We are getting ready for a drive from Dallas to Miami! Yes, that’s right…the one in South Florida. Neither my husband or I are night owls, so we can’t do the overnight thing. So, instead, we’ll slug it out over the course of a few twelve hour days. Did I mention, we have four children? Did I mention the oldest is five?
We are blessed to have a minivan with a DVD player in it. But, last year we practically wore the thing out on a similar trip (it became hot to the touch after seven or so hours of continuous use!). So, this year, inspired by something I saw on Pinterest, I decided to make something to keep my bigger kids busy: some homemade travel games!
The concept is to give them a reason to focus out the window. To give them something to look for. My younger children aren’t great with letter recognition yet, so games like the “license plate game” or looking for letters aren’t enough to keep their attention. But, this is!
Here’s my disclaimer…I’m not crafty, nor am I any type of graphics master or genius with design software. So, if I can do this. I bet you can too!
I used the Microsoft free images site and cut and pasted pictures of things I knew we would surely see on our way through the deep south and along the Gulf coast. On some of the sheets, I also used some business signs that we are sure to see off the exits and on billboards. (Please note: Since we don’t own these logos we must be careful not to infringe on anyone’s copyrights. I’m hopeful it’s okay to include them on my personal printables but am not making one of those available for you to print. I do hope that instead of suing us, the companies would be thrilled we are teaching our children to recognize their corporate identities. But, just in case, remember these are just for personal use.)
If your route is familiar, you can make these even more customized by adding landmarks (Grand Canyon?), characters (Mickey Mouse?) and other sights you are sure to see along your path (“Welcome to Louisiana” for example). Make it fun by thinking of unusual sights and including them (Think: dog in the back of a pick up truck or a car with eyelashes.) If you have older children, you can make one for them with just words and numbers. It’s a little bit more challenging -but I think my five year old will think it’s special to have an activity just for him while his younger siblings are napping. It’s a good way for him to learn some more words by sight and, he’ll enjoy the challenge of finding those numbers and letters.
This whole project took me less than an hour to do. I’ve attached my printouts to clip boards. I am using an old shoelace to attach a washable marker (some of you craftier types probably have some beautiful string or ribbon to use!), and I am going to instruct them to cross off the sights as they see them!
I’m including below the PDF files for two of the games I created. I hope you’ll use them, pin them, and customize your own as a great way to encourage and inspire learning on your next long journey!
Printables: Travel Game 1 & Travel Game 2
**Need more strategies for a long car ride this summer…check out Sherry’s post on road trip tips and Jennifer’s awesome travel and packing tips.