Traveling with children
Angie Fletcher, Human Development Specialist, Southwest Region, University of Missouri Extension
All of us have heard the familiar phrase “Are we there yet?” from children who are bored from sitting for what they perceive as an endless amount of time in a vehicle, or are so excited about their destination they just can't wait any longer.
Parents often overlook travel time as an opportunity to interact with their child(ren). What better opportunity to spend some quality time? For most, it is a question of ideas for what to do with their children during drive time. Here are some activities that can be fun for everyone when traveling with children. (Note: These activities should only be done with the adult not responsible for driving.)
- Bubbles: Keep some bubbles in a non-spill container in
the car and blow some for baby when someone else is doing the driving.
This calms a baby down (and older children will enjoy it too). Tiny
bubble containers sold for weddings or party favors are ideal.
- Read a good picture book: Even very young babies will
respond to a good book. You don't have to read the entire story (especially
if you yourself are prone to car sickness), simply hearing your voice
as you point to pictures in the book will occupy time and keep them
- Play classical music: Studies have indicated that classical
music may boost baby's intelligence.
- Peek-a-boo: This classic game is perfect for the car.
- This Little Piggy: As long as you're stuck in the car,
might as well kick off your shoes!
- Where is your nose: An older baby can practice learning
all the parts of the body. Ask them to show you where they are starting
with their nose. Then help them find their head, mouth, cheek, ear,
chin, hand, foot, tummy, etc.
- Surprise packages: Prepare ahead with paper bags of items
to be given out every 25, 50 or 75 miles as marked on a map with
the location. It takes a little bit of prep to do this, but it really
helps young children. In each bag put a wrapped item, usually a small
toy. Then add various other things to each surprise package, like
a juice box or a snack, stickers and a piece of paper, or something
pertaining to the trip that you can talk about.
- Aluminum foil modeling: Give everyone a sheet of aluminum
foil. Have them mold it into anything they want: animal shapes, balls,
jewelry, crowns, etc.
- Pipe cleaners: Pack a bag of multi-colored pipe cleaners
and let their imaginations run wild!
- Cookie sheet magnet board: Use an old cookie
sheet and a collection of ABC magnets. Children can work on putting
the letters in order or identify beginning sounds.
- Name the clouds: What do they look like? Find as many
different shapes as you can.
- Tell jokes: Take turns telling silly jokes.
Last Updated 03/19/2015