Last fall, when Erik and I started telling people we were taking the kids down to Florida, we were met with a variety of reactions.
We were told everything from,"That's so awesome! You guys will have such a great time!" to the surprised, slightly bewildered questions of,"You mean..you're going to take five kids to Florida? Like...alone, and stuff?"
But, probably, the most common question we were asked was if we were going to take our van on a 12 hour road trip. Seeing as how it's a twelve year old van, this was a perfectly legitimate concern, er, question.
When we first started planning our trip, we actually were planning on taking our trusty old Odyssey down to Florida. Erik's plan was to do a bunch of work and updates on it before we left, and my plan was to pray it all the way there and back. ;) But, as luck would have it, my mom and dad decided to buy an almost brand new van this past year, and graciously insisted that we borrow it for our vacation.
Their van was perfect for our trip, not only is it a bigger van(that actually seats 8 people, instead of 7 like ours) it was also very dependable and got great gas mileage. So when people heard we were taking my parents van instead of ours they would say,"Oh well, that's great! Is there a DVD player in it?"
But when I would say that,"No, there isn't a DVD player in our van or their van," I'd be met with more blanks stares and questions of how we were planning on doing such a long trip.
Now, let me be honest, and say that I was nervous about how this trip was going to go too. I'm not anti television, by any means, and my kids definitely enjoy watching their shows. I will also admit that the trip, particularly the last two hours on our way down to Florida, was a little rough with children-and parents- just wanting to.get.there.already.
But, thankfully, we were able to come up with a plan, that made taking a 12 hour road trip with five kids under the age of seven go fairly smoothly.
1. Buy some new coloring books/sticker books, and hand them out over the course of the trip. The Friday before we left, I made a dollar store run, where I stocked up on several activity books for the kids. I also splurged a little and bought Jack, Anna, and Lily an Usborne sticker book.
2. Pack special snacks and pass them out throughout the trip. For us that meant that fruit snacks, goldfish crackers, and teddy grahams were being passed out frequently. :)
3. Make your car as comfortable as possible. Our van was pretty much packed to the brim, but we gave each kid their blanket and their favorite stuffed animals to try and keep them as comfortable as we could.
4.Audio Books! We love audio books around here, and we are blessed to have a library that carries a great selection. Some of our favorites have been, Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Sign of the Beaver, and The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.
5. Tell stories to them about when they were babies, about when you were little, and make up some silly stories with them being the main character. This was something that just randomly happened on our drive, we started telling one of them a story about when they were babies and it quickly turned into more stories about when each of them were babies. My kids especially love it when we make up stories about them(i.e. Once upon a time there was a dinosaur named Maxosaurus and he loved to give Princess Lily rides to South Dakota. My kids really like South Dakota for some reason. Also, as you can see from the above story, I may lack a little bit of creativity when telling my stories.)
All in all our trip to Florida went really well, and now that we are home I can admit how surprised I am that it went as smooth as it did. ;)
What else would you add to this list?
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