The Family Road Trip




The journey is really as important as the destination, especially when you travel with your family. A family road trip doesn’t have to be a gruelling test of endurance. Whether you're headed to a nearby city or travelling across the country, we've got some great ideas for keeping the kids entertained and busy on any road trip.


What to bring...

You made your list and checked it not twice, but at least 10 times. As far as you can tell, you have not forgotten anything – not the wet wipes, not the blankets, nor the anti-carsick pills. Hmmm, are you really ready for take-off?



Road trip entertainment essentials...

Bring a DVD player, movies, books, activities, CD-books, toys, colouring books, crayons, mini board games, and portable electronics. Snacks and drinks help pass the time too.



Make the journey fun...

Don’t be in such a rush! Leave yourself enough time to take a detour to visit the much-advertised attractions along your route. It may be a museum or a zoo or an amusement park. Or give yourself an hour or so to park beside a river and have a picnic lunch while the kids kick a ball around. Get out of the car for a little while during a long drive – it’s very therapeutic.


Road trip treats...


Bring small gifts and loot (dollar store items) for the kids to unwrap along the way.


Keeping kids entertained on the road...

Write a journal. Give the kids a diary to keep track of their daily activities. Have them read them aloud. You’ll love hearing their thoughts! Buy postcards from places and attractions you visit. Kids can jot notes down and rank their experience (1 out of 10) – then tuck the cards in an album.


Not into writing? Then keep a list. Kids like to keep lists. Have them record all kinds of facts about the trip: number of kilometres driven each day, animals seen from the road, states/provinces they spotted on licence plates, places/attractions visited, foods they ate, etc.


Keep a picture book. If writing doesn’t grab them, move on to images. Kids can sketch animals, hotel rooms, parks, zoos, roller coasters, and other attraction visited. Sometimes pictures really do speak louder than words.

Road trip scavenger hunt...
Write out a numbered list of 20 things that you'll likely see on your route. Include vehicles (truck, minivan, motorcycle, police car), animals (cow, dog, horse, bird), and buildings and other roadside items (barn, stop sign, church, fence, bridge) – you get the idea. Photocopy the page for every child. For kids too young to read, use pictures instead of words. At the end of the trip see who has the most things crossed off their list.


More fun...


Prepare your own activities before you head out. Check out Discovery School's PuzzleMaker to make free word search, criss-cross, math puzzles, and more for your kids.


Keep a "swim bag" in your car so if the kids get hot and tired, you can stop at a rest stop or swimming hole and cool down. Keep swim suits, towels, water shoes, sun hats, goggles, and sunscreen – chances are you’ll need those items on your vacation anyway (hopefully!). Other equipment that should live in your car: badminton racquets and a birdie, a frisbee, and a ball.



Driving in the dark? Give your kids glow sticks, little book lights, or tiny flashlights. Just a little extra fun for the kids during night driving – before they fall asleep.


Happy travels!

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