Road trips can be challenging when you have children in the car. Having a plan for keeping kids busy while traveling is essential before you hit the road. I want to show you how we kept our children entertained on our last road trip without using a movie. Not only were they entertained, but they were learning, which we all love. The key to our success was setting the kids up on an activity rotation system so that there was a new activity for them every 30 minutes. It made time pass quickly for both them and us. If you are looking for more ideas for car road trips, you might find these posts helpful: Ticket Count Down, Reward System for Vacation, and 10 Simple Ways to Engage Young Kids in the Car.
How to Set-Up a Rotation System for Road Trips
We weren’t going on a long road trip. We were visiting my sister, who lives just over two hours away. What I did was break the trip up in 30 minute shifts. I created 5 “stations” that could be rotated between the kids. Since there were 5, the kids did a have a choice of one they didn’t care to do. They could always do the other activity on the ride home as well. All of the components of the car “busy bags” fit into one nice big bag that could fit between the girls and therefore be easily accessible. I also didn’t want this to be too complicated of an idea for travel, so I used very basic ideas to keep kids entertained. The key is the rotation, which is what makes the time pass quickly.
With the systems in place, we were all ready to hit the road. Our family lets oldest child choose first, but we try and teach our kids to be servant leaders. This time, I was glad to see that my eldest let her siblings choose first. It is such a reward when you see some of the teaching paying off in the lives of your children. Kenzie chose the tablet. Corban chose the felt binder, and Abby chose the drawing books.
Learning Games on my Acer Iconia Tab 10 A3-A2OFHD with Corning® Gorilla® Glass 4
I just received my first tablet, and I loaded it with great learning games for kids. I’m super excited about this tablet. I do limit screen time, but I feel so much better having my kids use my tablet because they have one screen dedicated to their learning games. Each child has a row assigned to them with fun learning games appropriate for their age. I can feel good about the growth that is being done during their allotted screen time. These apps work on math, reading, logic games puzzles, writing and Spanish. Movies and shows can be mindless for kids, but I am very comfortable in the ways I saw them engaged with learning on our new device.
I could also feel good about the Acer Iconia Tab 10 being passed between the kids because of the durability of this device. It has Corning® Gorilla® Glass 4, which is Corning’s toughest cover glass to datecreated to perform 2x better then competitive glass when dropped from about 3 feet high. It also survives 80% of the time when dropped at 3 feet, which is likely to happen with small kids. Speaking of small kids, it also comes with anti-fingerprint coating and Zero Air Gap technology. Can I get some of that anti-fingerprint coating on my windows, please? The Iconia Tab 10 was easy for my kids to hold and provided fluid and fast navigation that was intuitive to them.
Not only is the Iconia Tab 10 going to be great for my kids, but I’m looking forward to the features it offers too:
- Dolby technology provides a surround sound experience with clear and powerful audio. – I’ve been running on a treadmill, so this will be great for watching my favorite shows.
- The Iconia Tab 10 has a 5MP rear-facing Full HD camera that captures 1080p video and a 2MP front-facing HD webcam that captures 720p. These are fabulous for video conferencing and recording video. – This is great for my blogging side of life. I have been doing more YouTube videos lately, and it’s great to have the use of my tablet to help. I see this as a great addition to the tools I use for Meaningful Mama. I also can use it to capture pictures and video of my kids.
- The 16:10 is ideal for browsing websites and reading. – I plan to use my tablet for both browsing and reading, and I have found it comfortable for both.
- Gorilla Glass 4 – I’m super excited about the gorilla glass 4 technology too. I have been known to have clumsy hands and drop my phone way too many times. With their focus on improving damage done when devices are dropped on hard surfaces like asphalt, concrete and other rough surfaces, it seems like a good fit for my butter fingers.
The Iconia Tab 10 “station” was definitely the most desirable component of our rotation system, but that doesn’t mean my kids didn’t engage in the other fun activities I and to offer.
The next “station” was the reading station. I let the kids each choose some of their favorite books for the ride. I put these in a bag so they could be passed around the car with ease. To sit and look at or read books is another healthy way to keep kids’ brains engaged in the car.
Working on Math Facts
I want my kids to really know their math facts. I celebrate that they can figure out and understand the reason behind the math facts, but I believe in the benefit of memorizing the facts. We have these fun wrap-ups and flash cards to help motivate the math learning. Although my youngest isn’t quite at this point in learning (age 4), he still likes to play with the wrap-ups and work on saying his numbers.
Coloring and Drawing Books
Coloring books are a great option for car rides because most kids enjoy coloring, and you probably already have some of these on hand. If not, there are some great coloring printables out there. I’d encourage you to have drawing utensils packed in a portable container. My 4 and 6 year old kids had the coloring books, while my older daughter asked to bring the drawing books she received for Christmas. Having the kids part of the packing process aided in the success of these “stations.”
This felt binder I created a while back and my kids still love it. For full directions for creating this, please visit the post I wrote for Kid’s Activities Blog. The felt binder has been enjoyed by all my children and was Corban’s first choice.
This concludes the five rotation stations I had for our road trip. My kids remained engaged in their activities, and it was a great trip, both there and back. I hope you find this concept helpful as you are traveling this summer. Although I focused on a road trip, this can absolutely work well on plane rides or even to keep kids entertained this summer. You don’t need to rely on mindless movies and shows to keep your kids engaged. Having appropriate learning activities prepared ahead of time works really well.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Corning®. The opinions and text are all mine.
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