When on a trip (either a long vacation or a day trip) how do you occupy the travel time, or keep the kids occupied?
With kids, it is a little different.
When my kids were under 8-10, we lived in Colorado, near Denver. We took many, many day trips to the mountains or to visit extended the in-law family in Pueblo. We never had any problem with the kids since we started them out riding far at a very young age. We had books, if only picture books to start with. We looked at the views, the changing landscape and discussed it. The Husband was a history/geography/sometimes-science teacher, so we talked about everything we saw or hoped to see. We varied our trips, so there was always something new. The kids napped when they were little.
Although we did vary the places, there were familiar spots where we would stop, frequent stops to places that are interesting are very helpful with children. We would stop at places of natural beauty and have binoculars with us at all times. Scenic spots, where everyone can stretch their legs, shake the cobwebs out of their minds, see something new and generally cost no money, all helped to give the kids an appreciation of nature, (be it scenery, rocks, birds, animals), all made for learning opportunities.
The fact that they didn’t have to go to McD’s was also good for them. We packed picnics and took coolers, so that we could lunch wherever we found a nice place, (hopefully with sanitary facilities. If not, a quick trip in to a rest stop or store where we’d buy something we could use also taught them to be thinking and considerate.)
I have not traveled much with my oldest grandson, (the new one is two months old and does not live near us). I have traveled none at all with the granddaughters, although they have taken many long car trips with their dad. They talk, they read, they had in-car movies, (which I cannot say that I necessarily approved), but he remembered all of our trips when he was a kid and draws on his experiences.
I have done my best to keep my grandson engaged in conversation during the few long trips which we have taken together. All of them had been after he had been away, or was going to be away, so there was much to talk about. I did have to get him off of his phone where he was watching shows a few times on our next-to-the-last trip, but at least he was easily distracted from it. He also seemed to be keeping a good ear on what we were doing and saying, adding to the conversation or answering when I asked something which The Husband and I had been discussing. And the last time, he stayed in our conversation constantly.
I thought it was important to keep him involved.
On the other hand, when traveling just with The Husband, we do talk, we sometimes also look for radio stations with good (Oldies) music. We’ve been listening to a lot of audio books at home, but I have not tried them in the car, since the one we take on long trips, (a little bigger and better on gas), doesn’t have a CD player, and several of our favorite series, like LOTR, are on tape.
During every trip, The Husband wants to pray. We’re Catholic and he loves the rosary. The biggest drawback is the repetition of it and that, along with the droning of the car and sitting still, will make me nod off very quickly if I try to say more than one.
(That’s probably why the boys used to nap.)
So sometimes, he’s driving away, rosarying away, while my mind is on writing stories or other things. For a part of th eduration of our travels it seems like things are quite quiet, but our minds are cranking away.
It doesn’t look like we’ll be taking too many long trips in the near future, though,(or many short trips for that matter).
I miss the semi-hectic days of little kids in the car!