By Kathy Howard, Crosswalk.com
I am a mom of three and a grandmother of four, but you can call me “Road Warrior.” While our kids were growing up, we logged countless hours in various vehicles over dozens of long road trips. One summer we pulled a pop-up camper from West Texas to Wyoming and back again. Christmas 1992 we stuffed a minivan with luggage, kids, and gifts – including a toddler slide – and trekked from Alberta, Canada to Louisiana. I even survived a cross-country trip in a Suburban with two moms, six kids, and a strange condition we later discovered to be chicken pox.
Whether for a little fun in the sun or some time with grandma, tens of millions of Americans will hit the road this summer. Road trips are filled with great potential for fun, adventure, and building family relationships. But that much time together in a confined space can also be hazardous duty for parents. Keeping one or more kids happy and entertained for hours on end is no small feat.
5 Ideas for Your Family’s Road Trip
With a little planning and some creativity, your family cannot just survive the summer road trip, but you can also thrive. The following ideas are a few ways you can take advantage of all that time together as a family. As the miles tick by, you can build your relationships with each other and with God.
1. Journey Devotions - This 7-Day Family Devotional Guide, developed just for the family, is perfect for car trips and lazy days on the beach! Each day features a Scripture passage, brief comments, and questions to get family discussion about God’s Word rolling! Read the passage and the commentary, then ask your family the questions and encourage them to share. Close in prayer.
2. Story Time – Set a time each day for one traveler to tell their favorite Bible story. Encourage her or him to be as creative as possible. For instance, the traveler can describe the physical surroundings in great detail, act out the drama, or even do different voices for the dialogue! A few biblical stories that would work well include Noah’s ark, the crossing of the Red Sea, Jesus calming the storm, and Paul’s shipwreck.
3. 20 Questions Bible Edition – It’s the traditional car game with a biblical twist. The first traveler to be “it” chooses a character or thing from the Bible. The rest of the family tries to identify the person or thing in 20 questions or less. Players must narrow the choices by only asking “yes” or “no” questions. For instance, “Is this person’s story in the Old Testament?” or “Did this person perform any miracles?” or “Did this person spend time with Jesus?” Go around the car taking turns asking “it” a question. If someone guesses correctly, he or she gets go next. If the players use all 20 questions without guessing the character, “it” reveals the answer and another traveler takes a turn.
4. The Alphabet Game – Similar to the classic “Picnic Game,” this one not only stretches your memory, it will help build your kids’ Bible knowledge. One traveler begins with “When I opened my Bible this morning, I read about…” Then that player inserts something from the Bible that begins with the letter “A.” For instance, “When I opened my Bible this morning, I read about the Ark.” Before going further, the player – with help from other travelers if needed – briefly tells about her choice. Then the next traveler says, “When I opened my Bible this morning, I read about the ark and…” Then that traveler inserts something from the Bible that begins with the letter “B.” After a brief description, the next traveler repeats the selections already made, then adds the next letter. Play continues until the alphabet is complete.
5. Prayer Driving – In our fast-paced world, it’s hard enough to get the family together around the dinner table, much less gathered together for prayer. Take advantage of the time in the car to foster your family’s prayer life. Like “prayer walking,” “prayer driving” is a way to pray on the go. The length of time you spend praying together in the car will depend on the age of your kids. The older they are, the longer they will stay focused. For younger families try breaking it up into several shorter times throughout the day. Don’t be bound by tradition. Encourage your prayer time to be more conversational, with family members responding to each other’s prayers. You can keep your heads up and eyes open – particularly the driver! Here are a few ideas:
Gather prayer requests from extended family and friends before your trip. Pray for different ones each day, then text them to tell them your family prayed for them that day!
Take turns praying for each other. Focus on a different traveler each day. Encourage your children to be very specific with voicing their requests.
- Keep up with the news on a phone app so you can pray for current events. Model how to pray in specific ways for your kids.
In addition to the ideas above, you can develop your own. Add a spiritual component to your favorite car games or involve the whole family by asking each traveler to prepare an activity. Whatever your destination, the journey will be well worth the trip.
Kathy Howard is an international speaker and the author of 7 books including “Lavish Grace,” a 9-week Bible study to be released August 2016. Find out more about Kathy and find free discipleship resources at www.KathyHoward.org.
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