Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tips for Riding in the Car with a Toddler!

When we went to the beach, I wasn't worried about what to do when we got down there or where we would be staying.  

I was honestly worried most about the car ride.  More than worry, I almost dreaded the almost 8 hour car ride.

This car ride was the longest car ride that Miss Annie Louise would ever take as a toddler, and I knew I need to plan early to be prepared.
Nearly a month before our trip, I would pick up a new couple toys and books to put away.  Then, I got the idea to search pinterest for toddler ideas for car rides.  I made a list of items to pick up and off to Target and Dollar Tree I went.  That's my biggest tip - search for the CHEAP stuff.  Don't spend a ton of money trying to entertain your little ones!
Here are the Toddler Travel Bags we took with us for the car ride - I put each activity into a large freezer bag to keep all the pieces together and organized.  I then used a big tote bag to hold all the activity bags, as well as snacks (goldfish, animal crackers, teddy grahams, veggie sticks), as well as sippy cups, travel bowls and water.
drawing away (and don't worry, we were at a rest stop and not strapped in)....
Coloring & Drawing Bag – the girl loves to color.  In this bag, I included:
Extra chubby crayons and lots of NEW coloring books
Small dry erase white board with marker (this one required some supervision)

discovering the fun that is play dough!
Play Dough Bag – we had NEVER played with play dough before this trip - she really liked it! In this bag, I included:
Small Containers of play dough
Beach themed cutters (I bought a bucket for $6 with the playdough and cutters included)
Muffin tin for extra fun
magnet fun & peek-a-boo with blankets!
Magnet Bag – let’s face it, all toddlers love magnets.  Am I right?  In this bag, I included:
TONS of magnets – I scoured the Dollar Tree & Target $1 aisle for tons of magnets
Cookie sheet – great to hold the magnets
another rest stop + loving NEW stickers!
Sticker Bag – along with coloring, stickers are probably our next favorite thing.  In this bag, I included:
Small notebook 
TONS of stickers – again, search those $1 aisles!
Lacing Shapes Bag – I’ve been trying to work with AL on fine-tuning some motor skills.  I modified an idea I found on pinterest to make my own shapes.  In this bag, you will find:
Foam shapes (I just cut these out in various shapes from large pieces of foam – I used a single hole-punch to punch holes around the edges)
Shoe strings to practice lacing (or just to play with)
princess busy book...something NEW and exciting!
*I also purchased a princess-themed "busy book", as well as some little plastic princesses, which were LOVED, of course!  We also have a car dvd player, so we made sure we had plenty of our beloved princess movies!
*For this trip, we also purchased a “Snack & Play Travel Tray” – this gave her a hard surface to be able to play on, as well as put snacks on, too.  I think we snagged it off Amazon for less than $25, and we’ll for sure get lots of use out of it.
A few quick tips for your trip: 
-Break up the trip.  If possible, try to drive half-way and then stop for the night.  We left around 4 p.m. (after a good nap), stopped for dinner, then stopped for the night around 11 p.m.  We woke up early the next day and made the rest of the trip.  It wasn't so horrible to be in the car for just a few hours versus the entire trip at once.
biscuit break...stop to eat!
-Stop for meals.  This was crucial for us.  It gave an opportunity for Annie Louise to stretch her legs and not be so cramped for a bit.  Plus, it's just nice to get out of the car to eat (and it keeps your car clean).
-Dress in comfortable clothes.  Don't put your little ones in clothes that are going to get all bunched up or uncomfortable.  And if you do plan on stopping for the night, put them in the pajamas after you eat so you won't have to try and change them when you arrive at your stop.  Bring that favorite blankie or lovie to make the car ride feel more like "home", too!
-Take your time and don't stress.  Driving is tiring anyways, so plan for stops and potty breaks!
Let me know if you have any successful tips for car trips...it's definitely a learning experience as a parent!  

1 comment:

  1. I found your blog because we are going on a trip to Destin this spring - it is a 20+ hour drive for us, so we will definitely be stopping along the way! I do the same thing with the freezer bags/gallon zip lock bags with travel activities. I love it because the bags double as garbage bags - and we can throw away trash/used-up activities at rest stops to keep the car cleaner. My kids are a little older (ages 6 and 8) so I make themed bags.. this year I have a dinosaur themed bag, a "spy" themed bag, a space bag, etc. It is so fun to look for things at the dollar store/find cute things on pinterest to fit each theme.