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“Mom. Are we there yet?”   Summer traveling have you stumped on how you will entertain your children on long car rides? They can be miserable when your children are bored. Here are a few games to help pass the time and keep your sanity on these hot days and long family car trips! This familiar question of “how much longggeerrr?” is heard by moms and dads everywhere and fills them with dread as it is usually a signal their little ones are getting bored. Make it a stress-free car journey!

I Spy
“I spy with my little eye, something red.” This easy-to-learn game is perfect for preschoolers, and can keep them entertained for unbelievably long periods of time.  Choosing an object that they can see and giving them the first letter also helps with their spelling and encourages them to look around and take in the sights.

I’m Going on a Picnic
This alphabet-based memory game is great for kids 5 and up. You don’t need a game board or any materials. The game can be played with as few as two players, but it’s more fun when the whole family joins in. The first player says “I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing…” followed by something that begins with A, such as apples. The second player repeats what the first person said, but adds something that begins with B. So she might say “I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing apples and bananas.” And so on with C, D, and the rest of the alphabet. If someone forgets an item, she is out. To be fair, feel free to be lenient and give hints to younger players. The last player to be able to recite all the items on the list wins.

20 Questions
This easy-peasy game is great for younger kids, thanks to its straightforward rules. Player One thinks of a person, place or thing. Everyone else takes turns asking questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no. After each answer, the questioner gets one guess. Play continues until a player guesses correctly.

Telephone
This is great if there are a large number of people in the car, school trips being perfect. One person starts by whispering a sentence into their friend’s ear and it then goes all around the car with the last to hear required to repeat it to everyone else. It is very fun and shows how “rumors” can change very easily from one person to the next!

Treasure Hunt
This game is great fun for the kids and requires minimal interaction from you while on the journey, so you can concentrate on driving. Before leaving give each child a list of objects such as cow, sheep, red car, church, castle and ask them to mark each one off as and when they see it along the way. Of course, there will be a prize for each of them at the end of the journey if they have all succeeded in the task and it will keep them quiet for hours as their eyes will be glued to the window!

iPad or Kindle or Tablet
With the explosion of tablets on the market in the last few years many parents have invested in the new technology, some of which cost as little as $100. They are great to hand over to the kids before embarking on a long journey because they are packed full of games that will keep the kids busy. Most have an app store from which you can download several games beforehand with the kids, so they can simply access these on the go.

License Plate Game
When we were kids, everyone seemed to play the license plate game on family road trips. Armed with a pad of paper, we would write down the name of each state as we spotted it. The goal, of course, was to nab all 50 states. If we were lucky, we’d bag the Canadian provinces, too.

The game of silence
This one really works a treat and gives parents a few minutes of peace and quiet. Simply put, the child who can stay quiet the longest wins a treat. The longer they are quiet, the better the treat becomes. It could be considered bribery but, in a car full of screaming kids, anything goes!

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My sister Betsy is having my nephew Wade’s 5th birthday party this Saturday! I am really excited and traveling back from New York to California and will be able to attend. She is planning on having the party at nearby park with all of Wade’s friends from school and cousins. I was trying to brainstorm some fun and relatively inexpensive ideas for his birthday to entertain the kids. Here are some ideas and tips for your kiddo’s party too!

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