road trip

Getting ready to pack up the kids and head for the beach or the grandparents house? If the thought of 2, 4, 6 or more hours in the car with your kids puts you a little on edge, you are not alone. Here are some tips to ease the anxiety, and make time in the car easier and more enjoyable.

While there are a lot of food options on the road, we all know they are not the healthiest, and they can be very expensive. Instead of spending the money along the way on junk food, pack a cooler and/or a bag with healthy, tasty snacks and drinks and bring it along on the trip. If you are planning a longer trip, pack a picnic and plan to stop at a point of interest or a rest area along the way.

Here are a few essential tips for road trip snacking:

  • Freeze bottles of water and place them in the cooler to keep food items cold. When they start thawing, you will have nice cold water to drink.
  • Bring a pack of paper napkins, a roll of paper towels, or wet naps for messy hands.
  • Bring a box of bathroom size “Dixie” cups to use as disposable serving cups for small snacks. (use with popcorn, trail mix, grapes, frozen veggies, etc)
  • Wash, cut and core fruits and veggies before leaving the house. This saves on finding apple cores under the seats and eliminates waste for smaller children.
  • Toss a little lemon juice with fruits that brown easily, like apples and pears.
  • Offer lots of fruits and veggies. They are great thirst quenchers and don’t result in extra bathroom stops!
  • Bring a couple trash bags.

Healthy snacks that travel well:

  • Fresh fruits: Apples, Pears, grapes, strawberries, blueberries, melon
  • Trail mix
  • Nuts (they come in all flavors: Plain, salted, honey roasted, BBQ, spicy, etc..)
  • Cheese and crackers
  • Popcorn sprinkled with cinnamon sugar or parmesan cheese
  • Fresh Veggies: sugar snap peas, carrots, celery sticks
  • Frozen peas or green beans
  • Rice Cakes and baked pita chips
  • Bottled water

Electronic devices can be a blessing on a long road trip, but driving time should also be a time to laugh and get to know each other a bit better.  Limit screen time by adding in a few games.

For good family fun, here are some games to play that will make the time fly by:

Famous Names

  • Object: To say the first and last name of a famous person, where the first name begins with the same letter as the last name of the famous person the previous player named.
  • How to play: Someone starts the game by saying the name of a famous person, like “Snow White”, the next person must think of a famous person who’s first name begins with “W”, like “Walt Disney, the next person must think of a famous person whose name begins with “D”, like “Donald Duck” and so on.

Alphabet Game

  • Object: To say words that start with letter of the alphabet. This is a great game for even toddlers and it works on phonics too.
  • How to play: All the players start with “a”. All players must say a word that starts with the featured letter and there can be no repeats of words. Once everyone has completed “a” move onto “b”. The game moves on until the alphabet is complete. To play with more challenge or for older kids make it “themed alphabet game” only words that are associated with a certain topic can be used. (i.e. Harry Potter, Pokemon, Star Wars, etc)

Name that Tune

  • Object: To name the most songs.
  • How to Play: Establish an order of play (i.e. youngest to oldest, alphabetical by first name, etc). The first person starts to sing a song, the other players try to guess what song is being sung, the person to name that tune first gets a point. The next person sings his/her song and so on until one person gets 5 songs or the kids lose interest.