My family likes to travel. In the past year, we’ve been to Washington, D.C., the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, Pipestem Resort State Park in West Virginia, and Jeffersonville, IN/Louisville, KY – along with a few day trips nearby.
As all parents know, traveling long distances with kids can be more of a nightmare than a dream vacation. I was delighted to receive a free copy of Travel Kits: A Simple Way to Bless Others for a TOS Crew review. This ebook details an inspired way to make car trips more fun for everyone involved. The premise of the book is to use these “travel kits” to bless other families, but I used them to bless my own family.
Travel Kits arrived about three weeks before we planned to leave for Jeffersonville, IN, about six hours’ drive away. Perfect timing!
The idea is rather simple at its core – small, inexpensive gifts are gathered with individual family members in mind. Each gift or prize is wrapped in wrapping paper, comic newsprint, or tissue paper. All the gifts can then be packed into a bag or box that will fit easily in the car.
At various intervals during the trip, family members are allowed to open gifts – they should be spaced so that they’ll last the whole trip and just far enough apart to stave off the, “I’m bored! When will we be there?” cries.
How did it work for us? Wonderfully!
Jon and I used some leftover wrapping paper to wrap up a number of items, some of which I had bought at K-Mart the day before we left for our trip.
- Pop Tarts
- Hot Wheels (one car for each boy)
- word search for Nick
- doorknob hanger to color for James
- candy bars
- granola bars
I bought some chips too, but they were too big for us to wrap. (We were running low on tape.) I packed everything into my two Homeschooling with Heart tote bags (one blue, one pink) and put them in the front of the van.
We used different methods to decide when it was time for another prize. The first prizes got handed out when we passed the first toll booth. (We have to go through three toll booths on the interstate north of our house.)
The boys were all very excited, but you should have seen the look on little Robert’s face. His eyes got kind of wide and he looked at me like, “Really? I get a present?” So cute!
I made sure to give the boys the toy cars I had gotten them for these first prizes. I was pleasantly surprised by how long they played with them.
During the rest of the trip, we used other milestones:
- When we crossed the state line into Kentucky, everyone got a prize. (I got Reece’s Pieces, yum!)
- The first person to see a cow got to pick a prize from the bag.
- First person to see a tractor, etc.
- When we changed over to a new interstate, prizes were passed out again.
Some of the prize giving resulted in lots of laughter. In Kentucky, we told the kids that the first person to see a cow would get to pick a prize. Then we entered the only stretch of Kentucky interstate where there aren’t any cows! James declared that there weren’t any cows anywhere in the whole world.
Jon finally said that he saw a cow, but no one else saw it so we didn’t give him a prize. (Ha!) I then changed the rules to “first person to see a cow, horse, or tractor.” James spotted a cow (miracle of miracles!) shortly after that, and we were all trying to help Robert see a horse. That left Nick to spot a tractor.
We passed a tractor in a hay field, but Nick remained silent. A mile later, we passed a red tractor with a hay rake behind it. Still no word from Nick. A few minutes later, Nick said, “There aren’t any tractors around here!”
We laughed and told him that we’d already seen two tractors, so he began staring out the windows harder than ever. Just a few moments later, we passed a very big green tractor driving down a road that ran parallel to the interstate. It couldn’t have been more than 50 feet from us.
Still nothing from Nick.
I looked at Jon. Jon looked at me. I burst out laughing, and Nick said in an incredulous voice, “What? Was there a tractor?”
I laughed so hard, I almost wrecked the car. A highway patrolmen happened to pass me on the left right then, but I still couldn’t stop laughing. (Fortunately, I retained enough control that he continued on his way.)
Nick did see a tractor soon after that, so he got his prize.
As we came into Lexington, KY, (‘horse capital of the world’), we started seeing horses. Each of us kept encouraging Robert to say horse so that we could give him a prize. Typical two-year-old, though, he wouldn’t say anything that we asked him to. I gave him a prize anyway.
That was Saturday. On our return trip on Tuesday, we had been driving about two hours or so when Robert suddenly shouted, “Horse! Mommy, horse!” and sure enough there was a horse in a field by the interstate.
I said, “Good job, Robert, it is a horse!”
He looked right at me and said, “Prize?”
I am very glad to have read Travel Kits and been able to put its ideas into practice. It definitely made our six hour drives much easier and more fun.
Travel Kits contains many ideas for the types of prizes to select, how to present them, when to give them out, and more. Much more than I could possibly have mentioned here! I highly recommend this book for any family who travels.
© 2010, Cindy. All rights reserved.