We have a vacation tradition in our family. It's something I started about 13 years ago to make the time pass quickly for our then 13, 5, and 2 year old girls. (Ok, the 2 year old didn't actually play but she participated, and napped a lot.)
We usually vacation in the Gulf Shores/Orange Beach area of Alabama. That's about 7 hours from our home. You can imagine the how-much-longers and are-we-there-yets! That's when I came up with the idea to play a round of bingo once every hour.
I came across a cheap bingo game at the thrift store to use for our game. I covered the cards with clear contact paper so that the numbers could be crossed out and then erased with dry erase markers. I also tossed the original game box and kept the cards, markers, and bingo numbers in a plastic envelope to make the game easier to take with us in the car.
Now, we not only played the game once every hour, I gave out gifts too! That built the excitement and anticipation for each hour. I scoured the dollar stores for little items to use as gifts. Sometimes the prizes were beach toys. Other times they were things like packs of gum or packages of snacks or even lip gloss. It all depends on the age.
Now, let's load up the car and I'll explain how this made the time seem to pass more quickly. ;)
We begin our first round of bingo after we've been travelling for an hour. The girls pick a card, I begin calling numbers until someone gets a bingo. Not cover-all, that could take a l-o-n-g time. The winner gets a prize and the other two players get a smaller prize (think snack, piece of candy, etc.) It usually takes about 15 minutes between start of the hour and reaching a bingo. That leaves 45 minutes to wait until the next round. For a child, 45 minutes is way easier to wait for than 7 hours!
A few years ago, I noticed that my oldest had written the trip destination and year on the back of one of the cards. Why did I not think to do this sooner!?
You can see we actually used the game just last year. Yes, if you do the math, our girls were 23, 17, and 14! So blessed that we were able to still have a family vacation together and THEY wanted to play the game again!
I found these in the Dollar Spot at Target this past week. They are $1 each and would be great for another version of the bingo game!
Ok, so that's my biggest tip but here's a couple of others that helped in our vacation travels.
- Make sure the driver gets plenty of sleep the night before. The others, well, napping in the car does help pass the time too!
- Leave early allowing for stops for breakfast, bathroom breaks, gas, etc.
- Hourly bingo game with prizes helps make each hour pass more quickly.
- And, an obvious one nowadays, the DVD player. A good 2 hour movie makes the time pass quickly too!
I enjoyed sharing our vacation travel game tradition with you. I hope you found a tip or two you can use. I'd love to hear some of your tips too!!
Safe travels and God bless!!
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