For those of you about to embark on a trip with your children, I salute you, and I envy you. It is no fun to go on a vacation alone. Going with children is not easy and there will be trials, but it will give you some of the best memories you will ever have. Here are a few things I have used in the past to help my children endure long car rides. Normal activities such as sewing, knitting, and reading are always assumed, although it doesn’t work with some families because of car-sickness. One of my favorite games to play was The World’s Greatest Travel Game. It is available for auto, train and bus. There are 50 cubes inside two plastic frames. Children can turn over a cube if they see the item that is pictured. This kept my children amused for hours, even when we were going through rural areas without a lot of things to see.
A couple of games we played that I think everyone has played were Find Letters of the Alphabet in Order and find state license plates. My kids also looked for duallies (sp?) which are trucks with two tires on each side in the back. You can also count boats, trailers, campers, etc. Our favorite memory game for waiting in restaurants was “I’m going on a picnic and I’m taking…” They have to mention an item in alphabetical order and repeat all the items that have been said before.
One of my best surprises was when I had checked out the audiobook The Hobbit from the library and I begged to play it for just a half hour. Everyone groaned, including the hubby, but part-way through the first chapter the narrator said something about squishing someone into jelly and I heard a little giggle from the back seat. They were hooked and we listened to the entire book.
My family was known for its tempers and there were times that we lost them, but I wouldn’t trade that travel for anything in the world. We saw Wisconsin, South Dakota, Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska and Iowa in our tents and campers. My son has hooked his family on camping, too. They have been to South Dakota and Colorado and are going to Yellowstone this summer.
Although we were not camping, my daughter and I took a trip to the Grand Canyon the summer after she graduated from college and went to Guatemala in 2004. She and my oldest son camped with me in Galena, IL for a nice weekend away. We even ate in restaurants that weekend (luxury camping). We have camped in 8 inches of rain and had a blast. We’ve camped under tornadoes without knowing it until the next day. Although there have been some less than ideal camping trips (cold and rainy is good camping weather) we have always enjoyed ourselves. The mechanics of travel can be grueling, especially if you camp, but the hikes we have taken in wilderness have created a peace in my spirit that only nature can fill. Families will have a common bond like no other.
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