Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Road Trippin' with Kids

Zion National Park
Last summer we spent a lot of time in the car. We drove to Utah and back. We camped at Big Sur, Bass Lake and Hume Lake. We are crazy like that.  I calculate that it added up to over 50 hours in the car. Our kids were 6 and 2 1/2 at the time, so we needed to learn a few tricks along the way. Here are some of our favorite road trip ideas.

On the longest trip, I wrapped up some new toys and books to be revealed at different points along the journey. We took a basic canvas bin to sit between our kids but there are some great organizers out there.

1. Sticker activity books and coloring books. Remember to bring something to color with-- we reccommend colored pencils because June in Las Vegas.

2. Thin books to look to and read. We brought many of out Dolly Parton Imagination Library books because they are thin and mostly great quality.

3. Books with small colorful pictures, like Richard Scarry Best Word Book,  Counting Colors, Where's Waldo, or I Spy.

4. Busy Books have some reading pages with a box in back for the figurines. These were definitely the favorite for my 2 1/2 year old. We also brought along little people and other figurines/animals.

5. Magnetic drawing board  

6. Small Magnet Sets like this Curious George one or you can make your own version with magnets and a small cookie sheet. You can get fancy on Pinterest with family photos and puzzles too.

7. We played the licence plate game and ABC game. This site has some paper versions of these and other games.

8. Books on CD See a full post of suggestions here.

9. Tchotchkes You know all the little toys your kids pick up in the course of a year. Party favors, fast food meal prizes, quarter vending machine toys. I find those toys on the floor and in the corner forgotten all the time. When I find it, I pick it up and throw it in a box in my garage. All of the randomness from our year. When we go on a road trip, the box comes out. Sometimes it gets brought out in stages wrapped or in bags, but often it is just a bin of stuff. They feel like they found long lost treasure and I don't need to clean it up repeatedly at home.

10. Lots and lots of snacks. We had fruit and nuts in our car as well as crackers, pretzels and such. Anything that melts is not recomended. See above note on Vegas in June.

Some useful sites I found: It's Always Autumn, The Crafty Working Mom, and Pinterest tips.

I know some of you are thinking about DVDs. We actually don't have a DVD player in our 13 year old car or even a portable one. I am sure we will use one some day, but so far these are the tools we have used.

This summer has many fewer road trips planned. Not because last summer didn't go well, but just the stage of life we are in. I look forward to a road trip again, maybe when I have a fourth graders and I can get this pass!

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