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Keep kids happy and busy on roadtrips

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Posted: Monday, June 4, 2012 4:59 pm

Two months of glorious summer are ahead for Lodi students. If their moms and dads are lucky enough to get a few days off from work, now is the time for the Great American  Family Road Trip. I don't recommend tackling the entire historic Route 66 in one go with kiddos on board. But if you're heading to Disneyland, the beach, or Yosemite, the time spent in the car doesn't have to be painful. Snacks are a given, but here are some ideas to keep your kids occupied:

Travel Notebooks:  Fill a large, three ring binder with a pencil pouch carrying scissors, pencils, and crayons. Add blank white paper, some notebook paper and a few colors of construction paper. Make one for each child. They can draw, write, keep track of each stop, or play endless tic tac toe. For younger kids, add stickers and coloring pages.

Check list: Have a list of items, locations, or activities that the kids can mark off once they see them. It could be a list of animals to catch a glimpse of during the trip, types of cars, license plates from around the country, letters of the alphabet, or anything else that will keep them watching the road and having fun. Add this to their notebooks or keep it separate.

Maps: Purchase a full map of the Unites States, and cross off every license plate you find. Or bring a map of your destination, so the kids can follow the route along as you drive. Older kids can study up a bit before the trip and keep track of landmarks. 

I-Spy Jars: Take large plastic jars and fill them with rice. Add about 25 small toys or items, like a penny, an action figure or a die. Keep a list of everything in the jar. Once the lid is secured tightly, kids can shake the rice around to find each item and check them off. 

Treasure hunt: Take another large plastic jar and write your child's name on it in big letters. At each stop, encourage your kids to find something they could take home in the jar to remind them of the places you were. After each addition, write the item and the place on the jar. 

This is just a small sample of the opportunities road trips present for creativity and fun. Plus it keeps your kids from staring at a screen. Isn't that why you're on the road in the first place?

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