One of the things we wanted to cover in our “Road Trippin” series was what to do to keep kids occupied along the way. What better way to test this out than with our own trip to the Black Hills over the Memorial Day weekend.
My wife and I thought about all of the things we had done over the years and the games we played with our parents on the family vacations of our youth. But now we have teenagers, 14 and 17. My initial thought came down to one word – “Technology.” iPods and a DVD player with 2 screens and we should be good to go.
That plan changed when we added a 10 year old niece and a 16 year old nephew. So the plan was to have my wife break out all of the old favorites, the license plate game, hangman, alphabet game and I would drive and referee the 3 teenagers.
A funny thing happened…we ended up talking most of the way out. 6 great hours of driving with 4 kids and we had fun just talking and telling stories. The best part is, it was the 11 year old that inspired these talks with her questions. What was your favorite vacation? What do you want to do when you get there? Everybody had a story about their favorite trip, the first time they saw Mt. Rushmore, best hiking trail, buffalo sites and of course where to eat. Then when it came to what they wanted to do when we got to the Hills, well that became a game in itself figuring out how we’d pack all of that activity into just 4 days.
In between stories we did play the license plate game and ended up with 49 – we missed Hawaii. (Insiders secret, you can pretty much find all of them at Mt. Rushmore.) A couple of games of 20 questions broke out and the teenage boys came up with a new game all on their own. “What were they thinking?”
Pretty easy rules, you pick something out on the landscape and ask ‘what were they thinking?’ It started with some iron statues along I-90 and continued across the state. Just outside of the 1880’s Town with this sculpture of a human skeleton walking a T-Rex skeleton sparked some interesting assumptions.
The trip home was actually pretty easy. We’d packed so much into 4 days of fun that the kids were just flat out tired and napping was the favorite game. Nice.