Travel ideas for kids

We leave for vacation (the ocean! yay!) in mere days. I can't wait.

I have considerably lowered my prepping-for-vacation expectations. Usually by this time I would be somewhat packed, the laundry would be well on it's way for all the packing that is taking place, and at the VERY least, I would have my Gigantic List, which usually has columns for "To Do", "To Pack" and "To Buy"~ all to be checked off before we leave.

I told Mark last night that those things aren't even on my radar this year. On Saturday I do plan to have the kids pack some things, and I usually make a list on the dry erase board for them. This photo is from last year:

This year I'll just be happy if by Monday morning all seven of us are in the van with some clothes packed and directions in hand. Oh, and the promise of a stop at Starbucks on the way out of town. :)

I do have some fun things for the kids. I bought each of them a bucket/shovel set at the dollar store last night, and I'm going to "stuff" those with some goodies (snacks, crayons, coloring books, and this customized coloring book idea that I saw yesterday and am already working on for the older kids). I'm going to fill their buckets on Sunday night and then put them in the van so that when they go to climb into their seats Monday morning for the long drive, their buckets will be waiting on their seats.

I will also have an arsenal of snacks and ideas at my disposal for the times they are getting sick of the drive.

My idea list:

>the ABC game For Isaias, I'm going to write out the alphabet for him to have in hand so that he can find the letters and play along with us.
>the license plate game I'm going to print this map out for the kids to fill in as we find plates from various states.
>music sing-along or listening to a CD

Last year Mark had the brilliant idea of having the kids find road signs like these:

We gave each of the kids a page filled with blank white "signs", and then gave them each a pencil and a yellow crayon. We were all looking for them, and when we'd spot one, they'd each sketch them on their page. [This works best if you're not on the interstate for most or all of your trip.]

I would love to hear about the various games/activities you do with your kids on road trips!


  1. I LOVE the idea of the license plate game. We'll have to do this when we go on vacation this summer. Thanks!

  2. Head down to that library and get some books on tape or cd! When my kids were little we loved anything Beverly Cleary or Dick King-Smith.

    For the beach, take a hot glue gun. You can "craft" your beach finds in the evening by gluing stuff onto pieces of driftwood.

    Have fun!

  3. Fun plans, Stacy!

    We regularly spend 4ish hours in the car headed over to eastern WA and fun music or stories to listen to have always been our go-to car entertainment.

    Sometimes we play I Spy which is fun for a little while and recently we've begun having Spelling Bees at the dinner table... might that work in the car, too?

    I love your little buckets idea! Have a super time! And wave when you pass by the Auburn area on your travels!!
    -rebecca m

  4. We check out CD stories too, loved Because of Winn-Dixie and last trip The Moffats. We've also checked out James and the Giant Peach and Hotel for Dogs. Keeps everybody from melting down! :)

  5. Books on CD (beach-ish ones) are a MUST.

    We recently did easy craft-y sort of things with snacks in paper bags, with different times of day written on the bags. I think they opened one every 2 hrs or so (9 hr trip).

    Have fun. We are jealous :)

  6. We're leaving tomorrow for San Diego so this was a perfect timing post! We'll be at the beach at the same time; I wish it was the same beach!
    Off to the dollar store for some goodies and if I wasn't throwing a baby shower today, I'd love to do those coloring books! What a great mama you are! Have a wonderful trip!

  7. Love your ideas Stacy (on the next post, too.) We're going camping later this Summer and it's going to be a long drive for our kiddos, I think I might get started now on some of the coloring books and thigns! Did you find a pattern for the paper dolls with missing hair/clothes somewhere, or did you have to make that yourself from the original?

  8. Wendy,
    You're welcome!

    We're going to head down there today and stock up on new books and maybe some audio books, too. :)
    I LOVE your hot glue gun idea. Brilliant... for all the handfuls of beach treasures the kids will be sure to find.

    I Spy is a great idea. I often forget about that one. I'm adding it to my list!

    Spelling Bees! How fun! That would be my personal favorite idea, because I love all things spelling/word related, but Ella is the only one of our kids who knows how to spell so we'll have to wait a couple of years for that idea!

    Yay! Thanks for the suggestions.

    I love the timed snack bag idea!

    I am so happy to see a comment from you on my blog! Happy vacation at the beach to your cute family!!!

    Thanks! I just printed off the original pattern (see link in today's post), and then traced it, leaving room for hair/clothing options! :)

    Thanks, all!



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