Today, we’re heading home from the Outer Banks–a vacation we’ve been looking forward to for weeks but one that comes with a 6+ hour car ride journey.
After my last trip back from PA–my 5 hour solo adventure–the last thing I am going to do is plop my 5, 3, and 2 year old in the car without ample planning.
Here’s what I’ve got in my back pocket for my three young travelers, should they suddenly get ants in their little stuck-in-carseats-pants.
- Travel Bingo OBX: This is a totally awesome adaptation of my first game, this time made by my pal, Laura, who is a seasoned Outer Banks traveler. She knew cool sites to add to the game, and she kindly sent it to me to use.
I called it Travel Bingo OBX, and Maddy, Owen, and Cora loved playing it on the way down because it includes Grave Digger (the monster truck), the World’s Largest Hammock (no joke!), a tunnel, and everything beachy–sailboats, bikes, etc. It proved to be an awesome game and kept little eyes and hands busy.
Travel Bingo OBX is here to download as a pdf if you’d like.
- ABC Road Hunt: We played this a loooong time ago, but I printed out new boards and clipped them to new chart stickers. These are simply small squares under each letter of the alphabet. When a player spies a letter, he puts a sticker in the box–that’s it!
Although my kiddos were not interested in playing this on the way, we’ve got them ready, complete with tiny stickers should they choose to play today. I printed out one uppercase board and one lowercase board for each Maddy, Owen, and Cora.
- Number Hunt Boards: I also printed a few of these out in case we were feeling a little number-hungry along the way. With the many road signs, license plates, and highway signs we’ll see, I thought this would be worthwhile.
These are the same deal as the ABC Hunt Game, but with numbers 1-20. And the great thing is that if we don’t use these boards while traveling, we can always use them in the house, grocery store, or wherever.
- Color Cards: Along with my bag of Color Cards and Clips, I have a small bag of about 20 paint-store color samples that I cut into squares. Each strip had about 4 or 5 shades, so the bag has bits of every color. This little guy has proved to buy us some time a few weeks ago while we waited at the vet before Golden and Guinea’s check-up and at a few restaurants before our meals arrived.
Maddy and Owen like to make color lines or patterns with the colors, and I usually help Cora sort the colors into piles. It’s not as easy to sort these as you might think; some of the colors–the yell0w-green or purplish-pink–even stump Maddy and Owen!
- Books: I re-vamped, re-arranged, and re-organized the book supply that we keep in our car; at our hospital’s book tent a few weeks ago, I stuffed my $8 bag with every great children’s book I could find. With a fresh supply of books to walk through on this long trip, I had a feeling that Maddy, Owen, and Cora would find something they liked.
I also put a huge stack of early-emergent reader texts in Maddy’s small backpack. Kindergarten is fast approaching, and I know she likes to try to read the words she can on the pages.
- Backpacks: In everyone’s tiny travel backpack, I put their small Magna-Doodle and their bag of art supplies–a few sheets of stickers, their travel crayons, some paper, and a small tablet. I threw a bunch of cars in Owen’s pack, some Polly Pockets in Maddy’s, and some Little People in Cora’s.
Miraculously, our drive to the Outer Banks from Maryland was (surprisingly!) enjoyable. It could have been a combination of leaving before the crack of dawn, stopping for breakfast, or the anticipation of the beach at the end of the road.
We’ll cross our fingers today for a safe and peaceful trip on the way home, and hopefully these three tiny travelers will have a few games, some easy activities, and their memories of jumping waves and collecting seashells to keep these kiddos occupied.