Before you leave, pack these essentials in a backpack and keep in the back seat:
A first-aid kit including bandages, antiseptic wipes or cream, hydrocortisone cream, instant cold packs, sunscreen, antacid, children's pain reliever, prescription drugs or any allergy medications, and a list of emergency numbers.
Wet naps and a complete change of clothes per child in case of spills or accidents.
Plenty of plastic bags to stash away garbage or dirty clothes.
Comforts of home: allow each child to bring a pillow, blanket, and stuffed friend.
A soccer ball or a bottle of bubbles to blow off some steam during outdoor pit stops.
These classic games will keep kids entertained for hours. Colouring books, crayons, stickers, disposable cameras, or playing cards make winning rewards for all of the players.
This classic game simply starts with the phrase, "I spy with my little eye" and the rest is easy. Get kids to pick an object around them and give clues such as, "something blue" or "something beginning with the letter z" until a player guesses what the object is. It's a great way to pass the time between "Are we there yet?" and "How much longer?"
Where In The World Am I?
This game is a twist on I Spy but is perfect for road trips because it gets kids to use their imagination. To play, one player imagines a place. It could be a farm, a castle, a capital city, a real place like the rainforest of Brazil or an imaginary one like Atlantis, depending on the ages of children. The other players can ask questions like, "Are there animals in this place?" or "What is the weather like there?" until someone figures it out.
One person thinks of an object, the others pose questions that can only be answered with yes or no. (Example: Is it an animal?) After 20 questions, each person guesses what it is.
Hum That Tune
One person hums a recognizable song and the others guess what it is.
A to Z Categories
Choose a topic (food, for example) and work your way through the alphabet naming things from the category (apples, bologna, crackers...). Use alphabet cards to help kids keep track of letters. Keep going until someone gets stumped.
Let the kids play co-pilot. Print out their own map with a highlighted route of the trip. Use the map's scale to teach them how to recognize the distance to the next city. Explain how to read the map's legend and ask them to tell you what's nearby: a national park, a hospital, a lake or mountain. Turn the car into a classroom and tell an interesting fact about each major landmark along the way - they won't even realize they're getting a geography lesson!
For quiet time activities, print off our Write Your Own Story Game or our Create Your Own Picture Postcard activity. You can also buy a book of puzzles and games such as hangman, tic-tac-toe or travel bingo. Give each child a clipboard and attach a pencil to it with string.
Crafts in the Car
Fill a shoebox with supplies to keep kids busy. Include pipe cleaners, wooden sticks, construction paper, coloured pencils, and tape. Challenge the kids to invent an imaginary beast and tell a story about it. Older children will enjoy making friendship bracelets or necklaces out of coloured or plastic string and beads.