Long Road Trip - Lincoln,NE

Updated on December 21, 2006
C.H. asks from Lincoln, NE
7 answers

Assuming everything go's ok, we'll be leaving this Friday. (We're suppose to be getting a nasty blizzard here w/ in the next day or Friday.) My son & I will be car pooling w/ my dad & step mom. We're going to be going out of state for Christmas. We'll be in the car for around 12 1/2 hours. We'll be stopping for over night at a hotel. We'll also of course be making the pit stops & to eat. I'm trying to figure out how to keep my son happy the whole trip down & back (coming home). I plan on taking some stuff (portable DVD player, gameboy SP, drawing stuff, a few books & a few toys). I'm trying to keep in mind that I will have no idea. What kind of gifts we'll be bringing home. Any idea's on how to keep my 6 yr. old son happy on a long car trip?

I had looked into what it would cost to fly back a while ago. And the prices I saw were outragious. I forgot IF this was for a round trip. I think it was. Anyhow the price range was around $400 - around $2,000 (per person).

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So What Happened?

I took along some stuff for my son to do (DVD player, a game, crayons, paper, coloring books & maybe a few other things). The trip to & from was long. I'm glad the trip is over w/. We had fun down there. Played some games had couple of sm. family parties. All though it seems to me like my nephew (R.N.) is getting too aggresive. He probably got that from 1 (S.B.) of my 2 other nephews (S.B. & E.B.). On the trip back, my dad decided not to stop for the night. Which didn't sit to well w/ my son. Esp. since his DS & the DVD player needed to be recharged. 1st thing when we got up. After I had hopped out of the shower. My son was really wanting to pick up the dog from the vet's (boarding). Which is what we did after I got dressed & picked up the mail from the post office (also had mail resumed to home address). Needless to say we're happy to be home & to be sleeping in our own beds. My son is already talking about what he wants for his birthday which is in 6 months. All thought this years wish list will probably be one of the shortest ones he's had in a while. Because he either wants gift cards / certificates or DS games.

More Answers



answers from Great Falls on

As far as your choices of things to bring along... A+. I am also heading out of town for the holidays with all 5 kids, and holy cow am I a wreck! I find that if you play car games, like "I spy" with the kids, they like that. However, that can only last so long... so the DVD player is a must. Snacks are always good too. Maybe even music that is kid appropriate. something that makes them feel like the trip is for them. Know what I mean? I buy little travel games for my kids. They have checkers, mini chutes and ladders, etc. Those are always fun.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boise on

Hi C.,

I would say that you're right on track with the items you're bringing. We recently traveled cross country (from Idaho to Florida) with three boys ages 7, 5, and 2. They actually did really good. One thing we found to work great was making sure we stopped someplace like McDonalds for lunch. Some place with a playplace so the kids could run and stretch and get out some of their energy. They may have been to busy to eat but with chicken nuggetts and fries they could eat in the car. Just a suggestion. Have a great and safe trip. I'm sure everything will go smoothly.



answers from Sioux Falls on

that portal dvd player will be your best friend on this trip. I have besause we go to ND every other month or so. Its a 6 hour trip, and I have 3 kids. Once we drove back to SD in freezing rain because I couldn't turn around and go back. I drive up alone with the kids because husband cant always get off. Another thing you can do is play car games. You can buy some at the store, or make your own. ABC Bingo is our favorite. Make up your own cards, and when you see a lettter on a sign or license plate, mark it. You can decide on what kind of prizes too, if you want. If he was older, finding as many different state plates is fun, we played that as a kids.
Good Luck and have fun on your trip!



answers from Des Moines on

HI C.! It sounds like you have the bases covered! Awesome job! Look online - there are tons of games you and your son could play together while driving.

Semi Search
Preparation for the Game:
All you need is a sheet of paper to keep score, one person to be scorekeeper and a writing utensil. Each player chooses a color. Each player's name and chosen color is then written down on the score card by the score keeper, who will announce when there is a winner.

To Play the Game:
Each player announces each semi truck on the road that is his chosen color. One mark, or point, is given for each semi the person identifies as his color. The game can be played until one person reaches a certain number of points. Most people play Semi Search until one person reaches 50 points, but a longer game can be played for older children.

Semi Search helps children identify colors and also helps them develop and maintain their attention level. The six most common semi colors are white, black, green, red, yellow and blue.

Traveling Bingo
Preparation for the Game:
Bingo cards will need to be made prior to the trip, but only take a few minutes to make. Be sure to make several sets to allow for more then one game of Car Bingo to be played, especially if traveling a long distance.

To make the Bingo cards, draw five columns of five boxes centered on the paper. You can use colored or white paper, whichever is more convenient. Over the top of each column, one letter per column, print the letters B-I-N-G-O. Next, draw or place stickers of various items that may be encountered along the trip. Some popular suggestions are cows, tractors, umbrellas, dogs, horses, sheep, barns, lawn furniture, radio or television towers, different colors and types of cars (such as a red truck or blue station wagon), police cars, ambulances or fire trucks. You want the children, and/or adults, playing to have to search for the objects.

To Play the Game:
Each player is given one card and a writing utensil to mark their boxes. When an object on the card is identified, an "X" is marked on the box for the object. When a person completes a row, up, down, across or diagonal, he wins. The game can be played until one-person wins two games, or if fewer people are playing, the first to win three out of five.

Traveling Bingo is an observation game that helps develop observation and object relation skills. Identifying pictures of objects to their real images aids a child in recognition. The game will also aid a younger child with fine motor skills by allowing them to use the writing utensil and place "X's" in the appropriate boxes on their card.

License Plate Alphabet
Preparation for the Game:
Preparing for License Plate Alphabet is easy. All that is needed are sheets of paper, colored or white, as well as a writing utensil.

Simply write the letters across the sheet of paper big enough so they can be marked out. The sheet of paper will be the "game board." To aid in identification, it is recommended that the letters be written in capital, as this is the common practice of lettering on license plates.

To Play the Game:
Each person is given a game board and a writing utensil. When a letter of the alphabet is found on another vehicle's license plate, the player that "found" the letter marks it out on his game board. The first player to find a set number of letters, or for longer distances or older children, the entire alphabet, wins the game.

The License Plate Alphabet game aids children in letter identification. The letters are observed on various license plates and then must also be identified on their game board. The License Plate Alphabet game also aids in recognition, observation and fine motor skills.

The State Game
Preparing to Play:
To prepare to play the State Game takes a little more effort than the other car games. However, if traveling a long distance, especially across country, the effort is well worth it.

To play the State Game, make a list of all 50 states on a sheet of paper. Make as many copies of this list as may be needed while traveling. It is recommended to put the states in alphabetical order so that they can be found with ease.

To Play the Game:
Each player is given one list of the states and one writing utensil. The object is to find as many different states on the license plates of other vehicles as possible. Granted, Hawaii and Alaska are rarely seen, but it is not impossible. The game can either be given a time limit, such as one hour, or a number of different states, such as the first to find 15, to determine a winner. The game can be played once or again played until one person wins two games. Be sure to make plenty of copies of the state lists, as this game becomes popular fairly quickly.

The State Game aids the players in identifying each different state of the United States, as well as with reading skills. Another benefit of the game can be added by allowing the players to identify the state on a map before awarding points.

There are variations of each of the games listed, and feel free to make changes that will suit the needs of your traveling family. These games can be altered for younger children, as well as older children, to increase or decrease the difficulty level that will be of the most benefit to their age group.

Traveling with children does not have to be a stressful experience. Offering fun games that are only played in the car will have the children wanting to plan for the next "road trip," just when getting home from the last.

These were found at www.childrentoday.com/resources/articles/cargames

Have a safe trip and Merry Christmas!



answers from Omaha on

I think what you are planning is great! I would have a hard time myself being in the car that long. Another thing you can do it play games with seeing what you can find looking out the window. (If you're traveling all interstate that can be a bit challenging). It would be worth it to go to the library and find a book on games to play in the car.

My kids do well with no extra toys in the car, but we are only on the road for 4 hours when we visit my family. I hope it goes better than you anticipate. Don't worry about it too much.



answers from Des Moines on

We used to play the ABC game. or the number game --- each pick a # and the first one to find a certain number wins (keep in mind (5 & 2's are the most common) Sometimes my mom would say this time any # but those. We also had some car bingo cards.

I don't know if your kids can read in the car. I could and would ready almost an entire Nancy Drew book in one trip.

Isn't airfare ridiculuous. My husband is in Chicago for a conference that I have gone in and joined him in the past (when I could get a one way flight for 90 bucks), but now way now. It's outrageous.

Have a safe holiday trip.



answers from Des Moines on

All the stuff you have chosen sounds really great. My husband and I are taking our 2 1/2 y/o on a 12 hour trip, and everything you and another lady said you were bringing, and the responses of other posters have really given me a lot of ideas.

One thing we considered when setting up our travel plans was to go by train. It takes a little less time than a car (unless you get a really long layover), but has the benifit that everyone can sleep, no need to stop for potty breaks or dinner, and if your son is like my daughter, he would love to be on a train. From Iowa to NW Penn. it was about $470 (w/ AAA disc, it dropped to $423) round trip for 2 adults and one child, but that ws still out of our budget, so now we are driving (though with gas prices the way they are, it may work out to almost the same price :P). I just checked and for one adult and one child it is only $282 ($254 w/ AAA disc), so something to keep in mind next time a long trip looms in the distance. :)

Good luck with your trip, and I hope it is fun and safe!


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