“Are We There Yet? ” –Travel Maps for Kids

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From the backseat, comes the inevitable question all kids ask at least 700 times on each and every family vacation:  Are we there yet?

Enter the backseat travel map. This is a road trip activity for kids that we have used over and over again. I photocopied a map (in our case, the northeastern states that we travel in most) and punched two holes at the top, tied it with a ribbon to the back seats, one map for each of the two rows of back seats in my mini-van.

Road Trip Activities for Kids :: Dry Erase Travel Map

Using some wet-erase markers, I outlined the states and wrote the names in so the kids could better see these areas. Then with another color, I outlined our route.

My 8-year-old especially loved this. He enjoyed informing the younger two kids of the next state we would be entering, how many more states to go, which was the biggest state, the smallest, etc.

For our next trip, I erased the route line and marked a new one, then gave the kids dry-erase markers and let them write on the map. We made a game of finding and circling states, cities and bodies of water.

We are pleased to have this activity featured by Melissa and Doug toys. 

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  1. Cute idea! My son is obsessed with maps. I think he’ll like this!

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  2. Hi Julie! I love this idea! My son is only 4 but I think having this visual would be valuable for him too! I shared the idea on my Blog’s Facebook wall. Thanks so much!

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  3. This is a fantastic idea! I’m going to use this the next time we go on a road trip to visit family.

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  4. I love this idea! Thanks for sharing! We are traveling next month and this idea is perfect for our trip!

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  5. Wow, that is a totally different approach than my parents took many decades ago! 🙂

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    • Ha! Tell us more. What was it like? 😉

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  6. Well, I think they had different educational outcomes in mind. Unlike our children, with DVD players and such, our family trips involved things such as:
    – traveling in a car with no air conditioning, no radio, the windows open at 70MPH while my father smoked his pipe and the only entertainment we had was a music box hanging from the rearview mirror that played my mother’s favorite song “Edelwiess” when you pulled the cord…
    – did I mention my brother and I also each had large grocery bag of clothes between our legs and one or two in between us. For five hours no less!
    – asking “are we there yet?” more than three or four times usually resulted in something being thrown at us and a “shut the h$&@ up!”

    My brother and I became quick learners! 🙂

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    • Considering this history, you are an extremely patient parent when it comes to long trips with our kids. 🙂

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  7. I found this idea on Facebook. Very clever. Upon further investigation I realized your destination was extremely close to our home in Perkasie, PA. Small world.

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    • Yes, very close! Sellersville. 🙂

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  8. where did you find that map? We live in Allentown, PA and are going to the outer banks in NC, this map would be perfect for us!

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    • Hi Kristin,
      I got it from AAA. It is their North Eastern states map, I believe.

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