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Are you ready to give your kids the same old-fashioned road trip you enjoyed as a child? Check out these easy, creative tips for a fun technology-free road trip!
Road trips were a huge part of my life when I was younger. My siblings and I lived in New Hampshire with my mom and my dad lived in Mississippi. Semiannual drives south (and then back again) meant we were well-versed in all things road trip. All that time spent in the car took place long before smartphones and tablets and DVD players (although I do think my older brother got an old-school GameBoy at one point).
With all the technology-related entertainment options available to us now, it can be tempting to hand the kids a music player or a video game and let them zone out for hours on end. That makes for a pretty easy trip and, trust me, I’ve done it a time or two. But if you long to leave the gadgets at home, keep reading for tips for a fun technology-free road trip.
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Tips for a Fun Technology-Free Road Trip
Scope Out Your Route
For everyone to have fun on the road trip, you’ll want to plan at least a few fun things to do en route to your destination. Depending on the age of your kids, this could be as simple as a restaurant with a playground. Look for minor league baseball games, splash pads and water parks, and cheesy “World’s Biggest/Fastest/Smallest/First…” monuments.
Pack the Snacks
What is it about long car drives that makes my fingers itch for something to snack on? I’m beginning to think it’s a habit deeply ingrained from my family’s frequent road trips when I was a child. Whatever the reason for the compulsion, snacking is a great way to pass time on your trip.
If my family is traveling, you can bet Sour Patch Kids will be part of the journey. Go ahead and grab the 1.9 pound bag; you’ll need for snacking and for the activities mentioned below. Of course, road trip fare isn’t complete without chips, too, particularly RITZ Crisp&Thins. With flavors like Bacon and Cream Cheese & Onion, and with 50 percent less fat than regular fried potato chips, you’ll be snacking on these guys long after the road trip is over. If you’re opting for soda, make sure you go with a caffeine-free option like 7UP® or A&W®; kids in a car + caffeinated drinks = not a good idea.
When you hit Walmart to stock up on road trip snacks and supplies, grab the ingredients for Banana Bread Protein Bites, too.
Games, Games, Games
You can’t take away the tablets and the music players and simply expect your kids to entertain themselves. No, you’ve got to plan ahead and bring the entertainment yourself. There are, of course, road trips games, like the alphabet game and the license plate game, that require no supplies, but there are also plenty of games that take little preparation and will keep your passengers entertained for hours.
Draw a simple tic tac toe board on a piece of paper and use Sour Patch Kids instead of the standard X and O. Challenge your kids to see who can build the tallest tower using RITZ Crisp&Thins. For preschool age children, play sorting, counting, and math games with the Sour Patch Kids. It doesn’t hurt to bring along a batch of Homemade Playdough, either.
Turn Up the Tunes
No road trip is complete without a rocking playlist. Deciding on the right music can be a challenge when the ages of your passengers span several decades. Your best bet is to go for songs that are recognizable by everyone on board: think tunes from your favorite movies, special family classics, and current (appropriate) radio hits.
Your playlist doesn’t need to be on all the time, but it’s a great tool to turn to when the crowd is getting antsy. Stick to radio silence as long as your family seems occupied with the games, the conversation, or the scenery.
Go with the Flow
Avoid the impulse to plan every second of the trip. One of the most fun aspects of all that family time will be the spontaneous games and conversations. Having a few backup activities at the ready is a good idea, but don’t be afraid to let your kids spend some time in each other’s company or with their own imaginations. You might even be able to squeeze in a nap for yourself!
Where are you headed this summer? Let me know in the comments!