So if you have ever traveled with kids for a long time, you know how interesting that can get… The fighting, the whining, the “Are we there yets”… Every minute seems to pass like hours. For me, I have always tried to battle this by buying my girls(now 4 and 6) each a bag of goodies that included coloring books, snacks etc and then… Give it all to them at once. Guess what happens then? It lasts somewhere between 2 and 4 hours and suddenly the bag that was supposed to entertain my children for days is a disaster all over my car… And “We are sooooo… Bored”… Yep… Bored! After I went through more time planning than they spent enjoying those bags, they are…. Bored!
Well… A few weeks ago I went hiking with a dear friend, Tami Blunt Wilkinson and she started telling me about something she once did for her boys in the car… And that it worked… So… I decided to give it a try.
And so began our General Store!
I went to the store and bought items I thought my kids would enjoy and not always 2 of each like usual. I also bought a basket to put it all in. A nice flat basket so my kids could see the things they wanted the whole car ride. I then went home and labeled everything in the basket with a price between $1 and $5… The cheapest thing was gumballs for $1, the more expensive things were magic coloring books and similar for $5. I also cut rectangles of green paper and simply wrote denominations of $1 and $5 on them to be the “money”.
So here’s how it worked… When we were traveling, every 30 minutes that my kids didn’t fight, scream or act like they had lost their minds, they each got paid $1 of the “money”.
They quickly got to where they were watching the clock and waiting for their money… BUT… The General Store only opened every 2 hours to shop. So… My kids were able to purchase an item every 2 hours… And play with that item in between. Sometimes they had to save money over a period because they were only capable of earning $4 in 2 hours and some items were $5. It was amazing to watch them interact and look forward to when the General Store opened each time.
(All was quiet)
Now, I will tell you, the General Store didn’t work as well about the final 6 hours of our trip so I had to stop in a truck stop and buy some fresh items…. Small cans of Pringles and Despicable Me Tic-tacs. These are both hot commodities in my house since I try to make my kids eat fairly healthy so they were big items in the General Store… The Pringles were $3 and the Tic-tacs were $5. Those new items though, perked my kids right back up.
So… Next time you have a long trip planned and want to entertain the kids, get the general store ready! Most of my General Store items were purchased at Target Dollar Spot or Dollar Tree.