Staying sane on road trips with kids (No, it is not impossible)

Every trip we take isn’t going to be international and sans children.  In fact most trips Jodi and I go on in our lives includes our kids in the backseat of a car.  Let’s all just take a moment to remember what it was like the last time we went on a road trip with children . . . horrors.
You can only play the license plate game so many times before you want to leave your precious offspring along the side of the road by that sweet little farm house and hope someone else will pick them up and care for them so you can just enjoy scenic ride through the country.

Next time you start packing for another joyous family car trip, add these to the list: kids activity bags.
Activity bags are easy to adapt for each child’s interests and age using things you already own.  Let’s hear it for being cheap!  No really, I love cheap.

Here’s how it works:

1. Gather a gallon ziploc bag, paper lunch bag, or pencil box if you are really “Matha Stewarty”, for every hour of the car ride.  If it takes you 8 hours to drive to Grandma’s house, each kid will need 8 bags.

2.  Fill each bag with the following: one coloring page, five crayons or pencils or markers (or switch these up per bag), one book, one toy, one snack and small juice box, one game (the games can be paper or not; puzzles count, paper mazes count and so does origami for older kids.  Be creative or just steal other peoples ideas from Pinterest).

3. For older kids you can substitute the coloring page for a craft.

4. Every three bags, add in a music cd, playlist, or movie dvd (if your car has that capability) for the kids to play.

The activity bags help reduce the whining and impatience that inevitably ride along with your kids in the backseat by giving them something to look forward to every hour.  For every young children, reduce the time between bags to 30 minutes.  It also takes the pressure off of you to entertain them for 8 hours straight and reduces the number of times you threaten to turn the car around “right this minute.”

Happy road trip!

Photo: 1. Children and dogs in a car: Tomoka River Region, Florida by State Library
2. Joseph Kearns Jay North Billy Booth Herbert Anderson Dennis the Menace 1962