Alright, this little countdown could not be easier to make and it really worked! The idea is that there is one link for every hour in the car (give or take) and written inside is a suggested activity. It helped Jude understand that we were getting closer AND kept him occupied. I will never take a long car trip without one!
What to make your own?
Road Trip Activity Countdown
- Construction paper
- Glue Stick
- A bin packed with your planned activities
- Cut your paper to about 7" wide and then make 1" (by 7") strips, one or more for every hour in the car. Don't forget the trip back home (you'll want to make two)!
- Write activities on each strip, things like: play travel bingo, listen to a story, draw a map, color a picture, read a book, play I spy, sticker time, fun with felt, play with pipe cleaners, watch a movie, play the iPad.
- Link your strips together in a chain, placing the simplest activities first and the screen activities (if using) at the end. To make a chain, glue the short ends of the first strip together in a circle and add more strips by threading them through the next circle and gluing closed. Make sure you put the writing on the inside!
- Attach it to the headrest of the front seat by gluing the last link around it or attach with a pipe cleaner or piece of string.
- Hit the road and start playing!
We made it though a 12 hour drive with no tears. And we didn't bust out the screens until the last hour! I wasn't strict on pulling a strip each hour, I waited until he got antsy and we had so much fun! Some activities only lasted five minutes, while others stretched on and on.
One other tip: I really wanted him to nap if he could so I strategically put "take a nap, get a prize!" on the chain. I had packed little prizes (a foam build-your-own-firehouse and a pack of little dinosaurs) for each leg of the trip.
I hope this simple craft helps make your next family road trip that much more fun!
Here's to enjoying the journey!