Planning Your Summer Vacation

All of us moms know how hard it can be to take a road trip with little ones (and big ones). We camp all summer-long and it is no easy task. There is the packing, the food prep, loading up the SUV and a million other things...but so worth it!

We take one big vacation and then a bunch of mini ones, and it's the mini (3-4 hour car trips) that I don't seem to be prepared for. Not anymore! I came up with and found some fun ideas for the car-rides for vacations, big or small. I hope you like them!

Planner Perfect Tip: Put these and more ideas, that you want to ensure a fun vacation, in your monthly goal pages of the month you'll be vacationing in. So if you are planning a July vacation, you should be scripting all the details of this trip in your July goal pages.  You will be organized and ready. Planner Perfect harnesses everything, perfectly.

I found these at Target. I thought they would be perfect for my three smaller children for me to pack fun items in. Each child has their own critter, filled to the brim with fun toys, games, and some homemade goodies.

 A new stuffed animal, some coloring books, game system, mini chalkboard and chalk, washable markers and drawing paper, a large shoe horn magnet with a few paper clips, and, well, check it out in detail...

I saw this fun, I Spy, travel toy at one of my favorite stores, but the price? Not so nice. I made my own and I'm quite happy! A large mason jar filled with little toys to spy, all hidden in small grains of rice. Shake and spin it around to find all the hidden small ones love it and hope yours do, too.

Supplies needed:

Tall mason jar


Small little objects such as: jacks, marbles, Googly eyes, pom-pons, little animal figurines, the sky is the limit. 

List of all the objects within the jar hidden

Cute ribbon to garnish


Very simply, pour half the rice into your jar, fill with all your little object to hide, fill with more rice, leaving about 1/4 room at the top. Secure it tightly with the lid! You don't want kids opening the lid in the car...nightmare! So have your husband screw it tight. Paper punch your list of I Spy objects, put a ribbon through it and tie around your lid. Viola! Entertainment for your little ones for the car ride.

I love these and my kids do, too! They are big horse shoe magnets and kids love magnets; they entertain for hours. 

I also love making fish out of construction paper and paper clipping the nose. They can tie a string to the end of the magnet to go fishin! Just make your fish ahead of time, tie a long piece of string to the end of each magnet and they're ready to go. 

Or...just a small amount of magnets in a ziplock bag can be fun to play with.

Small chalkboards and chalk, small notepads for writing with some pencils, are always fun. 

Older ones can use this to write down different license plates they see.

Coloring books, drawing paper and some new colors always entertains. I pack these in their critter tub and they love it!

Packing their favorite books along for the ride or picking out a new one just for the trip is always fun. I like to pack a couple of the ones I know they'll like and they enjoy it. My older ones love to read their favorites and give me blow-by-blow reports on what's happening.
Bringing along snacks is always fun, but can be very messy. If my traveling involves lunch. I pack it in a cooler and we eat at a rest stop or a nice grassy area for a picnic and let the kids run off some energy. Bringing wipe-ups ensures no messy hands and faces, and I get to climb back into a clean Suburban. But for snacking on the smaller trips, I try to keep the snacks, clean and easy and bring a trash bag and wipe-ups. Here are some ideas that I love and my do, too.

Apples. I usually can't pack whole apples for my younger, toothless, babes, so I like to cut them. But who likes brown apples or better yet lemon tasting apples? Well, I did a little research on and experimented and found that if you cut your apples under water, and keep the slices in water, they won't turn brown and stay crisp and delicious! (When they are ready to eat them, just pour out their water out the window for them or when your at a stop.)

Fresh fruit on the go. Delight your babes with an assortment of fruits in a small plastic container with a lid. Finger food they'll love.

Granola bars are easy and fun...they're always a hit

Homemade cookies! Yum...and says love in every bite. Check out my homemade version of Nutter Butter cookies on Planner Perfect Meals. Your whole family will love them!

 Mad Libs are so kids crack-up for hours. It even is a great learning tool as it has you fill in the blanks for Nouns, verbs, get the idea. Make sure you pack this along, it is fun!

 Have your children have their own allotment of money for their vacation. They can spend it any way they like, but once it's gone, it's gone. They can buy fun souvenirs and it eliminates children asking/begging for items all throughout the trip. 

Print out a map of the United States and have them color in all the states they travel through or of the license plates they see.

Of course movies in vehicles help make the time go by. So if you have an entertainment system in your vehicle, you'll know to bring movies. But bring one they've never seen or purchase a new one right before the trip. 

Audio books are a favorite of ours. They love stories they can listen to and we discuss it together! When we were in to Narnia, we had fun listening to those...older ones loved it, too.

Collect things from each state you visit. Whether it be a magnet or postcard it will be a great way remember your vacation

 Have your kids keep a vacation journal. Give them each a spiral bound notebook and some crayons. Have them record different stops, stick in their postcards from different stops, and draw fun things they've seen and done.

There you have it! Some great, fun, simple ideas to keep your children happy for hours on their car-ride. 

What are some of your ideas, tips and tricks for your vacations?

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