Well friends we have set out on a 2 and a half week, five destination, 3,000 mile road trip, apparently also into a monster of a snowstorm.
Living in Texas with family in Ohio, Alabama, Georgia, Montana and Colorado we do a lot of traveling. Thankfully our daughter loves to hit the road with us. Here are some tips that have made the travel work for us.
1. Pack an activity basket:
- Stickers. You can buy little labels in the office supply section and get 400 stickers for $1.75. You can also substitute band-aids or scotch-tape or anything sticky.
- Pipe Cleaners. Great for making letters, people, animals, headbands, hats or anything. When you get tired of them stretch them out and start over. Take along large pasta pieces or cardboard with holes punched out or even an old colander and older kids will love weaving pipe cleaners in and out.
- Marker board and chalk board. We keep a zip lock bag of markers and chalk (markers have been a recent addition, until recently they were too messy).
- Lots of paper. We give her a few crayons but usually she either puts stickers on paper or tears it up. I use coloring books but have also included old catalogs, magazines or just old drawings and scrap papers.
- Books. I try to pick ones that I don’t have to read, either with no words or that she knows well. Here are a couple of our favorite traveling books:
2. Make the most of your stops: Our stops are usually quick, but if we can we try to squeeze out a few minutes of fun. Even if there isn’t anything especially exciting, looking for pine cones at a rest stop or jumping over the cracks in the sidewalk at the gas station can easily become a game for a 3 year old.
3. Gadgets: Mini Magna-Doodles, toy camera, magnifying glass or a small flashlight. Occasionally we will let her take along a singing teapot or some other music maker but we try to limit anything that makes noise.
4. Music: We insist on doing some of the trip without music which has been a good practice for us. Then when the music comes on it is a treat and we all listen together. We alternate between doing our own”grown up” playlist, with her “kid music”. I’ve also picked up cd’s, mostly old musicals at the Goodwill which are a big hit. This girl knows the Sound of Music soundtrack backward and forward.
5. Snacks: I let everyone pick out one or two favorites and then bring a bunch of healthy treats, apples, oranges, dried fruit, crackers, rice cakes. It saves us money and we all feel better packing as much of our own food as possible.
6. Books on tape: Downloads are free with Overdrive through your local library. The Winnie the Pooh series has been a hit with the grown ups in our car, sometimes my daughter looses focus but she is starting to get the hang of it and at least listens enough that she stays quiet whenever it is on.
7. Surprises: I bring these out in those last 30 minutes of a long drive when everyone is having a hard time keeping a good attitude. Mainly I use glow bracelets, but any sort of special treat works, keep something hidden in the glove box for those moments when everyone needs a little boost.
I’d love to hear your tips and tricks.
And for more quick takes, check out the Link-up at thisaintlyceum.com