Last week we loaded the family into the minivan and headed across Wyoming to Grandma’s house. My kids are little (7, 4, and 23-month-old twins) and I wanted to do something fun for them along our journey. It’s important to Cherish Our Children even on cramped, stressed-out road trips, right?

I decided an hourly countdown—and hourly prizes—would be best.

I opened the craft closet and used what I had to construct a visible countdown for my kiddos. It turned out so cute!

Supplies I Used:

  • 2 sheets of cardstock in different colors
  • 2″ scalloped punch (you could use any punch or even scissors)
  • Sticker numbers (you could print numbers out on your printer or draw them on the paper)
  • Felt ribbon (I just happened to have a scrap of this left but the felt turned out to be perfect)
  • Tiny pieces of adhesive velcro-ruff/hook side
  • Lots of prizes, trinkets, and/or candy

How I Did It:

1. I cut out 27 circles with my punch in two different colors of cardstock. I put stickers on them, numbers 1-9 three times. (Our road trip was 9 hours long. One set of numbers was for the countdown, one set in one color for the prizes to our destination, and one set in a different color for on our way home.)

2. I labeled a variety of prizes (in sets of 4 for my 4 kids) with the corresponding hour/number I wanted my kids to get the prize.  I raided the dollar store and snack isle for prizes. I had crackers and fruit snacks, DVDs,  party favors, coloring books, stickers, small toys etc. Some of the prizes, like snacks and DVDs, I included duplicates—one for the way there and one for the way home.

I placed them all in a bag, which I never took a picture of, and packed it in the van.

3. The morning of the trip, I attached the felt ribbon in between the handles along the roof of the van. My scrap of ribbon was not long enough to tie it across, so I had to just tape it. I had planned to use the clothes pins (pictured above) to hang the numbers from the ribbon but they were too heavy. At the last minute I added the velcro strips to the back of the circles and then “stuck” them right on the felt ribbon!! Perfect!

4. As we traveled, I turned a number over each hour and handed out a prize!

Here’s the best part: 

My Big Kids DID NOT FIGHT THE ENTIRE ROAD TRIP! I’m not even kidding.

On the way to Grandma’s, they only asked variations of “are we there yet?” TWICE! And on the way home, only asked FOUR times!  That beats the 19+ times my husband and I had to ask that question last road trip. I think my kiddos loved being able to count down with us.
In fact, I never even needed “hour 9” so when we pulled into Grandma’s driveway, they were shocked! They thought we had more time to go!
I’m keeping the countdown.  Here’s to happy road trips every time! Hurray!  Don’t we look like we’re having fun?