If you weren’t able to talk the relatives into coming to see YOU this year, never fear. We’ve got some time-tested, parent-approved tips for keeping the kids happy and occupied during your holiday drive.
Tip #1: PACK SNACKS + WIPES
Bring a cooler with snacks to keep you out of the drive-thru — like fruit, nuts, string cheese, granola bars, water, juice and chocolate milk. And don’t forget baby wipes for the inevitable clean-ups.
Tip #2: BRING MUSIC
Let everyone in the car take turns playing their favorite music. Bring along some holiday tunes and you just might find yourselves in a classic family sing-a-long.
Tip #3: PLAY GAMES
Challenge the whole car to a friendly game of “I Spy,” “The License Plate Game” or “Name That Tune.” Plus, bring cards and travel-sized versions of games like bingo and Scrabble.
Tip #4: GO ELECTRONIC
Modern gadgets can be lifesavers on long trips: from handheld electronic games, to educational systems like LeapFrog, to portable DVD players with headphones.
Tip #5: TAKE A BREAK
Stop every two or three hours so everyone can stretch their legs and use the restroom. For a quick burst of fun and energy, toss around a football or Frisbee.
Tip #6: PLAY FAMILY TRIVIA
Stump (and impress) your kids with answers to questions like “Where was Dad born?”, “What’s grandma’s middle name?” and “How many cousins do you have?”
Tip #7: BRING TOYS + BOOKS
Bring things that challenge your kids’ imaginations, like action figures, toy cars, an Etch-A-Sketch, pop-up books and Mad Libs. And consider bringing small gifts to give during the ride.
Tip #8: GET CRAFTY
Pack up craft supplies like pipe cleaners and felt scraps, plus paper, crayons and colored pencils. A cookie sheet with raised edges makes a great travel tray.
Tip #9: SHARE THE MAP
Bring an atlas and printed maps from MapQuest.com to show the kids where you’re headed and what landmarks you’ll pass. Track where you’ve been with a highlighter.
Tip #10: PACK PILLOWS
Kids will snooze more easily with creature comforts like pillows, favorite blankets and stuffed animals. Wearing PJs and earplugs can help them relax and fall fast asleep even faster.
Since you’re hitting the road for the holidays, you might find these other MapQuest tools helpful as well:
Safe travels and happy holidays!