Tag Archives: summer

When looking out to the open road, here are tips to planning a road trip with the kids.

8 Tips For Planning an Awesome Road Trip with the Kids

Road tripping may be the preferred American mode of transportation, but it became ten times less enjoyable when you had kids. Your children may fill your heart with love, but they fill your backseat with loud, sticky messes. But you’re in luck! With just a little extra planning, you can stave off the whining and set your family up for an enjoyable road trip with the kids. Whether you’re heading into the wilderness for a few days of camping, or over the river and through the woods to Grandma’s, here are some useful road trip tips to help you and your children enjoy the journey AND the destination.

  1. Make a road trip kit for each of your kids.  If you’re driving a long distance, you can plan ahead to make the journey as seamless as possible. Here’s how: Each hour of the trip, let the kids open a new gift or activity which you keep concealed in the front seat with you. For each hour, have a new toy (small, inexpensive toys you can find at a dollar store), an activity, stickers, a CD, a snack, etc. This helps the time go by quickly, keeps your little ones occupied and distracted from that nagging “are we there yet?” feeling.
  2. Get your kids to look out the window by planning a scavenger hunt.  Create a simple worksheet to check the boxes as they find each item. This can be as simple as finding road signs for each letter of the alphabet, license plates from each state, or color-based items such as a blue building, a red barn, a cow, etc.
  3. Although you might want to avoid buying every toy a child spots at a roadside rest stop, it can be a fun idea to allow your child to pick out one souvenir that is representative of the trip. A great way for them to remember the trip you took together, it can also be an item to schedule in the road trip kit – plan it at a strategic time when they need a good distraction.
  4. No matter what your mother may have told you, it is okay to pack in laundry baskets. Though you may feel awkward arriving at a hotel with baskets in lieu of suitcases, it will pay off when you arrive back at home with neatly sorted baskets of clean and dirty clothes.
  5. This one’s a no-brainer.  Bring trash bags for the car.  Empty your trash ritually at each gas station – a clean car will help maintain your sanity. Don’t forget a plastic baggy of paper towels, wet wipes, hand sanitizer, and a small pocket knife for slicing fruit, cheese, or bread.
  6. Have picnics instead of fast food.  You might have to invest a little time driving around to find perfect picnic spot, but it will be worth it.  Whether you pack food from home or stop at the grocery on the way, you’ll save money, have a healthier lunch, and enjoy a great view. Picnics can quickly become a cherished family tradition.
  7. Even if your toddler is borderline potty-trained, don’t risk it.  Opt for the pull-up and eliminate even the marginal risk of road trip pant-wetting.
  8. Build up the anticipation and eliminate any arguments by selecting a movie ahead of time.  Save the movie for after dark to allow some quiet time before the little ones (fingers crossed!) drift off to sleep.


Taking an 8 hour road trip with my man child and two babies. Any advice?

We have a 5 hour road trip planned at Christmas. My daughter will almost be 7 months. She is bottle fed formula. Anyone have suggestions on how to heat/keep her bottles warm?

My lo is 5wks. Has anyone taken baby on a road trip? How far? Was it hard? I’m anxious to get out.

Any advice or opinions on how a 11 month old baby would do on a 22 hour road trip? I know craziness but it’s kind of for an emergency…

My husband and I are considering a road trip from Toronto Canada to Florida in January during his 2 weeks off. We figured by driving we can bring everything we need which will amount to quite a bit for twins who will be 6 months old at the time. Do you think the drive will be too much for the babies?

Need to keep breast milk frozen 3 day road trip any ideas? Total about 225oz.

My friend is going to be about 10 weeks pregnant when they will do a cross-country road trip. It will be about 5-7 days that they will be traveling. What are the things that would make this trip a bit easier for her?

Best snacks for a 16mo for an 8 hour road trip?

How soon would you take your LO on a 5 hour road trip to see family? My MIL wants me to take my LO up to her dads house that is 5 hours away after the baby is born in July. He’s dying and he really wants to see my LO before he passes.

Preparing for our first 9 hour road trip with LO (4.5 months) from Ontario to Quebec City. Debating at the point if we should drive through the day or overnight. Anyone else make this far of a trip with little one?

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9 Things to do this Summer - SmartMom

9 Free Summer Fun Activities for Kids

Summers almost here – and that means the kids are nearly out of school. So what fun things will you be doing this summer? These ideas for free summer fun activities for kids are totally worth trying.

Take a hike – If you’ve been cooped up all winter like us, then you are probably more than ready to get outside. So what are you waiting for? Fill up the water bottles (that’s key!) and head to your favorite local trail for a hike with the kids. Don’t be afraid to make it more interesting by having them take photos of their favorite plants (or all the bugs you pass along the way!).

Catch fireflies at dusk – Grab a jar or two, and teach your kids the fine art of catching fireflies. It’s a summer tradition that’s worth passing on – and after a little teaching, they will be all about doing this one on their own. Sit back, and enjoy their joy.

Build a massive sandcastle – Headed to the beach? Don’t forget the buckets, shovels and whatnot for sandcastle building. But to create truly great memories with the kids, get right down into the sand with them for a massive sandcastle building session. You’ll want to bring the serious shovels (no wimpy plastic ones here!) to get a huge sand pile ready for the shaping.

Head to the playground – Your local playground is always a fun (and free!) thing to do with kids. But this summer, branch out and try other local playgrounds too. You never know when you might stumble on a playground gem a little out of the way.

Water fight! – Water balloons? Check. Water guns? Check. Hose? Check. Break out your favorite water gear and have a big backyard water fight. The kids will love getting each other wet – and you too. Just be sure that if you are going the water balloon route, you plan ahead and fill the balloons. It takes awhile (trust me, this one I know from experience).

Get gardening – Do you have a plot for your favorite flowers or veggies in the backyard? If not, now’s the time to get started with one. Gardening with your kids not only makes your yard pretty, but it also imparts important lessons – like responsibility, follow-through and how to grow things.

Geocaching, anyone? – Have you heard of geocaching? It’s like a treasure hunt for modern families. You use your GPS-enabled mobile device to seek out treasures. It’s fun, and totally free – plus the adventure is absolutely worth it. Check out www.geocaching.com/ for details and how to get started.

Be a visitor to your town – It’s funny how we can live somewhere for a long time, but seldom really look around. Pretend you are visitors to your town, just passing through. Go on a local adventure, dropping into the stores you pass but never experience and trying that little restaurant you’ve seen but never really noticed. And don’t forget to drop by local special spots – like gardens and monuments – for some great photo-ops.

Volunteer together – Whether it’s a local soup kitchen or food pantry or your library, there are so many opportunities for families to volunteer. Phone around town and find out who needs help. Then head out with the kids to give back. It’s so rewarding – and that’s always fun!


Check out our tips on how to avoid the summer slide!

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