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Backseat Babysitters: 5 Websites to Keep the Kids Creative During Road Trips

By Stacey Ross

I am pretty sure that generations past would have had a few less "Are we there yet?" inquiries while traveling on those long road trips had we had the technology we do in today's world! Seriously, how many of today’s kids actually sing "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall" and finish it (not that I recommend that song for kids, now that I think about it!) or have experienced the suspenseful delights  of Mystery Theatre?

The following are some entertaining and diverse websites to help kids get creative and stay productive during those long car rides! They address a variety of interests and are good for kids of all ages.

Crank It Up! gives kids the opportunity to make some fun music! I just love, love Arthur – so much that I will get over the somewhat obnoxious compositions that have filled the car, all in the name of loyalty to my favorite aardvark (and a free backseat babysitter)! Kids compose and record multilayered rhythmic masterpieces using pots, pans, wooden spoons, and even the computer keyboard.

MakeBeliefsComix.com is a free site for creative and witty kids! Kids can work with all sorts of characters, moods, and props to present an original comic strip. This is an awesome exercise for students, and provides the materials and suggestions for adults and teachers to assist them in creating their own stories (in seven languages!), which they can print and even email to friends and family.

3D Snowflake Creator is so simple, and yet, so fun! This site, using a basic kaleidoscope tool, allows users to create animated snowflakes. While I discovered that they cannot be saved, for my own amusement I used my snipping  tool to preserve the kids’ work and pasted them all on one page to view....Then, POOF, I virtually blew them away (delete button) with one breath!

Scribbler is actually a step or two up from doodling! The tool is super simple: Just scribble on the page, indicate when you are done with your drawing, and then start "scribbling." You can add more doodles to the drawing to add to the scribbling process. This serves as a simple, interactive white board and is great for playing Hangman, Tic-Tac-Toe or other fun games that help keep away sharp objects from the back seat!

MomsMinivan.com is a little more "old skool," as it requires you to print, but it provides you free "comfort games" (my term!) that many of us grew up loving, like road trip Bingo, car Bingo, lines and dots, scavenger hunts, Battleships, card games, Tic-Tac-Toe, coloring pages, license plate games and much more.

I have not built a reputation of being the "back seat driver" type, but in this case, I might have to re-evaluate. What car games have you enjoyed? Any websites or apps you recommend? Do share.

Stacey Ross is an online consultant, social media enthusiast, freelancer and owner of SanDiegoBargainMama.com. A former teacher and middle school counselor, she is now a mom of two who researches and freelances about lifestyle topics involving family and well-being.

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