Musings From MommyLand

Because sometimes there is more to Mommy…

Road Trip Progress Activites

on May 8, 2012

Luckily, my children are still young enough that the inevitable “Are we there yet?” has not shown itself too many times so far.  I do however, remember using it myself many a time and as a parent myself now, I would just like to take a moment to apologize to my own parents.  Anyways, as I started looking for ideas for our road trip, one thing I wanted to address was a way show our progress and give the kids a way to know how far we have come and how much further we still have to go.  Here is what we have come up with.  Only the progress line is visual, but the others provide markers and give them something to look forward to along the way.

Trip Progress Line

What you need:

  • Yarn or string of some kind
  • Computer/Printer
  • Scrapbook Paper
  • Glue Stick
  • Self Laminating Sheets (optional)
  • Paper clip
First, figure out the points along your journey that you want to use as trip markers.  Our trip takes us through 7 states, so I tried to do 2 in each state.  I opted for more points so we are moving our marker more often for the kids.  After I figured out which cities I would be using, I just used a word program to write them out with different fonts and then printed them on a solid color scrapbook paper.  I cut them out and applied them to other pieces of patterned scrapbook paper.  I used scrapbook paper mostly because my printer doesn’t do color too well, but if you Google it, there are lots of free printables out there for this purpose as well.
Next, I found a picture of a car online that looks like ours and printed that out.  I cut out around it and applied it to some scrapbook paper as well.  After I had all these pieces, I used a couple of self laminating sheets on the front of my signs for a little extra stability.
To make the line, you are going to need to take the yarn to your car and measure it to the length that fits for you.  I taped one end to the ceiling above the windows starting in the front seat and then stretched it back to the backseat to get it the right length.  Once it was cut right, I brought it back inside and taped it down to my dining room table so I could put my signs down and get the spacing right.
Finally, just tape your signs to the line and then tape it to the roof of your car.  I used a paper clip with our car so I can move it easily along the line.  For the return trip, all we have to do is move it to the other side of the car and it will be good to go.  Hopefully, this will help keep the “are we there yet?” to a minimum.


I came across this idea as a part of a birthday party theme but knew it would be great for our trip.  As I said before, including our starting state and our destination state, we pass through 7 states, so I came up with a passport that we can stamp every time we cross a state line and this is also something we can use on other trips and as a keepsake of sorts.

What you need:

  • Foam sheets
  • Letter stickers
  • Computer/printer
  • Passport size photo of your child
  • Stapler
  • Stamps and inkpad
This project took a bit of trial and error but in the end I was really happy with the finished product.  I found a large stack of foam rectangles at Walmart for really cheap which is what I used for this project and one other coming up.  The rectangles were just the right size for the passports.
To make the pages on the inside, I just Googled blank passport pages and found an image that I copied to a word document and then sized to fit my foam.  I printed front to back on 30lb. paper.  I tried cardstock and it was a little too heavy with multiple pages.  Regular paper would probably be fine, I just happened to have this heavier paper around from another project so I used it.  The printing was the part that took some trial and error.  Finding the right size, figuring out which way to turn the paper so the images matched up front and back…this took some time.
I found the front page at this website and it was just about the right size so you can match your passport pages to this.
After I had everything sized right, printed correctly, and cut out, I folded the pages and stapled the pages inside the foam.  I tried to go along the spine and then I was going to use small velcro circles to keep it closed, BUT, I apparently have the world’s worst stapler so I ended up going down the side instead and then didn’t need the velcro.  It worked and looks just fine so I am good with how this part turned out.
To finish it up, I used letter stickers to spell out Passport and USA.  In the middle I printed out a small United States (sorry Alaska and Hawaii, it didn’t quite look right with you along the bottom so I had to cut out off) and just used Mod Podge to get it to stick.
Photos and info went on the first page and TA-DA!
All you need now is a stamp and stamp pad.  I picked out a postage looking stamp as well as one where you can change the date and then write next to it the state we just entered.   I really love the way these came out and think they are going to be a cool way to keep track of where we have been.

Reward Gifts

I saw a few variations on this idea including setting up a “store” where the kids can earn points to buy stuff, or even just wrapping old toys that they haven’t played with in a long time.

What you need:

  • Dollar store/section gifts
  • Wrapping paper

I opted for some dollar store/section purchases that they will get at different points along the way.  I will probably use them as incentive to be good, though I thought my kids were still a little young for the store system.  I did get a couple of things from the dollar store, but I really found the “goldmine” so to speak, in the dollar sections of Target and Michael’s.

Once you have what you think your kids will like, just wrap them and keep them somewhere safe in the car until you are ready to let them open one.  I wrapped my kids in two different papers that I had around the house and threw them in a reusable shopping bag and will let the kids pick one out of the bag whenever it seems right.

Clearly I am not above bribery for a smooth and uneventful trip.

Yes, one of them says “Happy Birthday”. Luckily neither of my kids can read yet. Not that it would have matter if they could. I was prepared to use leftover Christmas paper if necessary.

Between moving our car along the line, stamping the passports, and getting to pick presents, hopefully the trip will move along nicely with all of these little milestones.


4 responses to “Road Trip Progress Activites

  1. I love the passport…I’m going to have to try that one–Thanks for the idea!

  2. emily says:

    Love the passports!

    • Katie says:

      They were definitely one of the more successful projects. Connor loved getting stamps every time we crossed into a new state.

  3. […] Printable Passports – This is cute if you’re crossing through several states. […]

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