Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Family Vacation, Part III {In the Van}

Knowing that we'd be spending a significant amount of time in the van during our vacation {approximately 1,500 miles} I wanted to have a pretty good game plan for satisfying the boys' antsy-ness and combating boredom.  Truth be told, I thought I could pull it off with minimal use of the DVD player.  Let's get real, though - 1,500 miles is a long stinkin' drive!  Anyway, a couple weeks before our trip, I began scouring the internet for ideas that would occupy our time.

First up, though - seating arrangements.  The boys typically sit in the middle row of the van.  We decided to move them to the back seat and remove one of the middle seats.

This gave them more leg room, provided more space in front of them for toys, food, etc and a spare seat for either Brad or me to sit in the back with them so there isn't the constant leaning-over-the-passenger-seat to get the boys what they need.  This idea: Brilliant!  It worked out great.

The space in front of the boys, where one of the middle seats was taken out, looked a little like this:

This picture was taken on the last day of vacation...please trust me when I say it was a bit more organized when we first started!  There were 3-4 bags of food, a cooler, and a ginormous toy/activity bag.

About the food: we had the usual travel snacks, but we had also decided to pack the fixings for several lunches/dinners.  Read: sandwiches!  This saved us money but it also saved our waistlines.  We did eat out a few times, but it was very refreshing to have fruit and cheese and yogurt available.  

Among the ideas that I had seen online, these are a couple that worked successfully for us...

Tracking our travel time by the hour.  Idea found HERE.
The boys really liked this.  We had two separate cars-on-ribbon for the two legs of our trip.  It really made the hours seem to go by faster when Brad would tell us we could move the car to the next number. 

The classic license plate game.
When I was a kid, I loved this game.  We typically listed all the states on a piece of paper and crossed them off as we saw them.  I saw this idea of coloring in the map and thought it was brilliant for the boys.  They each got a clipboard {which was useful for coloring and Car Bingo, as well}, a blank map, and a package of markers (washable!).  Drew was really into this, constantly asking what the license plates say, but he soon bored of the coloring part and asked me to do it.  Reed colored the entire map after the first couple states.  Ha!  

A few other ideas that worked for us... 

Car Bingo found HERE {I printed each card and slid them into plastic page protectors.  Use a dry erase marker and use them over and over again.}

Books to read

Color Wonder books and markers

Pipe cleaners {the idea was to use these to shape and mold into different things, but we ended up only making bracelets}

And there were a handful of ideas that we never tried, and others that didn't work at all.  That's what the DVD player was for.

And the extra space between us in the front seat and the boys in the back seat was especially enjoyable when Barney came on for the upteenth time.  :)

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