Friday, May 23, 2008

Road trips with little ones......

I was wondering if anyone had any good, new ideas for things to do in the car during a road trip. We have a dvd player in the car but will only be using that as a last resort with a Disney movie or something. We bring books, toys, etc. but the backseat just gets so messy. Any suggestions on activities or things that have worked for you when you travelled? We are leaving next week on an 8 hour drive. It is just going to be me on this drive, so unfortunately I can't read to them or play games with them like I do when my husband comes with us. Thank you.......


Amy said...

I just did a long trip alone in April, so I'll first say good luck :), then tell you what worked for me:

-new books from the library
-favorite music that they have associations with (ie we do kindermusik and that cd probably gave me a total of 3-4 hrs; played strategically)
-planning stops to play if possible (I mapped parks and fastfood playlands, McD and BK have locations on their websites)
-hording all the stuff to dole out as needed, saving the best for the last hours

I'd say its a combo of strategy and luck. So much luck to go with your strategizing!

Growininwillows said...

I travel often to see my parents and it is about the same amount of time. Justin has been doing this trip since birth, so it is normal for him.

I also plan a for stops....I make sure to have about an hour break about 1/2 way. . .I typically have lunch with my Aunt and Grandpa. . .

I bring music (always a plus)

I schedule the trip with nap time. Justin is still on 2 naps, so it works well for us.

I keep all the toys in the front seat with me, and pass them back as I see fit.

there is always the tride and true of playing the licence plate game in the car, or alphabet game...we used to play those as kids (there was no DVD players then)

The last hour for Justin is the worst...and I try to schedule a stop then too, usually at the Gap or the mall to walk around for a bit.

Growininwillows said...

a website maybe to check out as well

Farmer's Wife said...

In my experience with longer trips the "stop to play" idea is a must. It usually adds some time to the trip but makes it so much more bearable for all of us and it actually seems to go faster even though it took longer. We also have leap pads that help for an hour or so. Sometimes we sing or play games like "I spy"... Good luck and thanks for all the great suggestions. We're in for a couple long trip this year!

Darla said...

I have a book called "The Toddlers' Busy Book". 365 Activities and Creative Games...Some of them they suggest for out and about are
1. Where is it? Name things you see and ask your toddler to point to them (for ex. "Where is the tree?")
2. Color of the day/hour...Before you set out, choose a color. As you're driving, help your toddler point to and identify all the things she sees that match the color you've chosen.
3. Sandpaper play...Cut various colors of yarn into different lengths. Get a sheet of coarse sandpaper and store paper and yarn in a ziploc bag. Show your toddler how the yarn sticks to the sandpaper. She will enjoy creating a design, pulling it off and starting over again.
4. Shopping list...As you drive along, say to your child, "I went to the store and I bought carrots, cabbage and cream. What else did I buy?" Your child must add items to your shopping list that begin with the same sound as the items you have named.
5. Have a Busy Bag...fill with things like dolls and their clothing and accessories, and edible necklace (like cereal or crackers with holes in the middle strung on a piece of shoestring licorice.), magnets and a small metal cake pan, matchbox cars, simple wooden puzzles, special snacks, stickers and a sticker book or plain notebook. Assemble yourself for surprises or have your child help you.

Now, that said, I haven't actually tried any of these things! Ha! I have a nearly 4 year old boy who will sit and look at his Usborne "Machines that Work" book for 2 hours! We also got some laptop trays from One Step Ahead that are great for holding activities. I am looking forward to trying all of these things with the kids on the way to convention and then on our way to ND (a 10-11 hour drive) a week later. Some of them will also be great at convention.

I would limit the amount of sugary things, like even fruit snacks. But make trail mixes with cheerios, pretzels, raisins, goldfish. Put appropriate snack sizes in snack ziploc bags for easy grabbing. Make a thermos of Sleepytime tea (Celestial Seasonings) before you leave and serve them that as a drink when/if they start to get squirrely.

Hope some of this helps. And good luck!

the wallys said...

Well the trip went well and we did use the DVD player a little more than I wanted to but it was a life saver. They read and played with toys. Didn't have to get too elaborate. Even bought them something at the midway point at a grocery store....just some little toy that would keep them occupied for the rest of the time. It was fun and now I am not so nervous to do it again by myself although it is nicer when dad is with us!:) Thanks for all your advice!