With the Holiday's just around the corner and while many families fly, hundreds of families are soon to take the roads as well. Surely many of you will travel some place to visit family. If this is your first major road trip with toddlers then you might want to have a mini-check list of things that you will need to have to make your trip a not so stressful one.
As my kids have become toddlers there are certain things that keep them busy; the following have really helped when we have gone on recent road-trips. My children are now 3 1/2 & 5, we have been traveling with then both for a few years now.
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::5 Items you can pack that will make your road trip a successful one::
Books to Read- My children love stories and I make sure they fill their backpacks with the books they love and sometimes they "read" and make-up their own stories or I will read to them.
Coloring Books-What toddler doesn't love to color? I go to the dollar store and buy inexpensive coloring books and crayons and then take them out when the kids are getting restless.
Toys-My son is huge on certain toys. So, I allow them to select their top 3 toys that will really play with on the trip. For my daughter it is usually dolls and nail polish. For my son some kind of action figure or cars and trucks.
Portable DVD Player- We personally do not own a portable DVD player but my Mother-in-Law does and twice now we have borrowed it. Usually this is best for when we are road-tripping late at night. It's easy and the kids love it.
I-Pads/Tablets/Smart Phones-My parents recently gifted us a an I-Pad and an Android tablet, my Husband and I both have smart phones. When the kids become too restless and most options have failed we let them play games or watch their favorites like Peppa Pig or the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on YouTube.
::5 simple and fun activities to do in the car while on a road trip::
Now while I can dream that my kids will sit quietly and play in the back seat it hardly ever happens that way. My children, like most, require so much attention and interaction even while a row of seats away. So, we have created certain road-tip games that are fun for both my husband and I as well as for the kids. Sometimes we get a little carried away and take over, that's OK too, haha.
Snacking- Of course who doesn't love to eat! We give our children snack options and allow them to help pack their snacks. This is usually a good way to get my children's attention. They love food and especially snacks for a road-trip; they become very excited to be able to select their snacks and will almost immediately ask for them once we get in the car!
Music Game- My Hubby loves music so he created a music game. We connect our phones with an auxiliary cord to our vehicle radio and then use YouTube to select songs. We go in a circle and take turns the kids love keeping up with whose turn it is. This game is only good until their Daddy takes over and starts playing 10 songs of his choice in a row. For the most part the kids love his music though. Some of our favorites are music from La Bamba, Dirty Dancing and Jersey Boys as well as old Rock and then of course Disney songs. (You can create your own play list or version of the game depending on the kids ages.)
I-Spy- My kids love it but don't really fully understand the rules. Still we play it their way and they love it! It's so great to listen to them give you answers or come up with their descriptions which for the most part are colors right now.
Story Telling- My Husband is huge on story telling and during bed time he has started to just create stories with the kids and allows the kids to create their own stories. It was started because my Hubby didn't want to lay in bed and read long story books. But, the kids love it. I suck at it. It's so fun to listen to the kids tell their stories and use their imaginations. Some are so random it's hilarious. My son has mastered it and Camila she tries! Haha.
Potty/Stretch Break-And finally, we have recently made it our custom to stop at Bucee's but on longer trips we stop at designated rest areas as well. Just to give the kids a break for few minutes from the car and their car seats. It helps them take a breath and relax. We let them know it's only for a few minutes because they can quickly turn it into an extended play time. But, we have found that even 15-20 minutes helps them and us regain sanity! We do make scheduled stops such as Bucee's and as many needed for bathroom breaks. These have become less as my kids become used to our road-trips which is good for travel time.