Ways to make that family road trip even more fun
BY KAREN L. RANCOURT
A grandmother recently asked me how she and her husband could make a road trip they were planning for their two adolescent grandchildren fun and interesting. I had some simple suggestions for her.
Let the grandchildren have age-appropriate input into the details of the trip.
For example, let the kids take turns picking from options the grandparents provide for them in advance:
things to do on the trip;
where to get gifts and keepsakes for family and friends.
Be ready to split up to accommodate grandchildren’s different preferences.
For example, at a museum one grandparent can take one grandchild to the dinosaur exhibit while the other grandparent and grandchild go see the blown glass exhibit. Or, grandparents can split up to accommodate the kids’ different hiking, biking, or canoeing abilities. Everyone doesn’t have to be together all the time—then there can be lots of good sharing of the different experiences when everybody reconvenes.
Have a variety of activities planned for long stretches of car travel.
In addition to each grandchild having his/her own activity bag of things to do solo, plan activities that involve everyone.
- Play group games that involve everyone, e.g., “We are going on a picnic.” The first person starts with the letter A: “We’re going on a picnic and in the picnic basket are some apples.” The next person has the letter B and has to remember what the person before him/her put in the picnic basket. “We’re going on a picnic and in the picnic basket are some apples and berries.” Process is repeated through the entire alphabet.(Resources: Kid World Citizen lists many car games; MiniTime provides numerous games and activities for different kinds of trips that can be printed out in advance; Parents.com lists eight different activities.
- Listen together to books on tape (using Blueray, USB cable smart phones, etc.). There are lots of good choices, depending on the ages and genders of the grandchildren. (For example, go to Goodreads: under Browse there are over 30 genres from which to choose.)
- Keep a record of the trip: Print out maps of the trip for each grandchild and have them use a marker to follow their travels. Make sure each grandchild has his/her own phone camera or disposable camera and a notebook to take notes on what they see and do on the trip (leaving room to affix their photos when they get them developed or printed out). Then when their parents and friends ask them about their trip, they are ready to share their trip maps, notes, and pictures.
Some simple planning ahead can help ensure memorable and enjoyable trips.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – KAREN RANCOURT, Ph.D.
Karen L. Rancourt, Ph.D., writes an advice column for parents and grandparents at Mommybites.com and is the author of Ask Dr. Gramma Karen, Volume II: Savvy Advice to Help Soothe Parent-Grandparent Conflicts.