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You’re packed, you’ve filled the gas tank, hit the highway, and then you hear it: “Are we there yet?” “My tablet died!” “He’s touching me!” “WE’RE BORED!” So much for a vacation, right? Fear not! These road-trip tips are guaranteed to keep your pint-sized passengers entertained and engaged, making both the journey and the destination a pleasant experience for everyone.

Tray Chic

First things first, invest in a travel tray. These handy trays provide a flat surface for activities like coloring, toys, stickers, and snacks. Snag a style that includes a cup holder and storage pockets to keep all the neces­sities within little hands’ reach.

Small Surprises

Kids love opening presents. Before a long drive, browse garage sales, discount bins, or the dollar store for tiny, budget-friendly trinkets and toys and wrap them in scrap paper or newspaper. Toss a handful into a bag or lunchbox and let your children open them during the ride. You can even distribute surprises at specific stops along the way. The novelty of opening new things will keep their spirits up and keep them engaged.

Motor Skills

Keep little hands busy with activities that promote fine motor control. Create games using paper towel rolls with holes for pushing pom poms through or let them get creative with pipe cleaners. Fidget toys and busy boards are also great options for toddlers and pre­schoolers.

Attention Magnet

A cookie sheet makes a great platform for magnetic creations on-the-go! Magnet tiles for construction, let­ters and numbers, and even magnetic poetry are fun options for kids of all ages. Just grab a few from the fridge before you leave!

Sticky Situation

For window seat solutions, removable stickers and film clings can give little riders a canvas for their imagina­tions to run wild. Want to lean into the artsy angle? A stack of sticky notes and a box of crayons are all your artists need to create their own tiny gallery! Create mini masterpieces or use the squares themselves to make pixel pictures.

Next Generation Navigators

Let your kids follow along on the journey by provid­ing them with a map and marking off stops along the way. Encourage them to use observational skills to estimate your location, the distance to your desti­nation, or where you might make your next pit stop. A blank notebook makes a great travel log!

Cheese, Please!

Curious about your kids’ perspective of a long road trip? Give them an opportunity to show you! See the drive from your child’s eyes and give them a smart­phone or small camera. They can document the journey, the company, and whatever else catches their eye. They get to flex their creative muscles and you get unique keepsakes – it’s a win-win. (Unless they snag an unflattering snap of you napping in the passenger seat!)

Listen Up

Only the strongest stomachs can handle reading in the car. If the thought of flipping pages on the road makes you queasy, audiobooks can be a life (and upholstery) saver. Make a family trip to the library before your departure and borrow some stories that the whole vehicle will enjoy, or download some onto a parent’s device to play over the speakers. Look for old favorites read by the authors or recognizable voices, or find something new and exciting!

Don’t forget to plan kid-friendly stops along the way to break up the trip and stretch. Look for playgrounds, parks, and potties on your route beforehand or scan a map app for high­lights. Keeping baby wipes, toilet paper, sun­screen, and hand sanitizer accessible makes it easy to stop whenever and wherever you need. With these traveling tips, parents can ride with pride knowing they’re making great mobile memories.