With Spring right around the corner, it’s time to start planning a Spring Break road trip.
For millions of families that means dealing with one or more restless kids as they begin their long highway trek to their favorite destination.
Sometimes such trips result in frazzled nerves and children repeatedly echoing the famous question “Are we there yet?”
It doesn’t necessarily mean that all the time, of course – all parents have to do is come up with ways to keep their children distracted and happy as they zip down the highway.
There are many games and puzzles available to not only keep the kids settled down, but help increase their brain power at the same time.
One such game is called Challenge and offers children a chance to work on puzzles uniquely overlaid on a map of the United States. The four themed crossword maps have such main topics as Great American Gold Rush, Coast to Coast Cross Country Race, College Basketball Championship and Academic Battle for the Best GPA, Many of the puzzle clues deal with the main theme, of course, but many general questions cover many varied topics.
The puzzles are designed for two or more children and take about 40 minutes each and offer not only questions based on general knowledge but give kids a chance to use strategy, such as blocking their opponents from the path of least resistance. The game involves chances for players to go for the gold or three point baskets, for example. For the most part the questions are relatively easy.
The Challenge game is available through Mink Media for $4.95 and may be ordered at Mink Media, 3866 Legends Way, Maryville, Tn. 37801. There is no handling or shipping charges.
“No need for kids to stay bored on a long spring break trip,” said Mink. “They are much happier when their time can be spent on something that is both fun and educational.”
Parents might also be interested in including some fun facts from a recent national survey about how people pass the time in the car, what they use to navigate, as well as car nicknaming trends.
Erie Insurance commissioned the survey of more than 2,000 U.S. residents across four generations, including a segment of Gen Z (14- to 17-year-olds); Millennials (18-34); Gen X (35-50); and Baby Boomers (51-69). Below are some highlights.
Passing the time on a road trip
Among all generations, 5 popular ways to pass time the time on a road trip include:
- Listen to music 82%
- Play electronic games/videos 28%
- Play the License Plate Game 18%
- Listen to audio books 17%
- Play 20 Questions 16%
When asked to write in what else they do to pass the time on a long car ride, people frequently said they talk, read and sleep.
When it comes to what they use most often for directions, more than half (53%) rely on apps, followed by in-car navigation systems (33%), and printing the directions from a computer (10%). Almost no one, regardless of age, regularly uses a paper road map (2%) or asks someone for directions and writes them down (1%).
Half of Gen Z (51%) have never used a paper road map and almost a third of millennials (31%) haven’t. Almost all Baby Boomers (94%) have, but for almost half of them (45%), it’s been more than 5 years ago.
Nicknames may be going up. Of current car owners, 40% give their car a nickname while 60% don’t. But among Gen Z who plan to get a car, it’s 50/50 (half will name their car and half won’t).
The most popular car names are variations on Baby (Baby, My Baby, Baby Girl, Baby Vader, Babe) and Betsy (Betsy, Betsie, Bessie, Bessy, Old Bessie, Bessi, Betty).
Lots of car nicknames are inspired by colors, including blue (Big Blue, Little Blue, Blue Belle, Baby Blue, Bluey, and My Bluebird of Happiness) and red (Big Red, Lil Red, Red Rose, and Crimson Typhoon). Other color-based names included Green Machine, Pinky, Black Beauty, Golden Fleece, Old Gold and Yellow Bug.
No need for your kids to be bored during Spring break. Go through this list of fun things to do that are guaranteed to keep them busy the whole week through.
Family Car Games
With 100 no-equipment-required activities appropriate for the entire family, the Family Car Games app tells you how to play each game, so you can put away the device and enjoy some quality time—unplugged. Choose from game categories like Memory Games, Out the Window and Singing Games so everyone can join in on the fun! $1.99; available for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.
Road Trip Bingo
With all those pieces to keep track of, it’d be pretty hard to play bingo in the car—unless you’ve got the Road Trip Bingo app, that is. Instead of everyone having their own bingo board, you create a card with over 40 items for the family to find outside the car. You can search for signs, vehicles, animals and so much more. Once you’ve checked off five in a row, you’ve won! 99¢; available for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android-powered devices.
Ken Mink is editor of The Travelling Adventurer magazine (www.travellingadventurer.com). He i s also a member of the Golf Travel Writers Association, a select group of golf writers from across America. You can find several of his golf stories and stories by many other GTWA writers at http://www.golftravelwriters.com