Vacation Car Activities for Kids with ADD
Kids, and especially many kids with ADD, love their electronic toys. With a smart phone, they have the world at their fingertips. Videos? Music? Checking in with friends on social media? Games? All of those things and more are available to them with a few agile finger and thumb taps. They do these things all of the time! Is it really what you want for them when you are traveling across country? Wouldn't it be better for them to actually see where they are going? I suggest everybody putting the electronics in a bag before they get into the car. Play some good old-fashioned car games, the kind that let you view the world as you move through it. Interact as a family. Expect blowback when you let them know about this ahead of time. They will complain, but don't just spring it on them as you are getting into the car! They need time to adjust to this reality. Kids who are used to interacting with electronics all of the time will probably be uncomfortable going without them for hours in the car. Hold firm.
Start with a nice notebook that suits their personality, pencil, pen, and markers for each person. Everybody should have a zipper bag for the writing supplies, so that they are easy to find. This is the vacation journal, and it may be used for recording the games or for writing or drawing any special place or event that they want to remember. You might want to research car games on the internet before you go, just to see which ones your family might prefer. I've put a few of our family favorites below.
Car Activities for Kids with ADD on Vacation (Actually for the whole family!)
*You can make slightly different bingo sheets for each person with items that they could see on the trip. The person who fills the whole sheet (blackout) will get a special dessert or another prize. Depending on the age of the player, you might have them put down the mile marker or town where the object was seen.
*Give each person a map of the country with the state names marked on it. Alternatively, give an alphabetical list of the states with room to tally beside each state. When they see a license plate from outside of the state that they are driving through, they put a tally mark to indicate the license plate's state. As you move through the trip, you can figure out where most of the travelers come from by counting tally marks. At the end of the trip, the person with the most states gets a prize. For younger players, you might just have them color in the state when they see a plate from that state.
*Counting games-You can use any object that you might see on your trip. Have folks tally the items or just call them out loud. You could use car colors, license plates with a certain letter or number, car makes, trucks, truck logos, barns, wind generators, sunflower fields, corn fields, horses, road kill, different types of truck stops, hospital signs, silos, or anything else that you please!
*Rhyme Time-Use word families to find rhyming words. Word families are words that end in a certain group of letters. These are good word families to use for this game: -ack, -ain, -ake, -am, -an, -and, -ash, -at, -ay, -ell, -ick, -ill, -ip, -it. There are many others, but these are the ones that have a lot of rhyming words.
* Story Time-A person starts a story using three words. The next person adds three more words. Keep adding to the story, three words at a time, to see where the story will wind up in five minutes. You may choose any length of time to limit the story.
*Word Games-One person says a word. The next person must say a word that begins with the last letter of the previous word. To add complexity to this, you may limit the words to categories like animals-bear, next word rabbit, next word tick, etc. Some large categories are first names, plants, street names, clothing, brand names, or city names. Once a word has been used, it is out of play and may not be used again.
*Don't forget good conversations. Discuss what you are seeing and points of interest. Talk about your destination. Listen to good music and chat about that. Revel in this precious time together!
When you have arrived at the destination for the night and gotten settled in, let everybody have their e-toys back. Relax and kick back for a while in your motel room or campsite. Share what you have seen that day with your family and friends. Enjoy the lack of pressure to "do something." You are on vacation, so enjoy yourself! Keeping kids with ADD busy can make a world of difference for a family on vacation.
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