Erin Rathier

musings of a ragtag heart

Hello friends!  Happy Sunday!  I hope you had a great time celebrating our freedom this past week, and were able to rest this weekend.  My family took a road trip, to San Diego to hang out with my parents, sisters and their families for the holiday.  It was a wonderful trip!

If your kids are anything like mine, car trips are not their favorite, even if they are getting  a bit older.  However, a road trip is also a large amount of time we could focus on being together.  So, I worked to find a few, new ways to keep our drive a happy one.  If you have elementary aged kids and up, I encourage you to try a few of these games and activities on your next trip!

Road Trip Older Kids

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1.  ScattergoriesScattergories is a great game to play on a long car trip.  Everyone gets their own board for writing on and all you need is a pencil.  Not only does it keep everyone entertained, it also works out their brains!  Each person has to think up category words, starting with whatever letter is on the die.  You get points for every unique word you can think of!  So the more creative the better.  The last few trips we have taken, this game has been a life saver.  The driver can just partner with the person in the front seat!  We are always amazed at some of the words the kids think up!

2.  Apples To Apples Jr (or regular edition depending on the age of your kids).

Apples to Apples is a great game to play in the car, because you do not need a game board, dice, or score sheets.  You also do not need to write anything down.  My 10 year old LOVES to play Apples to Apples on trips, and it has provided us with many hours of laughter in the car, not to mention a recurring joke…John Cena…he is the best, and funniest, answer for EVERY category!

3.  Silent Reading time.  After the kids have had some time on their devices, or watch a movie, they start getting a little antsy.  So, every few hours, I let them know it is time for 30 minutes of silent reading.  They are not always happy when I first call this out, but very quickly, they each settle in with their book, and the driver gets some quiet time.  That’s always a good thing!

4.  A family read aloud book.  Last summer, we took a 12 hour road trip and were absolutely captivated by the book Wonder.  We took turns reading for hours on end, and could not get enough of the story.  I even saw my hubby, M, getting teary in the rear view mirror a few times.  The key to a read aloud book is to find a living book.  By “living book,” I am referring to a book with characters you can emotionally connect with, and a story that is alive.  There are many lists online of living books for each grade level, look through a few and pick up two or three before you leave.  Then, if you start one, and nobody is engaged, you can let it go and try another.  If you have not read Wonder, I HIGHLY recommend it for kids 4th grade, all the way up through high school.  It is so much better than the movie!

5.  Finally, something my mother had my family do on road trips when I was young.  Give everyone a notebook and a pencil and try to list all the states in alphabetical order, then list all their capitals!  This will take some time and again, keep those brains from falling into a device coma on the road.  Mom and Dad, you try to list them all as well…you might be surprised at what you have forgotten!

Those are my 5 favorite activities for a road trip with older kids.  Of course we listen to music, watch movies, play on phones and tablets, but definitely not the majority of the time.  A road trip is a great time to connect as a family.  We are in a small space for a LONG time.  We certainly do not want to waste these fleeting moments!

As always, thank you for reading!  I would love to hear other fun things you and your family do in the car during road trips.  Please comment below and share your best tips!

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