Our plans this Memorial Day weekend include a much-too-short road-trip. Sort of a mini-vacation but with not enough time to do all the things we’d like to do. On trips like these, where we’ll be spending many hours in the car, I like to plan travel notebooks for the kids specific to the route we have planned.
When my girls were younger this served mainly as way to keep them occupied in the car as well as learning about the states we were traveling through. Some of the activities (such as License Plate Bingo and scavenger hunts) also got them looking out the window noticing things, rather than having their heads down looking at a screen all the time.
Now that they are young adults they still like to have me plan things like this for our trips. Two of their favorite activities are trip tallies and scavenger hunts.
Here are some of the things I include in our notebooks:
- a 1″ 3-ring binder for each person
- 3-ring zipper pouch to clip inside binder to contain supplies
- a couple of pencils with erasers
- twist-up colored pencils
- glue stick
For older kids/adults who enjoy journaling and/or scrapbooking…
- blank paper
- hole punch for adding extras (like postcards or brochures) along the way
- gel pens
- travel-theme stickers
- washi tape
As we start out on a trip we make a list on a blank lined sheet of paper of things that we will be watching for and counting. This varies from trip to trip. We almost always include wildlife and then add on other things that pertain to our current trip. Once, when we took our travel-trailer, we counted other travel-trailers we saw going the other direction. Another time we counted how many people we saw walking their dogs. Since this is a Memorial Day trip we may count American flags this time. We use the old-fashioned tally marks… 4 marks in a row then a slanted 5th line across them for 5. At the end of the trip I like to list our tallies on my blog.
You can find Travel Bingo games at the Dollar Tree. These are great for young kids! But as my girls got older they decided it was more fun to work together than to compete to find the things on their Bingo boards. The next time I just made a list of super specific things to watch for… a church, a red barn, Taco Bell, McDonald’s, a Wal-Mart semi, specific makes of cars… the older the kids got, the more specific they liked it. On one trip they finished checking off everything on the list and immediately begged me to make another list. This also tends to generate a lot of discussion and debate: Does a billboard for McDonald’s count? Is a pond the same as a lake?
Printable Notebook Pages
I select several state-specific printables for the states we’ll be traveling through and put them in the binder in order according to our route. I also include more general worksheets for travel games and puzzles.
- state word searches
- license plate list
- travel journal pages
- printable travel games
- state coloring pages (featuring maps, flags, state symbols and more)
Have you done Travel Notebooks before? What would you add to my list?