It’s easy to give kids a video game, smartphone, or a tablet computer to keep them busy so you can focus on driving—especially during a long family road trip. But that shared time in the car can be a great way to unplug, for both parents and children alike. Here are three tech-free ways for families to have a perfect road trip.
Car Time Is Family Time
Eileen Ogintz, the founder of Taking the Kids, a site dedicated to family travel, suggests parents use road trips as opportunities to bond with their children by engaging in collective activities. She recommends listening to an audiobook that all family members are interested in and playing old-fashioned games such as “I Spy” and “I Packed My Grandmother’s Trunk,” a memory word game.
Tamara Gruber, founder of the family-travel-planning site We 3 Travel, advises putting together word puzzles and quizzes, such as ones with surprising historical facts, related to your destination. “Kids learn something new about what they’re seeing in a way that’s personally relatable because they’re part of the experience,” she says. She suggests finding work sheets via a Google search or on Pinterest.
Stop for Exercise
Kids need to release their pent-up energy with physical activities, says Kyle McCarthy, founder of the travel-planning site Family Travel Forum. She suggests packing sports equipment such as a baseball and mitts, a Frisbee, or a soccer ball and stopping every few hours at a park or a playground to let kids get their heart rates up—you can join, too. “Running around is something kids have fun doing and look forward to,” she says.