Well, we're back. We lived a crazy three weeks visiting lots of relatives and friends up North, and now we're settling back in to our daily routine. When I planned this trip I originally had all kinds of good intentions for making busy bags and learning activities to make the time pass like these magnetic puzzles or these fun marble maze bags.
But when it came right down to it, after all the packing and last minute errands I only ended up with about 15 minutes to spare for that kind of thing. I tried to make the most of it, and in the end, I think we got very good mileage (no pun intended) for the time and effort spent.
I Spy Treasure Bags
First, I brainstormed to come up with a list of things that we were likely to see on our trip but that weren't too common. Things like:
a moving train
a barn with a silo
a suspension bridge
a car-carrying truck
45 speed limit sign
a school bus
something that said the word "Tennessee" on it
Then I did quick google image searches to find a picture for each item. I printed off a large size of each picture and pasted them onto lunch bags. I put treats inside of each bag.
I also cut and pasted all of the images in smaller version onto a single document. I gave one paper to each girl to refer to as she looked out the window. If she spotted one of the items she let us know and I found the bag with that picture on it. Inside of each bag was a set of surprise treats for everyone. Some of the bags had food treats (fruit leather, granola bars, etc). Other bags had little toys or books.
Since we were going to be on the road for almost three days straight, I waited until the second day to introduce the I Spy Bags. It took the girls longer to spot the items that I thought it might, which ended up being just fine. It spread the treats out over two days, and until the last item was spotted they always had something they could do.
I think they noticed a lot more scenery than they might have otherwise, and learned a few things along the way. (now they know what a suspension bridge is, for example!)
What other fun travel games or tips for road trips with kids have you tried or heard of lately? On our next road trip, little J will likely be old enough to get restless and we'll have THREE fidgety kids on our hands!