1. Free activities. Rhonda’s family reads books from the library and plays games such as I Spy (choose an item and let others ask questions to guess it) and License-Plate Bible Names (identify Bible characters whose names start with the first letter on a license plate).

Families can also play Name That Hymn (hum the first line and let others guess) and the Alphabet Game (find letters of the alphabet in order on signs you pass). Print mazes, puzzles and word games found on the Internet to take along, or go to Clubhousemagazine.com to find sudoku puzzles and Clubhousejr.com for puzzles and colouring pages.
— Rhonda DeYoung

2. Night driving. When Matthew and Alexandra faced a 2,700-kilometer drive, a four-year-old child and time constraints, they started their trip in the evening. Alexandra drove while her husband, Matthew, slept. Their child was able to handle the trip until right before bedtime. Later, Matthew took over the driving while Alexandra slept. This schedule allowed half of the travel time to be completed during their child’s sleeping hours.
— Alexandra Lütz

3. Bad-weather bonds. With a two-, seven-, nine- and 12-year-old in the car, Barbara broke up the trip with picnics at rest stops, even in inclement weather. The family joked about the drizzle or chilly air for miles.
— Barbara Larkin

4. Car awards. The Kirkbrides present awards to their children on car trips. They give gifts with each award, such as a couloring book, sparkly crayons, notepads, stickers and books. After opening doors for others, Carter received the "Good Gentleman" award and a book on CD. Other awards included Best Sleeper, Kind Brother, Good Rider, Happy Helper, Thinking of Others, Joyful Heart and Good Listener.
— Jami Kirkbride

5. What to bring. "On long trips, I take plastic zipper bags of things to do – one for each hour of travel," Karla says. "A favourite activity is listening to Adventures in Odyssey tapes." Young children, who have minimal attention spans, may need to be occupied with different toys at shorter intervals, while older children may have a backpack of items from which to choose. Parents should also consider bringing disinfectant wipes, motion-sickness bags and medication, garbage bags, easily-accessible changes of clothes, pain reliever medication, bottled water, kid-friendly activities, maps/GPS equipment, change for toll roads, snacks, a first aid kit, your medical insurance card and immunization and allergy records.
— Candy Arrington

From Focus on Your Child’s Discovery Years, April 2008. Published by Focus on the Family. © 2008 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. International copyright secured. Used by permission.

If you liked this article and would like to go deeper, we have some helpful resources below.

Our recommended resources

Free advice on marriage, parenting and Christian living delivered straight to your inbox

View comments ()