to sleep the whole way but the chances of that happening are slim to none.
A small box can be purchased at a Dollar Store or Target. In it you can back coloring books, different activity books that have puzzles and games in it, a pad of paper, finger puppets and an iPod with educational games on it. Another ideal item would be a clip board so that the kids have a flat surface to work on.
In addition to the activity box, there are several games that can be played without anything. Those games include the License Plate game, I spy and 20 Questions.
License Plate Game: Keep track of all the License Plates of cars that pass by. Try and get all 50 states.
I Spy: Pick a color and have the other people in the car guess what you have spied with your little eye.
20 Questions: Someone picks a person, place or thing and everyone else takes turns asking a yes or no question. If no one figures out what the person, place or thing is by 20 questions that person reveals what it was.