entertaining kids (11 &13) on cross country trip

Discussion in 'Camping with Kids/Pets' started by kimlovescamping, Jan 8, 2013.

  1. kimlovescamping

    kimlovescamping New Member

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    Any ideas on how to keep the kids from killing each other on our SC to SD/WY/CO trip?

    We have DVD in manvan. We'll rent redbox movies and then trade along the way. I hope they have redbox out west.

    I don't think movies will keep them busy the whole time. Any other suggestions?
     
  2. badgamuss

    badgamuss Member

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    Benadryl. [:D]
    I know AAA may have some road activity books. Those work for my daughters on long trips.
     
  3. Travelhoveler

    Travelhoveler New Member

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    Forget the contrived entertainments. Stop at state parks, natural areas, national wildlife refuges, national forests, parks, etc. and hike for a while. Visit some historic sites. Do some birdwatching. This is a great chance to experience all the interesting landscapes between SC and the west. The prairie states are fascinating in their own right and full of interesting places.
     
  4. Twisty

    Twisty New Member

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    Talk to them, educate them, ask them what they want to see or do, tell them to look out the windows, teach them how to read a paper map, ask them "Where are we? What is down the road? How far is it to a rest stop or town?", etc.
    If they won't or can't behave go old school on 'em.
     
  5. Unstable_Tripod

    Unstable_Tripod Well, there's your problem!

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    I agree with the others. Involve them in the trip and use it for fun and education. They can always see a movie but they may never again be in some of the places you are going.
     
  6. kimlovescamping

    kimlovescamping New Member

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    Our first day is a 15 hour driving day (hoping to make it to Kansas City). I figured a couple movies ...

    we won't have time to stop at parks and hike on the first day. maybe the 2nd day. we just drove 15 minutes home from a game and they argued on and off the whole way. i looked at my DH and said can we do this next summer? kidding of course.

    I like the map idea. I thought we'd stop at the 'welcome' centers. We'll play some car games. I hope we make it without killing each other. they are generally good, well behaved kids, but 2 days in a row of long driving days may just push us over the edge.

    I'll go to AAA and get some books. We'll also take library books - they both like to read. We are not so much about the sites on the way because we want a lot of time in YNP and RMNP.

    Thanks again! This is the best place for tips!!
     
  7. cirrus

    cirrus New Member

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    Save the movies for western Kansas and eastern Colorado. Miles and miles of nothing but miles and miles.

    We play the alphabet game with advertising and road signs. Find the letter in the words on the signs, start with A. First one to Z wins. Q and Z are the fun ones!
     
  8. Travelhoveler

    Travelhoveler New Member

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    Western Kansas and eastern Colorado might seem like miles and miles of nothing if you're just driving down an interstate. But if you get off the four-lane and experience the real America that lies off of it, you'll find historic communities, Pony Express stations, remnants from Japanese internment camps, ruts from the Santa Fe Trail, historic forts like Fort Larned and Bents Old Fort, scenes of conflict like the Sand Creek Massacre site. There are also some amazing public lands like the Cimmaron and Comanche and Pawnee national grasslands, compelling places like Dodge City where so much famous western history took place, and oddball attractions like the World's Largest Hairball (which we missed, but you can Google it). Did you know that in areas like around Russell the settlers didn't have trees for fenceposts so they made them from limestone cut into posts? That's the sort of thing you learn from riding on the back roads, away from the trucks and traffic, where the prairie landscape is actually very beautiful and a trip across it becomes a memorable and highly enjoyable experience.
     
  9. 01YZF6

    01YZF6 Dothan, AL

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    I think this may be important, and could help you to figure out how to micro manage them for the trip as well.

    What kind of tween/teen hobbies are they into?
    ie: attached to their electronics, avid readers, etc.

    If one/both is constantly on a device, then pulling them away from it during a trip is senseless.

    one thing you can do is have them each find things along the route, before the trip, that they would like to see.
     
  10. Wizfisher

    Wizfisher New Member

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    We did a similar drive in the summer of 2011.
    Central Florida to Milwaukee, WI. then over to Denver, down to Flagstaff, and then worked our way back to Florida.
    Obviously stops in between those cities but those were our destinations to visit friends.

    The first leg of our drive was done overnight while everyone (except for me, lol) was asleep. I was able to get to the north side of Atlanta before anyone woke up.
    That was a life saver in regards to getting a good start. When the kids woke up they looked at a map and were in shock at how far we were from home.
    If leaving in the evening is an option for you, driving through the night is a great way to get a big part of the drive out of the way.
    Maybe just leaving very early in the morning to at least get a few hours of them sleeping?

    We are into geocaching. If you don't know what it is, it is easiest explained by saying it is a world wide hide and seek game using GPS coordinates to locate little hidden containers. They are at rest stops, state parks, welcome centers, and millions of other places you wouldn't think they would be at. Geocaching.com
    We made a stop in each state we traveled through to get a couple geocaches. It helped to break up our trip and sort of forced us off the highway every now and then (in a good way). We also adjusted our route to be able to get into a few other states nearby. We managed to visit 22 states on our trip. Every state we visited we would get a magnet in the shape of the state from that state for each kid. They are sold at gift shops, welcome centers, etc. The magnets then went on their magnet boards on their walls in their room as another way to remember that trip.

    License plate game is fun. Print out a list of all 50 states and mark them off as they find each plate. You can also include the Canadien Provinces but those are much more rare. The kids will work together on this one.

    If your kids have iPods, iPads, or similar devices, it is easier to just let them use them.
    I know some people will say to make them enjoy the scenery, but if they aren't enjoying it, they will let you know resulting in you not enjoying the trip. You have to pick your battles and its easier to just accept defeat on this one. Time will go by faster for everyone when there is no arguing.

    Frequent stops to stretch.
    Plan a picnic at an overlook or small park somewhere in a state they have not been in.
     
  11. Wizfisher

    Wizfisher New Member

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    I also agree with Travelhoveler above.
    Between KC and Denver you are probably going to be on I-70 the whole way.
    Easy to break that up by going up to the Kansas/Nebraska line and taking 36 for a bit.
    Just south of Lincoln is where the Pony Express crossed state lines (KS/NE). Our oldest daughter thought that was cool. She was 11 at the time.

    Stopping at various places along our route even if they took a little extra time was worth it to us and the kids.
     
  12. Haviland

    Haviland Member

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    Maybe you can find a book for them to read that has some nature involved. My parents took my brother and I camping at the same age and while my Dad drove I read the Hobbit. It made me feel more interested in exploring the surrounding woods.

    Dare I suggest the Hunger Games? ;) or other books that are involved in nature where you can then learn more about herbalism, trees, the native remedies etc.

    My Dad has an Aboriginal friend who is a medicine man and he led us through the woods and gave us a brief explanation of the herbal qualities of some of the plants we encountered. What would native people have used as a natural bug spray (Burning evergreen branches and walking through the smoke apparently helps keep the bugs down) etc. My Dad is a science teacher so he always knows a tidbit here and there about the surroundings, which makes the hiking etc more interesting because there is a dialogue going on. I never realized how interesting it was until my DH and I started camping and hiking on our own and neither of us knew anything about the surroundings lol.

    For Christmas my DH gave me an "edible plants of North America" book. While I don't plan on eating what I find, which is dangerous, it gives me a starting point to learn more about the natural environment and inject those little crazy tidbits into my kids.

    Maybe have them keep a notebook on things they see, hear and smell... They can look up their finds in a field guide or on a device. I got an awesome bird field guide for my iPhone (petersons birds) and you can input your spottings and take pictures.
     
  13. 01YZF6

    01YZF6 Dothan, AL

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    [[ Maybe have them keep a notebook on things they see, hear and smell... ]]

    a Journal is a great idea !

    dont FORCE them to use it all the time, but ENCOURAGE them to write little notes or thoughts of things they see and do as the trip progresses. leave it to them to write things down in their own words, and DO NOT suggest things for them to write as you go.

    Also, you can still get those disposable cameras, and give them each 2 or 3 to snap photos as they see things through their own eyes as you go.

    after the trips over, they can create a MEMORY BOOK with the notes, and the developed pictures.
     
  14. Shuswap

    Shuswap New Member

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  15. froggie

    froggie New Member

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    Teach them how to read a map. Might even help them with their high stakes tests at the end of the year. My five yr. old looks for pretty rivers and mountains. We also count churches. He's even getting big enough to play the alphabet game. Drives me crazy for kids to watch movies when we're traveling thru pretty country.
     
  16. jhowe327

    jhowe327 New Member

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    Well when I was growing up we did not have any of the electronic gadgets they have now and my parents managed very well with the 2 of us brothers (of course one of my first travel memories (4 years old) was going across British Columbia and Banf on our way to North Dakota in a '57 VW Bug - yes 4 of us with all of our stuff on the roof). I agree with some of the other posters to split them up sometimes and get them involved in navigating - if you have AAA I think you can still get the strip maps and have highlighted towns with the attractions along the way. Then once you get past your first long day try and give them some voice in things they might be interested in seeing along the way.
     
  17. kimlovescamping

    kimlovescamping New Member

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    love these ideas. I'll do the states license plate games and the a to z game. We'll get them a map to follow our route. They'll have the ipads so they can watch a movie or two. Love the state magnet thing too. We'll figure out the geocashing.

    we have decided 15 hours the first day is too much. we will leave a day earlier and try to make it 6 hours or so (after work). That will then leave us with day 2 - 10 hours and day 3 -10 hours. We have stops planned on day 3 to see some sites.

    Love the journal idea. I plan to keep one myself too. They can keep one and they can take pictures on the ipads.

    My son has already read the Hunger Games series. (so did I). They both will have books on ipads. Whenever we run across wireless access...they can upload more books from our library.

    We actually are going north from KC towards Rapid City. then to Cody ..then Yellowstone and then Jackson, finally RMNP. So on the way back from Denver on i-70 i guess we can try hwy 36?

    Thanks for all the tips.
     
  18. WannaTravel

    WannaTravel Member

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    I know it is more video time, but have they seen DriveThru History. Or HowTheStatesGotTheirShape? These are excellent, and can be used in short bursts
     
  19. Travelhoveler

    Travelhoveler New Member

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    U.S. 36 is interesting; it's pretty flat country most of the way but once you get into the Kansas section around Norton you start seeing stone fence posts (the early settlers didn't have trees so made so with what they could), a hallmark of the period of prairie settlement. About a half hour north of US 36 at Beatrice, Nebraska is the Homestead National Monument, America's first awarded homestead and which features great displays on homesteading and a restored prairie segment. And St. Joseph was the real kickoff of the Oregon Trail, no matter what others may tell you. It's a beautiful drive, much less stressful than I-70, and still pretty fast.
     
  20. kimlovescamping

    kimlovescamping New Member

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    Thanks.. we won't be in a big hurry coming home.... this might just break up the long trip!
     

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