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Being prepared during a road trip or a long vacation is half the battle. A great way to keep kids entertained (and out of trouble) is to put together a travel kit including some fun activities. We added some craft supplies, a book, snacks, a journal, and more, but the best part is you can customize the kit to your child's interests.
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When someone spots an animal, road sign, or other item that is shown on the game boards, she points it out to the other players, who then mark the corresponding picture on their boards. (A horse on a billboard or in a trailer is as good as one in the field.) The first person to get five pictures in a row -- horizontally, vertically, or diagonally -- wins.
To make a set of reusable playing boards, cut the four quadrants from our page of bingo cards, and have them laminated at a copy shop. That way, boxes can be checked off with erasable markers and then wiped clean for another use. Alternatively, you can produce one-use boards by photocopying, cutting out, and marking with pen or pencil during play.
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Put together a scrapbook on the road with loose-leaf rings, and make the drive as much fun as the destination. Bring some supplies, such as a hole punch, along for the ride. Kids can draw vehicles they see on plain tags with prepunched holes and record the day's highlights on postcards from every stop, creating picture-perfect pages. Or tuck souvenirs from a multicity trip into envelopes color-coded by town: Have your child mark each city with a sticker on a map, and add a matching sticker to the envelope.
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For a day at the beach or a park, leave bulky gear at home and instead pack a compact, portable game board fashioned from a place mat.
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On bus or train trips, during wedding ceremonies, or whenever silence is required, keep your child entertained with a homemade felt activity book.
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Summer reading lists can be daunting even for avid readers, but turning the list into a game will make this task more enjoyable. Bring this game and the books with you on a trip, and you'll kill two worms with one stone.
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For the ride or trip home, let your kids' imaginations run wild by having them put together an easy, glue-free scrapbook of the trip.