Summer Roadtripping with Grandkids

Written by Deb del Villar, Director of Communications

Is a road trip with your grands in your summer plans?

Road trips are a great way to get better acquainted as well as strengthen your bond with your grandchildren. You will not be alone, as multigenerational travel, especially grandparents with grandchildren, is a trend that is growing.

Whether you are going long distances or even short day trips, here are practical ideas to consider.

Plan Well

The longer the trip, the earlier you need to plan ahead.

Start by speaking with and getting approval from the parents before even discussing the possibility of a trip with the grands. You will need any pertinent health information, medications, and signed releases. It is also good to know the grandchild’s daily routine, especially if they are young. 

Consider the age(s) and interests of your grandchildren as this will help you decide what activities to do and places to visit. If you have a grandchild who loves history, consider a trek to a battlefield or colonial town. If he loves sports, a minor league ball game could be just the spot. Check out free activities that are available where you are going as well.

Know what your limits are in finances, health, stamina, and time. You may want to take a grandchild or two at a time. Know the grandchildren’s limits as well. Be sure to schedule rest time each day.

If the grandchildren are old enough, include them in the planning. Once the trip decision is made, build enthusiasm and anticipation by communicating with them about the destination. If you’re going to a campground, send a nature book along with a journal and magnifying glass. A map with the designated route highlighted would also be fun.

Above all, do not forget to pray. Pray about everything, from the smallest detail to the largest. Ask God to bless your time and influence.

Pack Well

Start with a good attitude that is ready to be flexible, a spirit ready to laugh, and a heart open and willing to serve.

The ages and interests of the grandchildren should be taken into consideration when packing. Audiobooks, travel games, first aid kits, car kits, wipes or sanitizing cloths, and zipper enclosure bags of various sizes are some of the first things to pack. The zipper bags can hold anything from wet swimsuits to treasures that are found on hikes or strolls on the beach.

Audiobooks are often available from your local library. Handheld travel games can be purchased or there are paper ones available for free download. Search for “free download travel games” and numerous sites will come up. Many, such as the license plate game or the alphabet game can be done orally as you travel. Choose the age-appropriate ones for your grandchildren. Focus on the Family has a free download, The Adventures in Odyssey Club Summer Road Trip Activities Packet!

A great way to pass the time is to play games together. Some favorites are:

  • “I Spy” and looking for colors or makes of vehicles as well as animals and landmarks
  • For young children, play the “color game” where you need to find something out the window that is a certain color.
  • “Add-on” is where you start a story and the next person in the car adds to it and so forth.
  • To learn more about your grandchildren play “What would you do if…” A certain scenario is given and the grandchild has to tell you what they would do.
  • For older grandchildren, you can play imaginary hide n’ seek. They choose a place to hide in their home or yours, imagining that they are there. You ask questions about the location that are answered by a “yes” or “no” and try to guess where they are hiding.

Consider making up goodie bags. Throughout the length of the trip, especially if “are we there yet” begins, hand out a bag for them to open. You could give them all the bags at once with instructions on the bag as to when they can open them. Possible instructions could say “when we get to [name of city]” or “when we have gone [number miles]” or “do not open until [time of day]”. Remember the ages of the grandchildren when deciding how often to give out the goodie bags as well as what is included in the bag. Ideas of things to include are food treats, handheld travel games, magnetic car games, stickers, books, chenille pipe cleaners, pens and colored pencils, small coloring books, crayons, linking blocks, card games, mad libs, art supplies, journal, things to do at the destination, and maps.

Snack boxes are also great to have available as they may help cut down on the number of stops. Having snack boxes could also lead to an impromptu picnic along the side of the road. Choose snacks wisely, keeping in mind parents’ desires and grandchild’s allergies. Fruit, cheese, nuts, and granola along with a juice box or water bottle are great starts. Pack them in an easy-to-open and easy-to-eat-from container. Check out Pinterest for lots of other great ideas for food ideas and travel games.

Allow the grandchild to help with packing their favorite pillow, blanket, and stuffed animal. Older grandchildren will probably want their electronic devices and cords. Be sure to have a conversation and agree about the use of them on the trip. Pack your Bible and factor in a time to do a devotional with them each day.

End Well

Above all, pack your adventuresome spirit! You are on a quest to get to know your grandchildren better. As you endeavor to make lifelong happy memories, be sure to use every opportunity to let them know how much you love them and want to spend forever with them.

Do not miss or waste the opportunities God will give you to share your family history and legacy of faith. Spending time with grandchildren this summer is nothing compared to spending forever with them in heaven!

5 thoughts on “Summer Roadtripping with Grandkids”

    1. In addition to above: memorize Bible verses, give a Bible verse starting with each letter of the alphabet, play music of Bible songs or stories, each retell his favorite Bible story in his own words to others, For older kids, set up a situation and ask ,”What would God have us do in this situation?” Pray around the world with info about different countries and mentioning any known missionaries. Draw a Bible story picture or verse on a napkin and have them guess which story it is from.

  1. Thank you for these ideas… I have been trying to think of Biblical things to talk about in the car. I was grateful to see your post. CHT

  2. Great suggestions, especially those pertaining to the car ride!
    We often play a game where each grand picks something from a list (color, object, animal, etc.), and then Nana or Papa (or together), we create a story using all of the “characters” and one or more of the grandkids…

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