Make Car Time Fun Time for Kids(ARA) - Parents (and kids) spend a lot of time in the car running errands, driving to and from school, playdates and after-school activities. This can easily add up to 10 hours a week spent on the go, especially for younger siblings who may spend even more road time as they go along for the ride, shuttling brothers and sisters from place to place. As every car-pooling parent knows, too much time in the back seat can make for crabby kids. Here are a few ways to keep kids entertained in the car, guaranteed to keep impatient cries of "are we there yet?" to a minimum. Carry an activity box
In addition to driving time, kids spend a great deal of time simply waiting in the car while errands are run or soccer games wrap up. Since kids' activities inevitably run late, kids waiting in the car are likely to get irritable and bored rather quickly. Give them something to do while they wait by creating an activity box using a shoe box or plastic container. Fill it with fun things and stock up on crayons and coloring books, puzzles, books and inexpensive toys or games from discount stores. Pop in their favorite book on tape or CD (and don't forget to pack headphones for the adults in the car!)
Fire up a movie
More and more family vehicles come equipped with DVD players as part of the car's audio system, making it easy to keep children entertained. If your vehicle doesn't have a DVD player built in, consider investing in a portable DVD player, or use your laptop as a movie screen. Bring along an assortment of movies and you'll be in for a smooth ride.
Online DVD rental services like Netflix make it easy to stock up on a variety of movies. As a member of Netflix, you can choose from more than 15,000 titles and keep the DVDs for as long as you want without the hassle of late fees. For $19.95, busy parents can rent an unlimited number of DVDs, keeping three out at a time. Netflix makes returns easy -- simply put the DVDs in their stamped, addressed envelopes and drop them in any U.S. mailbox as you commute from soccer to ballet lessons.
Get out and stretch
If you have extra time between activity stops, find a park or playground and let the kids run around for a few minutes. Keep a wiffle ball and bat or a Frisbee in the trunk for a few quick throws. Even a short time outside the car and a breath of fresh air can make a big difference.
Pack snacks A hungry kid is a grumpy kid. Keep your car stocked with convenient, non-perishable snacks like crackers, dried fruit or granola bars to keep kids satiated without ruining dinner appetites. Carry juice boxes or bottled water in the car as well.
If all else fails, revert to your childhood and teach the kids "old fashioned" games such as spotting license plates from every state or finding every letter of the alphabet on roadside signs. Or better yet, many popular board games now come in travel sizes so your kids can play Connect Four or Battleship on the go.
Being stuck in traffic may not be your idea of a good time, but the kids will be entertained and not so irritable.
For more information on movie rental and membership, visit www.netflix.com.
Courtesy of ARA Content
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Courtesy of ARA Content