Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Vacation Post #4: "Are We There Yet?" or What To Do In The Car

I love, love, love driving vacations.  I love packing the car and making a place for everything (I'm weird, I know).  I love the anticipation of the drive.  I love the scenery as we drive through the US.  And, believe it or not, I don't mind the "Are we there yet?" questions.  Usually.

When the question isn't excessive (my boys are usually pretty good), I think it shows a healthly amount of anticipation for the next part of the trip.  Since kids can have a pretty strange sense of the passage of time, I like to think of it as "training" in how long an hour (or two) really is.

{As an aside, I get mad at myself when I say, "in a minute" and multiple minutes -- or even an hour! -- pass by.  Not good for teaching a sense of time!}

We spent a LOT of time in the car, but it really wasn't that bad.  As I mentioned before, we had a lot of bathroom breaks and there were many days that everyone's bladders were not in sync.  Urgh.  A few times we had bathroom/ sugar bomb stops.

Sugar bomb stops?  This is when someone (me) decided that apples, baby carrots and granola bar snacks were for the birds and we needed Twizzlers and Skittles.  The boys loved those stops!

Last year's car trip really brought out the ultra creative in me -- I made travel activity books for the kids.  This year's trip came too soon on the heels of the last day of school, and I just didn't have the time or desire to polish them up or find new things to add to them. Instead, I just went shopping for a few extras to help pass the time.

Scavenger Hunt for Kids was a hit, and a good variation on the traditional Car Bingo.  It had cards for spying as well as cards for feeling things -- like a bump -- or hearing a noise.  You could trade in your dud cards (like trying to find a guy wearing a hat -- that was a hard one) to keep the game moving along.  Even Dave got into helping us out when he was driving.

Another huge hit was the purchase of some mega dot-to-to books:

 The boys loved them because they were hard.  Outside of knowing the theme of the book (we bought a sport one, animal one, and American one), it was really hard to guess what you picture you were working on.  I was hoping the kids would color them when they finished.  But honestly, they were just happy to finish one of the puzzles and move on with life!

Levi talked me into this rather cool color by number book:  

{I took a couple Mad Lib books, but the boys really didn't explore them until we got home.}

Another things we did was audiobooks.  Unfortunately, Dave didn't appreciate them as much as the boys and I did, so we didn't listen to all we had available to us.  I really prefer these to DVDs.

OK, we're not the perfect little family, and we did rent a few Red Box DVDs along the way.   I have their app on my phone, so it was easy to find an outlet to rent and return to.  As a general rule of thumb, though, Walmart is everywhere (in case you hadn't heard!!) and Red Box is usually at one or the other entrances.

Or course, books always come with us.  We had every measure of 21st century ways to read books -- real books with pages to turn, iphone apps and a Kindle or two.  Ben is reading leisurely through a few free, public domain Kindle books -- one of Grimm's fairy tales, plus regular books.  Luke, sadly, seems to have inherited my propensity for car sickness with reading.  He usually doesn't get more than 15 minutes or reading in before he feels woozy.

Of course, there are naps to help pass the time, but my 13, 9 and 6 year olds are not as fond of them as their 40+ year old parents!

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