Some of the fondest family memories are made during the summer road trip adventures we take, but for the ill-prepared it can also be a period of heavy stress.
Family road trips should be as much part of the fun as the destination. They’re an integral part of the summer family experience. Many vehicles come equipped with some kind of video entertainment systems, but this barely scratches the surface for the kinds of fun you can have during the ride. The right variety of activities can turn even the most routine road trips into fun learning experiences, without resorting to hours of screen time.
Unless you’re one of the rare few who own a Caravan or Toyota minivan with a passenger cabin table, travel trays or tables may be the best place to start. These handy, portable and easy to clean surfaces provide a place for kids to play, keep food contained or a surface for coloring. There are a few different kinds on the market today. Picking the right one depends on the age of your kids and the seating layout of your vehicle. Pinji Kids Travel Tray (pictured above) is a personal favorite, for kids still in child seats, which has served well in several trips to Orlando and Muskoka. Zone Tech makes a foldable seat back tray which brings a little bit of an air travel feel to your road trip.
With an activity tray secured, the options for entertainment should now be varied. Younger kids who don’t quite appreciate the value of a good book can be entertained thanks to the huge selection of drawing or coloring kits available. Creativ Craft has an award winning kit which offers the kind of variety to keep kids interested as long miles go by. A handy travel bag to collect all the bits after use is a bonus. A magnetic drawing board could be a mess free, crayon free alternative to endless creativity.
For kids of all ages, travel games are a great way to provide entertainment while on the road. Card games, like Uno, are family classics that can be readily played, and matching memory games could be perfect for individual play. There is a long list of travel-sized version for popular games ideal for packing away in the vehicle. Keep in mind the reach your little passengers may have, as two row vehicles make games like Connect 4 tricky. Keep kids engaged on the places you drive through with scavenger hunts or travel bingo. Simple activities like these can be modified based on the age of your kids.
There is, of course, always the tablet option. With so many on the market, it can be difficult to determine which one will actually suit your needs. Keep an eye out for something which runs a more recent version of Android, version 6.0 or newer, and has at least 8Gb of memory and a MicroSD slot. The Samsung Galaxy Tab A is one of the standards in the industry, offering a modern Android version, long battery life and good hardware.
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