Hour after hour of navigating congested turnpikes, wrong turns and closed exits from the close quarters of the tightly packed family car on a road trip can provoke anyone — parent or child — to wrath. As if navigating congested highways, closed exits and GPS miscues wasn’t enough, road-warrior parents usually find themselves fielding an endless stream of questions and comments about destination arrival times, potty breaks and whose turn it is to sit by the window.
And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. —Ephesians 6:4, KVJ
Spending long hours on the road with the kids can provoke even for the most easygoing parents. When long hours have tested their patience again and again, some parents might be tempted to issue threats of swift punishment or impose long periods of mandatory silence.
The truth is, however, that road trips are a blessing in disguise. God calls parents to nourish their children in the Lord’s discipline and instruction, to model His principles and live by His rules. At what other time do parents have their children’s undivided, albeit captive, attention for extended periods of time to focus on just this task by modeling behavior for their children?
There is no need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to choosing road trip pastimes, as there are plenty of books and websites chock-full of ideas just waiting for your family to enjoy.
Games can be a great way to pass the time. Put a biblical spin on classic games like 20 questions. To play, a parent chooses a character from the Bible, but doesn’t share with the rest of the family, other than to let them know the first letter of the name. Everyone takes turns asking questions to help them figure out the name, and whenever anyone gets a “yes” answer, they get to continue asking more questions, until the answer is “no.” If a player incorrectly guesses the name of the Bible character, they’re automatically out of the game.
Word games, I Spy and the classic 20 Questions can also be good options.
Road trips are the perfect time to listen to audio books and music as a family. Introduce your children to favorites from your childhood. Alternatively, Veggie Tales and other faith-based recorded children’s songs and stories can keep everyone entertained for a while laying the groundwork for impromptu family bible study sessions.
In addition to fun games and activities, everyone will need some quiet time too. Surprise your little ones during the trip by pulling out pre-packed bags, envelopes or plastic baggies packed with individual activities and treats. Excellent ideas for these road trip goodie bags include coloring books and crayons, books, sticker books, the supplies for a friendship bracelet and a disposable camera so each child can record their journey with photos of the trip.
Books like National Geographic Kids Ultimate U.S. Road Trip Atlas: Maps, Games, Activities and More for Hours of Backseat Fun can also keep your kids occupied.
The right blend of individual and group activities in the car helps to pass the time during the drive from point A to B, as it nurtures the minds and feeds the spirits of each family member along for the ride.