How to Survive Road Trips With The Little Ones

 November 2nd, 2016 | Mandi Mitchell 

Ah, vacation. A time to get away, relax and take in some new scenery. As a child my family rarely flew anywhere, instead they stuck to the open road. I don’t blame them now, being stuck in an airplane with a bunch of other people you don’t know for hours while having a restless child in tow wouldn’t be something I would want to go through.

We took trips to all the way up and down the east coast and ventured out west once or twice. New Jersey to Florida. Florida to Colorado. New Jersey to Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont. You get the picture.

To me, taking a road trip is a family tradition. Yes, you’re all cooped up in a vehicle and start to get on each other’s nerves, not to mention it takes three times as long to reach your destination, but still, something about road trip screams family time/bonding time.

Vacation is always fun but when you get your kids involved, sometimes things get to be more hectic than relaxing. Taking a road trip with little ones requires more than just stopping for food and potty breaks. Having to make sure you packed everything but the kitchen sink and making sure you have enough snacks and entertainment to get them through the long haul is hard work!

So, I started out small. Having a 6-year-old, 5-year-old and infant in the car for 10 hours a clip wasn’t something I was going to take on immediately. So, we took our first family road trip from New Jersey to Pennsylvania (3 hours, not so bad) back in July. Our second trip was to Connecticut, followed by Massachusetts. Now that it’s close to Halloween, we’re contemplating Salem, Massachusetts (nice little 6-hour drive).

Each trip, so far, I can label as a success. Sure the boys had their spats in the back seat, we needed to stop every hour for someone to pee, and needing to feed the baby caused, even more, pit stops unless one of the boys decides they want to feed him while we drive, but for the most part the rides were fun.

How did we do it? How did we keep 3 boys occupied for 6 hours straight while stuck in the truck? Below are some good ideas to avoid that dreaded question, “Are we there yet?” Most of my ideas of dealing with backseat boredom come from vacationing with my family as a child.

Word game: Someone says ‘kitchen’ the other says ‘counter’ the next says offer. The idea is to make sense of the last word said with the new word you’re saying. Kitchen Counter, Counter Offer. The person who gets stumped loses.

Alphabet Game: We go through the alphabet trying to guess animals that the other person thought of (in alphabetical order of course) So, for example, the person who starts would need to think of an animal that begins with ‘An’ and the others need to guess it. From there you move on to ‘B’, ‘C’ and so on.

Picnic Game: This game is fun for memorization. Again, this game goes in alphabetical order. Someone starts and says, ‘I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing Apples,’ the next person would repeat the sentence including apples but have to say a food that starts with ‘B’.

License plate game: We all know this one. You write down a list of all 50 states and check off each new one you see.

Game boys. iPads. Etc: Something electronically loaded with games keeps them occupied for quite some time.

Snacks: We pack a small plastic box with a whole bunch of goodies. Trail mix, granola bars, fruit, cookies, apple sauce, juice, water.

Coloring: If your kids can be trusted with crayons in the car, go for it.

I spy: Another fun game.

Pack a Potty: As gross as it may be, I pack some type of potty for my boys. Whether it’s a potty training pot or a Folgers coffee can. Sometimes, there’s nowhere to stop when that feeling hits and peeing on the side of a crowded highway is frowned upon.

Stop at interest points along the way: Look at your GPS and find some things along your route that might be fun to do. Get out, stretch your legs and enjoy some out of state sights.

Dry erase board: Again, if your kids can be trusted with writing utensils, go for it.

Buy a disposable camera: I love this idea! Disposable cameras are so cheap and buying one for each kid, lets them take pictures of things that interest them along they way. Who knows, they could capture some amazing things!

Would you rather: A fun game. Simply ask would you rather questions. ‘Would you rather eat worm or a butterfly?’ Make up your own and get creative.

Portable DVD player: If you have one this is awesome. The normal kid’s movie is usually a little longer than an hour. That’s more than 60 minutes of peace!

Books: My kids love to read! I let them read to me and ask them questions about what they’re reading. Helps with comprehension. They’re learning and don’t know it.

If you’re planning a family vacation, remember, HAVE FUN!

[Featured Image Courtesy Of:]

About The Writer: Mandi is a millennial mom of three handsome boys, who keep her on her toes! Parenting is a new adventure every day, and she is comically sharing these experiences with us. You can also check out more of Mandi’s work here:


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