Even in the age of technology, it's not easy to keep kids happy on long road trips. Watching movies on handheld or built-in devices passes the time, but you might want to consider some interactive options that provide mental stimulation in addition to entertainment. The next time you hit the road, try these four ideas to engage your children's minds in the car:
Art projects in the car might sound like a disaster, but creativity doesn't have to be messy on the go. Pack a spiral, hardbound sketchbook and a set of colored pencils or gel pens and ask kids to draw scenes they see outside the window. Coloring books are another popular option. For tech-loving kids, download drawing or coloring apps for tablets or smartphones.
An age-old tradition, listening to music in the car never goes out of style. Modern technology makes listening to any type of music possible. If you're up for a family sing-along, choose a CD, satellite radio station, or podcast that everyone likes and play it on the car's stereo system. Some XM Radio stations and podcasts cater specifically to children. For a quieter ride, give each child a pair of headphones and a portable music player, tablet, or smartphone. If kids want to write their own tunes, find fun music apps for little ones or full-featured tracking and composing programs for older kids.
The power of a great story is undeniable, and children are especially captivated by storytelling magic. Start a story and then let each child add something to the plot. For a quieter way to pass the time, put some writing apps on their devices. Some apps even allow kids to create stories with illustrations and music.
Many kids also love classic car games like I Spy, 20 Questions, and the license plate game, which is also available as an app. Tablets and smartphones take games to a new level on modern road trips. Even non-driving adults love to grab their phones and get in on the fun.
With the right in-car entertainment, family road trips are never boring. Many of today's cars, SUVs, and minivans come equipped with built-in entertainment systems, satellite radio, and multiple charging ports for devices.
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