Every family needs a quality time. Sure to be a memory maker, piling in the car together also has a tendency to drive parents and kids crazy. Just try stopping them from exploring, experimenting, testing the rules or asking questions. Any good book of parenting tips will tell you to encourage such curiosity.

Unfortunately for grown-ups, however, when you have to confine the little ones to a box, like a moving vehicle on a long road trip, for instance, their inquisitiveness can soon put your parenting skills severely to the test. After all, who’s not familiar with the irritating back-seat refrain of “Are we there yet?”

Fortunately, parents or any adults who must safely ferry kids from point A to point B have a limitless number of options for keeping everyone safely occupied during the trip.

Kids on long journeys can be very chaotic if not supervised and foreplanned.

Fun games

When it comes to a not-so-boring ride, the first things you would consider are electronic games and gadgets. If you plan on a technology-free vacation that involves verbal communication within the family, you should consider bringing board games and puzzles with you. But you can also make it peacefully through a road trip with your wallet or purse unscathed. If you plan on a technology-free vacation that involves verbal communication within the family, you should consider bringing board games and puzzles with you.

Comfortable clothes

Don’t end up frustrated with tight clothes. You can forget an upgrade to business class, those days are long gone. It’s time to bust out the elasticized waist trackie b’s and sloppy joe and I’m not just talking about you. The kids really need to be warm, comfortable, and the aircon can get pretty chilly so layers are the key. For a night time flight you might even want them already dressed in their pajamas and slippers to encourage them to think that bedtime is imminent. Make sure their shoes are easy to get on and off and maybe pack some soft fold-up slippers in their hand luggage. Place 2 changes clothes in their back pack even bring a change as an adult especially if you are traveling with a baby or toddler.

Watch a show or a movie

Television screens are everywhere these days — on our cell phones, in elevators, on airplanes, in public restrooms, on our portable movie players, and of course, inside our cars, trucks, and minivans, too.

If you’re going on a particularly long trip, it’s almost a no-brainer to bring along a supply of kid-tested and approved television shows and movies. You’d be surprised how quickly the drive time will pass for even the most finicky of rear-seat passenger once the on-screen entertainment begins.


We’re not suggesting you encourage underage drinking by breaking out a chorus of “Ninety-Nine Bottles of Beer on the Wall.” But you can have fun belting out other, more age-appropriate tunes as a group. There are plenty of available CDs in the “Kids Music” section of your local music store. And if you have a satellite radio subscription, you can even tune into a kid-centric channel.

Lingo on the road and Toy-bribes

In this game, kids take turns giving their own meaning of the letters on selected cars’ license plates. For instance, “TFO” might stand for “Throw Frog Olympics” or “Tomorrow For Onions.” Make it a contest where the winner is the person who comes up with the funniest, most ridiculous or most complicated expanded acronyms after a given number of rounds. This is certainly fun.

Instead of wasting your saliva spouting out threats to keep the trip peaceful, why not give a prize for whoever is the most behaved one. Although, some of your kids may be old enough to play with dolls, cars and etc.

How many animals were there?

It is wonderful to let the kids see the view outside to see how wonderful nature is. See who can locate the most animals during the trip.

Any creature that moves (or once moved) can be fair game, so to speak: deer, livestock, birds (get them to name specific types), road kill and even sun-dried insects caught between the dashboard and windshield can be counted. Make this as competitive or non-competitive as the situation warrants — perhaps put up a small prize to encourage everyone to participate. You might even want to appoint someone to write down who said what, just so you know who gets the prize at the next rest stop.

Name games

In this game, you can start with any name like Emma Watson and the next person should immediately say a celebrity’s name that starts with the first letter of the last name of the previous star, like maybe Will Smith. Confused? Read it again — it’s easy.

Scavenger Hunt

No family road trip is complete without a scavenger hunt. You’ll be shocked at how excited your kids suddenly are to see a billboard or a water tower. The game is simple. List all things you expect and least expect to encounter during the road trip.

Are we there yet?

This activity lets kids answer for themselves the question “Are we almost there?” Armed with a map, their skills to observe the city names on highway exit signs and perhaps a peek at the GPS navigation system, the little ones can know at all times how much farther there is to go.

To make it a little more interactive, you can print out the map from a site like Google Maps or MapQuest, and encourage your kids to mark off the various cities you pass and fill in the route with colored pencils or crayons as you continue your drive.

Lots of snacks

When all else fails, pull out one of these amazing road trip-approved treats.