When our first child was born we were living in Dallas, Texas as Kyle was in seminary. So at that time we were over 20 hours from our family in Northwest Ohio. Before we made trips back and forth, we made sure that we had a working portable DVD player and also had mapped out where every Walmart was, for breaks to walk around and stretch our legs.
Now that we live back close to family in Ohio we rarely drive father than an hour or two at a time. But as we get ready for our family vacation this summer (one in which we will spend 43+ hours in the car and travel over 2700+ miles from Ohio to South Dakota and back) I am diligently trying to get things ready to “entertain” and “distract” the kiddos (ranging in age from almost 10 to 9 months) during our many hours in the car.
The last time we did a long car trip was our vacation a few years ago (a trip thru Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia). For that trip I think half of our van was packed with items to entertain our kids (ages 3, 5 and 7 at the time). We took along a slew of DVDs, books, coloring books and more.
Unfortunately, our DVD player in the van is on the way out. Plus I really don’t want to pack a ton of DVDs (space is limited with 6 people, a tent and luggage). So our alternative is an old laptop that we have loaded with 30+ digital videos (movies and tv shows). The boys each got to pick out movies and or shows to take. Some we had digital copies that came with DVDs, and for the others we used Disc to Digital from Vudu.
I also have packed bags for each of the boys containing: travel journals, pencils, books to read, activity books and a few surprises. I loaded their iPods (thanks uncle Justin) with music and Adventures in Odyssey. They also have games and more books on their Kindles too. Also, for Easter they each also got a travel game for so I have those and a few other games in a tub. Besides that I have threatened that if I hear anyone complaining of being in the car or asking “Are we there yet?” I am going to give them school to do. LOL.
Since we home-school I was already planning on making this trip both fun AND educational. I wrote some unit studies to cover information and history about the states and cities we are travelling through. So I have those worksheets and more packed as well. Also, Geography is a favorite subject for the boys right now, so we will review states and capitals, play license plate bingo and track our progress on maps as we go!
The one I am most worried about is my 9 month old. But thankfully we have broken our trip up into segments (with the longest amount of time in the car being 6 hours). It has been quite some time since we have traveled this much with an infant, but hopefully she will be good. I have stops planned out , snacks galore packed and her favorite movie loaded onto her Kindle (Baby Einstein). She also has 3 goofy big brothers who love to sing to her and try to make her laugh.
One thing is for certain, we will all be spending a lot of time together in a confined space during this trip. We will be building memories that will last a lifetime (good or bad). Pray for us and our travels if you feel led (mostly for sanity for Kyle and myself)! We would really appreciate it. 🙂 I look forward to sharing about our travels and what we have seen and learned the next time I blog. God bless you! 🙂