Stretch-n-Grow Hits the road this summer, and invites you to come along! Each week we will be exploring one of our amazing National Parks all across America. Whether it is watching Niagara Falls pour water 3160 tons of water per second, or hiking through the heights and depths of the Grand Canyon, road trips to our natural wonders can be a fun way to see the country, and explore. While parents and kids may enjoy hiking, swimming, and running around new playgrounds on the road trip, the inevitable question arises about an hour after you have left one destination, and still have four, five, or six hours to your next one.

Are we there yet?

Road trips can be tough on kids. Often a bulk of the vacation requires time spent in the car, watching go the world zip by, anticipating the next adventure. Sitting for extended periods of time is not healthy for anybody, and it leads to the boredom that can often makes road trips uncomfortable and frustrating, and it is very tempting to pull into that gas station and buy those donuts. Combining long periods of inactivity with unhealthy food can lead to poor health, lethargy, and sour attitudes. The good news is, road trips do not have to be this way!  

Here are some fun ideas to make your next road trip a healthier, and more engaging experience for the whole family!

  1. Healthy Snacks
    • In the age of Pinterest, it is always easy to find healthy and tasty snacks for the road.
    • Make your own granola bars for a filling option when the nearest town is still a few hours away.
    • Pop some popcorn kernels the night before, put them in plastic bags. You can buy kernels in bulk, and then you control the taste and seasonings.
    • Have enough room for a cooler? Celery and hummus is a great choice! 
    • Always make sure you have water with you. It is still important to stay hydrated. 
  2. Stretch Breaks
    • When it is time to pull over and take a break, do some exercises!
    • Get some back relief with some downward dog.
    • Do some lunges to stretch out your legs and glutes – trust me they will thank you.
    • Have a few little stretch and exercise routines prepared ahead of time so the family can get the blood pumping and feel so much better after hours of sitting.
  3. Audio Books
    • Our minds need to be engaged as much as our bodies do.
    • Download some new books on tape onto your select electronic device.
    • Maybe a fun adventure set in the National Park that is next on your destination list?
    • Perhaps a soothing story for night driving? Whatever your needs, there is bound to be a great story to keep your kids minds focused.
  4. Games
    • This option is the classic. Everyone has that game they played with their families during their childhood.
    • Some suggestions include:
      • I, Spy: described something you saw on the road, and have others guess
      • Banana: be on the lookout for any and all yellow cards
      • License Plates: keep track of all the plates you see
      • Memory Games: There’s so many of these! You can find tons of variants. Pick something to remember (animals, foods, anything like that) and run through the alphabet. The catch is, you have to remember all the letters!

We hope your found this short series of ideas helpful, and that they inspire you to explore new ways of keeping road trips healthy and fun.