There are a number of classic, all-American essential aspects of summer - those things that you have to do at least once during the season. Making a trip to the local swimming pool is a must, also celebrating the 4th of July, likely with fireworks. The sweltering heat of July and August can make most families long for a little time away from real life. And every year, families pile into their vehicle for the quintessential road trip.
My family took our first epic road trip with all three of our children last summer. We drove from southern Minnesota to Portland, Oregon and then up to Seattle, Washington and back home. We were gone two weeks. Did I mention last summer my children were ages 1, 3, and 6? Our trip had the potential to be an awesome adventure or tortured entrapment. Luckily, I'm happy to report we had a wonderful time.
Like the Boy Scouts, my motto for our trip was Be Prepared. We are embarking on another road trip this summer and I have compiled a few of my favorite tricks for surviving the summer road trip. I hope they can help you as well!
1. Share what you see- This idea is simple, but very effective for little children. This was what made the trip so much fun for my then one year old. We pointed out a multitude of trucks and towers. Luckily, for us there were plenty everywhere on our trip. But for my one year old spotting these items was thrilling. Start pointing out things you see looking out the window- cows, trees, mountains - and soon your children will be naming items too. It really is the little pleasures in life that bring children joy.
2. Cheap prizes- On long road trips my children receive something we call a "lunchbox". There is no lunch included, but rather it is a tin box with little prizes. Inside are a couple of pieces of small candy and a new exciting toy. The prizes are not anything that will break the bank (sometimes I even purchase them at garage sales), but they provide a degree of excitement into what could potentially be a very long day for little kids.
3. Food and water- This might seem obvious, but keeping your children well fed and satiated can help keep everyone in a good mood. Try not to deviate from meal schedules.
Are you planning a road trip this summer? I hope my few pointers help make your trip memorable and fun. Just remember to be prepared as preemptive planning can help tremendously while on the road. Have a fun and safe summer!
Alicia Kirby blogs at The Mama Report were she provides her insight on a wide range of family friendly products. She is also a SAHM to three little boys who have oodles of energy. A former high school history and literature teacher, Alicia is happy to be raising her sons with her husband in the Minnesota countryside.