We leave tomorrow for our 45 hour round trip road trip to Yellowstone. Yes, that will be Rick and myself and four children in a car for looooooong periods of time!
Many years ago I bought a book called "Sanity in the Summertime". I have used it many, many times! It's a little outdated, but gives a gazillion ideas on how to have a quality summer with your children. One chapter is on travel. Many of the ideas have been implemented on our road trips.
One idea I have used, and modified, is giving travel gifts. When my older kids were little, the Travel Fairy would bring a wrapped gift to each of the kids each day of our trip. Sometimes it would be in their seat when they came back from a rest stop, sometimes it would be on their bed in the morning. The gifts were anything from disposable cameras to chewing gum to car games, etc. They looked so forward to those gifts!
The book actually advised that you do what I am planning to do on this trip ... to have a bag in the car with car activities to give the kids throughout the trip. This will be the longest we are on the road for any one period of time so I decided to do it this way instead. I plan to wait until we stop for dinner tomorrow night and then leave something for each of them in their car seat when they come back out. They'll love it! And I enjoy doing it! Then I have something else for them on our next long stretch which will be a couple of days later.
One thing that drives me batty on a trip is disorganization in the car! Oh, it drives me crazy to have everybody's stuff everywhere and for there to be trash everywhere! I can't enjoy a trip when that happens!
So, on this trip I bought these over-the-seat organizers for each of the kids. It has three velcro compartments, two small and one large and deep. I have told each of the kids that they are allowed to take in the car whatever they can fit into those pockets, and that's it! If it doesn't fit, it doesn't go! I also tied a Walmart sack to the bottom of each one for trash. At each stop I plan to make everybody clean up their "area" to get ready for the next leg. Hopefully I will be able to keep a small portion of my sanity by doing this.