During long road trips, most children experience restlessness and impatience. Parents often hear: "Are we there yet?" "I’m bored" and "How much longer?"

Muriel, from British Colombia, shares a creative idea she uses to keep her kids happy (and preoccupied) on long road trips. Using "travel kits" specially prepared with treats, activities and fun, she found a way to make her kids feel special, entertained and enthusiastic at every stop along the way!

Here’s how to prepare travel kits for your kids

  • Map out your travel route on a large road map. Make photocopies of the map and highlight your route. Place stars on various towns, cities or places of interest along the way. These will be the locations where your child can unwrap and enjoy one treat at a time.

  • For each star, come up with a fun activity, game, craft, snack or interesting fact. If you’re really ambitious, do some background research, and use the treats to highlight something about each location.

  • Tuck each activity or item into individual brown paper bags or wrap them in tissue paper, wrapping paper or paper towels. On top of each treat, clearly print the names of the starred cities, towns or areas of interest on your map.

  • Place the wrapped treats into a container or box. Each child can have their own container or one big container can be shared. Tip: Muriel uses a plastic container big enough to fit comfortably on the backseat between her two daughters. She says, "This acts as a snack table, craft table and game table – not to mention a protective barrier between the two girls – all in one."

  • Next, securely fasten your photocopied road map to the lid of the container. This will allow your kids to follow your route, identify the starred locations and learn some mapping skills along the way!

  • Once you’re on the road, help your kids look for each starred location (such as by spotting welcome signs or billboards). When they spot a location that corresponds with a star on the map, let them pick out their treat marked for that spot. Tip: Muriel says, "Sometimes we even stopped the car and took pictures of the town or city’s welcome sign to keep in our memory book after our trip."

Worth the effort

Using Muriel’s travel kit idea, you’ll find that long road trips with the kids seem quicker, more fun and packed with memories. Muriel says: "Taking the extra time before the road trip to create kids’ travel kits is well worth it. The kits are fun for the entire family."

Happy travelling!

© 2008 Focus on the Family (Canada) Association. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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