We travel frequently to visit family that lives out of state. And we will soon be traveling 10 hours each way after we move next month. I have plenty of activities for my 5 year old and plan to also listen to some audio books. We do watch some movies on the trip (mainly Magic Schoolbus), but I want to limit how much they watch. I am at a loss of what to bring for my 2 year old. I think when our oldest was this age, we were able to travel mostly when it was after bedtime and she slept most of the way. I think she is also a different child and needs different things to entertain her. I would love to hear what others use when traveling for their toddlers so I can add to my arsenal of items. Thanks!
OK, this one sounds weird, I know, but it worked well to keep a little one entertained for quite a while. Give her a box of cheap Band-aids, various sizes are great but one size works too. She can unwrap each one and stick them on the window to make patterns or simple pictures. Give her a little bag for the wrappers. (By the way, if you leave them on the window for several days, they kind of bake on and are harder to remove. Don’t ask how I know this. )
I have three children that all had birthdays this past month (one 4yr old and twin 2 yrs olds) – we live in a very rural area so even the grocery store is an hour away. Here is what we keep in our car for entertainment: We keep the small magna-doodles in the car and do all sorts of drawing – I give them pictures to try to draw (maybe things they see out the window) or with my older son he practices writing his letters alot. We also keep these Aqua-doodle flip books (I don’t know the actual name for them), but they use the water pens and work like those old papers that you use the clear marker for – they show up in color, but dry out and are re-useable. Both of those are non-messy things. I do have a dvd player that we use for longer trips and the last long trip we took I checked some kids foreign language dvds out from the library and that really kept their attention. Mine don’t tend to get car sick when reading so we keep a lot of books and magazines and sometimes my older son will read to the younger ones (then my husband and I have time to talk a bit). My little ones are very entertained with baby wipes, don’t ask me why, but a wipe can keep them entertained for a good bit with me giving them different things to clean (and we can handle the windows later) I can “quiz” them on all their body parts this way We aren’t big snackers, but for long car trips we make exceptions and have special snacks (we do trail mix with goldfish, cheerios, raisins, and M&Ms) and I give them those snack cups with the lids that have small holes to reach in so it takes them a while to get it out. Another thing is pulling out some toys from the bottom of the toybox that they haven’t seen in a while, that can be fun. We do try to encourage some “quiet time” in the car too and will put on some calming music and ask them to look outside and see what they see. I try to not stress out too much about breaking our normal rules – long car trips with little ones is all about surviving it with your sanity – and a few extra movies and snacks doesn’t hurt them and in the end we all enjoy the ride much more. I hope some of this helps – if I think of anything else in my bag of tricks I’ll come back and post that.
One thing I did with mine when they were toddlers is:
Get a clipboard with plain white paper and tie several different color crayons with cotton baking string to the clipboard. Carve a little groove around each crayon for the string so it won’t slip off
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