Travels With My Family

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!

About Tonette Joyce

Tonette was a once-fledgling lyricists-bookkeeper, turned cook/baker/restaurateur and is now exploring different writing venues,(with a stage play recently completed). She has had poetry and nonfiction articles published in the last few years. Tonette has been married to her only serious boyfriend for more than thirty years and she is, as one person described her, family-oriented almost to a fault. Never mind how others have described her, she is,(shall we say), a sometime traditionalist of eclectic tastes.She has another blog : "Tonette Joyce:Food,Friends,Family" here at WordPress.She and guests share tips and recipes for easy entertaining and helps people to be ready for almost anything.
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9 Responses to Travels With My Family

  1. Jeff Salter says:

    your mind writing stories or other things — yes, exactly. And that’s why I generally prefer to travel solo (unless it’s a LOOOONNNNNGGGG journey), so that I’m not distracted from what my mind sifts through to focus on.
    Love the description of your travels as a young family. My wife has a cousin who’s a history teacher (and other subjects, I’m sure). She has taken her 3 kids on trips all over the CONUS and usually toward at least one major site — such as NASA, for example — but working the iterinary out so that they also hit many other historic or significant places. Not only has it been a terrific education for her kids, but it’s helped beef up her teaching, since she’s seen (in person) so many of the places she’s dealing with in the lesson plans.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My 8th grade history teacher was an Air Force wife. She would hit every library and archive of every place that they were stationed,(which was a considerable number). She seldom had us crack our history books, instead, she lectured from her considerable notes. Unfortunately, this was a mistake, because she picked up and believed every rumor, every false claim which she insisted had to be the ‘real truth’ of any matter. It made it very hard to study when you missed a class and almost impossible to study everything from your own notes, unless you had great and fast handwriting. Two girls knocked themselves out making notes and everyone was after theirs; I used them because I was ill off and on and even had switched to that school midyear. It was the first time that I did not get straight As in History.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jeff Salter says:

        wow. It’s nice to ADD some local “flavor” of historic sites or events, but not to rely solely on the experience… and avoid the peer-reviewed textbooks.
        As a parent, I would have been worried about that teacher’s approach… assuming they even knew at the time.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I told mine, but there were many other family problems.It wasn’t a public school, so I doubt that things would have gone far.It was a strange experience at that school for about 5 months of my life.


  2. Patricia Kiyono says:

    I miss those days with my daughters, too. I’ve gone on a couple of trips with my younger daughter in the past few years, and that’s also fun. I miss the child in her, but it’s awesome to see the woman she’s become.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes,I do enjoy the men my sons are.It is wonderful to be able to speak with them as fellow adults. I even asked on to give me advice to pass on in his area of expertise today:”Are the masks that people are sewing at home in groups useable in hospitals?” His answer was, “Yes, but they can’t be rated for filtration”.
      The other son called to let me know what was happening for civil preparation locally, since he is a first responder who has many contacts with other authorities.
      On the other hand, the teen grandkids are growing way too fast! I spoke with two of the three today.


  3. Elaine Cantrell says:

    Sounds like you did a great job keeping the kiddos happy.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. trishafaye says:

    It’s been so many years since I’ve had to travel with my boys as youngsters. Of course, at that time there weren’t any hand held devices – nor in car TV’s. We sang. We watched. EVERYTHING. I remember one trip I drove with them from California to Arkansas to see my dad. We came back the longer way, detouring slightly up north so we could all see different states and different sites. I only planned driving about 6+ hours a day & took 4 days each way since I was the sole driver. That left us checking in to a hotel long before dinner time, so there was lots of pool play time which they enjoyed. It also left enough space in the day so if we saw a sign that said “Boot Hill”, we were off and checking out local sites.


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