Long Trip Ahead...

Updated on May 18, 2009
H.A. asks from Westfield, PA
14 answers

I need activities to keep five children busy during a 13 hour trip. We do have a DVD player in the car, but, I don't want them to watch that much tv. What activities could we do? The children are aged 16, 14, 10, 5, and 3. They only planned stops will be for bathroom breaks. We intend on traveling in one day.

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answers from Scranton on

We have traveled across country with 6-8 kids so I have a couple of ideas from experience. We would play I See, Cow poker, the license plate game, and the best one of all when things got too noisy, the quiet game. Then there is always coloring books, reading. I hoped I have helped. M.

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answers from Philadelphia on

I have a few ideas.....you have a wide age-range, so trying to find activities that everyone enjoys is not so easy!

1) for the little ones (10-5-3)....grab bag. Go to the dollar store before your trip and stock up on little goodies they will enjoy. Every couple hours, they get to reach into the grab bag for a new 'toy' - matchbox cars, crayons & coloring books, GI-Joes, etc.

2) For some reason, all of my kids/nephews love this simple word game - regardless of age, and the adults can play too! Play clockwise....first person says a word, any word. Next player must come up with a word that begins with the last letter of the previous player's word. Ex: Player 1: cookie Player 2: extra Player 3: asparagus

It's challenging, and the kids even learn some spelling lol....and it's an ENDLESS game.

3) Car-Trip Bingo: this one takes some preparation on your part....but you could come up with bingo cards for things they may see on the trip.....McDonalds...cow....horse trailer....silo....construction barricade....etc.

Hope this helps! Have a fun trip!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Hi, we have traveled several 10-14 hour trips with our now 5, 3 and 9 mo old. For your younger kids I highly recommend trays that go around the car seat (I found ones I like at One Step Ahead). This way they can eat, color, play cars, etc. on them. Besides coloring books or small cars/dolls to play with my kids like the Color Wonder markers (they won't write on anything else) and Water Wow doodle boards (fill the special pen with water and color the boards, you can do it again when they dry). There are also kids music dvds, and we play I Spy a lot. I don't have older ones yet, but when I was young we tried to find license plates from as many different states as we could, and we also played an abc game - someone finds something outside that starts with A, the next person B, and so on. Hope this helps and you have a wonderful trip!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from York on

My kids love to listen to music and sing along. We also play "I spy", for the little ones, they like to color while we drive. Snacks are always good. Each one pack a back pack full of their "special" toys and some fun things from the Dollar Store. The magic slate toy that you draw on and erase is also good (can't think of what it's called). I flew with my son for over 24 hours at a time (from Japan) so 13 hours is a blessing!!!! ha ha ha

All those kids, there is bound to be fighting that's why for your sanity, TV, iPods, PSP, Nintendo DS, whatever they have are not so bad for the trip. One time, we drove to for 10 hours and watched Toy Story 2 4 times, I know that movie by heart, which became a big joke in my house. Relax and enjoy!



answers from Williamsport on

If your three-year-old knows their letters, highway alphabet always works! The children take turns spotting different letters of the alphabet on signs, license plates, ANYTHING they see that has letters on it. As long as the different letters keep coming, the kids will be entertained.



answers from Harrisburg on

Video games
Travel Magnadoodles
Crossword puzzles
iPod w/earplugs
Links to attach toys to car seats for younger children
Favorite stuffed animals
Snacks & drinks

Each child takes their own backpack and counts the number of items taken in case some gets lost. Do a toy count at every stop.

Be sure the let the kids run for 5-15 minutes at every potty stop, especially the little ones to stretch their legs. Limit drinks and salty snacks for less stops. Put music in the CD player for everyone that they you all can sing along with to enjoy. Keep the kids distracted by the scenery outside. Sit the kids in the best positions in the car to help each other and with who gets along the best. Don't put two fighters together if you can help it, lol.

K. B
mom to 5 including triplets

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answers from York on

We just got back Saturday from a long trip (13 - 15 hrs each way, depending on traffic). We drove straight through also, with only potty breaks. We even ate in the car. To start off with, our kids are thankfully very good travelers. Little to no whining, and no crying. My younger two are 7 and 4. The older boys (16 and 21 now) have pretty much been on their own for entertaining themselves for a long time, so I wouldn't have even worried about your teenagers if it were me. They have books, video games, and iPods to keep them busy. For the younger ones, we watched movies some of the time. We have a portable DVD player that only comes out for long trips. I don't care how many movies they watch when I'm trying to keep them occupied on a long trip, though. :) They both have a Nintendo DS, so they played them some. I gave them a couple of new games to try out, which caught their attention for a while. I also brought along their V-Smiles with all of those games, but they never got them out. We had coloring books and activity / puzzle books, and I surprised them with the Bendaroos they had been asking for. That kept them busy for a long time. My 7 yr old did all of her make-up homework on the car ride also, which took a couple of hours. Bring books to read, or just look at for the 3 yr old. We also play a lot of car games, like the alphabet game, the state game, and yellow car (a made-up game my son's girlfriend taught them... you keep track of who sees the most yellow cars first. When they made it up, yellow cars were scarce. Not so much now, though. We are thinking of changing it to orange car since they are more difficult to find. The little kids seem to like this game the most, and the older kids play along with them.) Make a trip to the dollar store and stock up on things for them to do. That's where we got some of the activity books and coloring activities. I think part of the reason my kids were so good is because they were so excited about going to Disney on the way down, and they were so excited to get back home on the way back. :) They had something to look forward to both directions. Also, they don't often get new things when it's not a birthday or Christmas gift (or something they had to buy themselves), so the surprise gifts made them very happy and content.

I hope you have a great trip!



answers from Philadelphia on

Heatther, loosen up, Its a road trip do whaetver to keep them quiet. thirteen hours and watching t.v. wont hurt they will probably be sleep. Bring books and magazines for them o read or just talk to them about everyday issues.How about car idol have them sing along to the songs on the radio. No matter what you do after being in a car ride for that amount of time with so many people some one is likely to get fed up.
have a safe trip



answers from Allentown on

cd players snacks, cooler with drinks, younger kids crayons and coloring books, they will sleep part of the way. talk eye spy game works well.



answers from Pittsburgh on

Activity books (use colored pencils rather than crayons, as crayons can melt if left in the hot car), books on cd, music cd's, books for them to read themselves-if they don't get carsick easily, magnetic games like tic-tac-toe.

You can also play those old car games you might have played, like I'm going on a trip and in my suit case, I packed an alligator. Each kid has to remember the previous items, and add one beginning with the letters that comes next in the alphabet. Another is I Spy.

We record all states we see on license plates and see how many different states we have seen by the end of the trip.

The older kids could read stories out loud. Let them look at maps of where you are traveling.

Have fun!



answers from State College on

For your older ones we make up random bingo cards with states names and play "license plate bingo". Mom and Dad (and sometimes kids) yell out when they see a new license plate. We play for the whole trip to and if not to many bingos, the trip home. If someone gets a bingo they get a treat like ice cream or something at the store during the trip.



answers from Pittsburgh on

You should go to the store and check out the travel games. There are plenty. We have a few that my kids love to play. WE only take them out when we are driving. We do alot of friving to visit family so they have been very useful. kids crad games are good also. Good luck on the drive.
L. R



answers from Pittsburgh on

In the car, my young kids (ages 3.5 and 4.5) keep entertained with magnetic drawing boards, lift-the-flap books, books with buttons that play music. I try to avoid items that have small pieces that can be dropped because of the hassle of trying to find them pick them up. Your older kids can fend for themselves in that regard so maybe books, card games travel games, Crayola Color Wonders markers and paper (they make blank paper pads without characters. They can be used to draw on or play games like tic-tac-toe or hangman. I have seen a lot of travel or card versions of popular games such as yahtzee, monopoly, scrabble. What about games that don't require props like 20 questions, I spy, etc. I've seen educational travel game books for kids at book stores (maybe in the travel section or with atlases) that tive info about each state and have activities to do. Enjoy your trip.



answers from Pittsburgh on

I was just thinking about this too, as we have a trip coming up too. In addition to the DVD player and his Nintendo DS, I was going to get my son (he is 6) a few of those activity books that have O. "magic" pen to use on all the pages.....just a thought. They are about $6-7 at Toys R Us.
AS far as watching "too much tv" on the trip...my personal philosophy is that it's ALMOST cruel & unusual to strap a kid in O. place for that long in O. day--so if the movies make it go faster--so be it! It's not every day. I plan to check some out from the library that he has not seen, rather than bring the old faves along.....
My boss swears by books on tape for car rides and that might work well for you because you have a wide age range of children. Good luck!

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