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How to Keep Your Kids Entertained During Thanksgiving Travels

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            If you have to travel this Thanksgiving, you are most likely dreading it. There’s nothing like screaming kids in the backseat to make a two and a half hour road trip feel like twelve hours. To prevent the Thanksgiving road trip from hell, here are a few ideas as to how to keep your kids entertained in the car—and to keep them relatively quiet.

1. Pop in a Movie

            If you’re blessed enough to have a fancy vehicle with a built-in DVD player, then use it to your advantage! Pop in your kids’ favorite movie (hoping that choosing the movie doesn’t cause a fight) and breathe in a sigh of relief as they are mesmerized for two whole hours. But if you’re not lucky enough to have said fancy vehicle, then read on, and quietly hate those who are fortunate enough to have such a luxury.

2.  Quiet Books

If your kids love to read (or just look at books because they can’t read yet), books are a great way to help keep them busy. For those kids who can’t read, quiet books are a fantastic idea. These books are typically made out of fabric or felt and contain little activities to keep a little one busy. You can find all kinds of ideas for quiet books here.

3. Lap Desk and Activities

Bring along a cookie sheet and coloring books/magnets/toys. The cookie sheet acts as a desk and is great for youngsters to color or play on. If your kiddo is a fan of Legos, this would be perfect for his or her creations!




4. iPad/Tablet

If you trust your child enough to handle your expensive technology, giving them the tablet will occupy them for hours. Make sure you have new games or interactive books downloaded before the trip, otherwise they will quickly become bored of the games they’ve played a thousand times before.

5. I Spy Bag/Bottle vievesscrapbooking.blogspot.com

If you’re feeling crafty, scrounge up either a pencil bag (with a clear cover) or a sturdy plastic water bottle. Put small items (such as a toy dinosaur, beads, buttons, pennies, googly eyes, et cetera) in the bag or bottle, fill it with white rice and voila! You have yourself a hands-on I Spy activity for the kids. (Make sure to sew the pencil bag shut or glue the water bottle cap on to avoid rice from exploding all over the car.)



6. Journal

Have your child journal what they see along the trip. How many red cars? How many different state license plates? Make them look at the window and take in the scenery, all while recording what they see.

7. Snacks

Always, always bring snacks—nothing too messy. (Make sure to bring some for yourself, too!)

8. Board Games/Puzzles/Lace Cards

Bring along simple activities such as these (which would go well with that lap desk!) and your kids should be occupied for a while.


Follow these tips and you’ll survive the car ride. Hopefully.

Riley McDaniel is an aspiring writer with a love for children, writing, music, and movies. She has her BFA degree in Creative Writing for Entertainment from Full Sail University and hopes to use her work to instill a love of reading and writing in others. Though she has a passion for writing, her passion for chocolate is almost just as strong.