Oh, how I miss the days when my kids were babies. Anytime we traveled out of town we could just pop in their binkies and have a relaxing drive while they slept in the backseat. Now that they’re big kids, things are not that simple. They bicker, refuse to agree on a movie to watch and constantly ask “Are we there yet?”. To keep the peace I created a new version of Road Trip Busy Bags for big kids!
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DIY Road Trip Surprise Bags
At the time of our last road trip, our kids were 5 and 8.
Making them old enough to:
-Refuse to take naps, no matter how tired they are.
-Eat all the snacks in the bottomless snack bag within the first 20 minutes
-Ask “Are we there yet?” – literally one million times.
Without a plan to keep the kids busy during your next family road trip, this could completely ruin the beginning of your family vacay.
This year, I decided to be proactive and take advantage of some of the key factors I knew had played a role in misery of our last long trip in the car:
-My oldest can tell time and kept looking at the clock and asking “How many more minutes/hours?” – in addition to the regularly scheduled “Are we there yet?”
-Any toys and activities we bring along to keep them busy become “boring” within the first hour.
-They love snacks and eating snacks keeps them quiet.
Using this “Holy Trinity” of prior knowledge I came up with a solution:
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Road Trip Goodie Bags!
Typically I would have packed a bag of snacks AND a bag of activities to allow them to access at their request.
However, I knew from experience that it didn’t keep them happy or quiet.
This time would be different!
On this road trip I would be alternating a small bag containing snacks or an activity every 30 minutes.
This would ensure that the snacks were rationed to last the entire trip.
It would also keep them excited to discover what was in the next bag.
Here’s the catch:
In order for them to receive their next bag, there were two rules:
Rule #1 – No bickering
Rule #2 – No asking “Are we there yet?” or “How much longer?”
If they did, they would not receive their next bag
How to Make a Big Kid Road Trip Busy Bag
First you need to calculate how long you will be in the car before reaching your destination. I our case it was 4 hours.
Next, you will determine how many bags you need to prep.
Considering that this was the first time we attempted this strategy I wanted to make an impact. In order to keep the excitement up I planned on giving them a bag every 30 minutes.
This meant I would need 8 bags for each child (16 bags total).
I headed to the store to get my supplies:
- Brown Paper Lunch Bags
- Play-Doh Minis
- Travel card games that my kids love
- These awesome card holders for little hands
- Aarons’ Thinking Putty
- Melissa & Doug On the Go No-Mess Activity Books
- A few of these awesome Find It Games
- Dry Erase Markers
- Dry Erase Tablets
- Snacks – lots of small snacks
- I also gathered up some stuff that we already had at home that they hadn’t played with in a while.
When I returned home I started by labeling the bags. I used cute duct tape and masking tape to create my labels.
I marked each one with the time that it was to be opened.
Finally I placed the goodies inside, alternating a treat or an activity every 30 minutes and folded up the top to close.
How did it go?
Honestly, it went great! I will definitely be doing it again.
It only took about 15 minutes to prep (minus the shopping).
They were able to follow our “Road Trip Goodie Bag Rules” – since it would have been torture to miss out on receiving the next bag.
I will definitely use this trick on our next family road trip.
Have any travel tips to share? Please comment below!