Stuff We Like: Road Trip!
Living in the New York City area, we’re privy to some pretty amazing places all year-round—museums, zoos, cultural centers, theaters, historic sites, and much more, all in our proverbial backyard. But summer is a time for new experiences and adventures our kids will remember for years to come (no pressure!). Most of us don’t have a tour of Europe in the budget, but fortunately, you don’t have to go that far for a memorable family vacation. There are tons of worthy attractions within easy traveling distance (think underground waterfalls, bubble gum-blowing festivals, and a place that’s actually named Dinosaur Park—for good reason) and you can find them all at nymetroparents.com/daytrips.
You know what we’re getting at: Road trip! Family style, of course. Ah, can’t you already hear the chorus of “Are we there yet?” coming from the backseat? True, road trips get a bad rap in the parenting world. But with a little preparation—and the right distractions on hand—you might just find yourself enjoying this summer’s car time with your cuties.
As they say, the best offense is a good defense. In this case, you’re defending against the boredom and restlessness that inevitably settles into your little ones whilst they’re strapped into their seatbelts. Sure, screen time (see: iPad, iPhone, Nintendo 3DS, et. al.), is an easy fix, but how do you decide which set of eyes gets to bask in the glare? Stop sibling bickering in its tracks by providing games that all passengers can play together. If you’re sick of the license plate game and 20 Questions, here’s a fun alternative:
Flippin’ Out: This party game easily translates into a car favorite. Players select a category—say, rock bands—then take turns coming up with a rock band that starts with each letter of the alphabet. Think of it as Scattegories on steroids. ($22.99; ages 8 and older)
Tired of chit chat? Fire up your iPod or CD player (do people still use those?) and pop in a kid-friendly set of tunes. You’ve probably got your own favorites in the queue, but they’re bound to get a bit repetitive by the time summer’s halfway through. On July 31, switch your go-to jams for a new collection called Someone Else’s Shoes, the third educational CD in the Best Foot Forward Series. Not only do the 15 tracks have a variety of musical styles, compelling rhythms, and terrific vocals, but each song’s message promotes respect, appreciation, and empathy. ($12.99)
If there’s one thing kids need on the road (besides frequent bathroom breaks), it’s food—and as parents, we want that nourishment to be as healthy as possible. (Check out our tips for food safety on the road.) Longer trips often require stops at unfamiliar restaurants and fast-food spots, which can be tricky when you have a little one with food allergies. AllergyEats.com, a comprehensive source for finding allergy-friendly restaurants, recently launched its free AllergyEats app for iPhone and Android. The app provides access to the same important information featured on the core site—including peer-based restaurant ratings, diner feedback, menus, and more—all while you’re on-the-go.
For even more handy travel advice, from how to give your kids the “summer trip pep talk” to how to travel (stress-free!) with a child who has special needs, head to nymetroparents.com/traveltips.