Monday, January 31, 2011

Are we there yet?

Do you have those happy memories of long road trips crammed into a stuffy and squishy car with your parents and siblings? The endless thoughts of when it'll end? The constant bickering? The monotonous cassette tapes playing over and over again? (boy, does that date me) No leg space? Etc, etc? or even the fun memories of playing Zip (the first person who sees the green mile marker sign) or displaying signs that said things, "Do you have any grey poupon?" and flashing them at the passing cars?

I've been on countless road trips, mostly between the desert and mountainous roads between Utah and Colorado. It's roughly an 7 1/2 hour trip. But with small children it always takes longer. There are several good dinosaur museums likes this one and this one to stop at. But what about in between?

This last holiday season as we drove to Denver I was a little more prepared. In addition to the plethora of snacks, the personal, over the seat DVD players, I also bought some travel games. There are tons of tutorials that you can find online to make for a lot less money but I opted for a longer lasting version. And these will be used only for road trips. I purchased 3 Melissa and Doug games for my 2 oldest kids, ages 6 and 4.
I bought the Bingo, Memory and this Magnetic pattern block set from and Amazon. Who doesn't love Melissa and Doug? I bought these specifically because the pieces won't get lost (though the pattern block set did end up all over the bottom of the car).

But even after all these other entertainments wear off, they still ask, "Are we there yet?" So my husband and I realized a map was in order. Luckily, he came with me on this trip. So as he drove, I was able to make this

A felt, hand-sewn travel map. This is the Colorado state side. It took me nearly the whole 8 hours to make. A perfect craft to complete in the car! The only tools required are felt, of many colors, a needle and thread and some sharp scissors! I hand cut and hand sewed each piece on in sequential order. Starting with the state line all the way to Grandma and Papa's house.

I already cut out the Utah pieces out so I am nearly done with the whole project. Eventually I'd like to bind it to some stiff interfacing and loop some ribbon through two side holes to create a little lap book. We're trekking back out there in April so I will probably finish it then.

The little white squares represent the path. For Utah's map I will use little velcro pieces instead of felt so that the little car can drive along. I made a little car with our faces in it (which I can't seem to find at the moment).

So each time they ask, "When are we at Papa's house?" we'll direct them to the map, "We're going through Vail pass, or (translation) the two tallest mountains, before the longest tunnel."

What would your map look like? Print Friendly and PDF