“Summer” is coming to an end. Not the season literally since it’s only August, but figuratively speaking. School is just around the corner. Time to squeeze in those last chance to escape (at least for long periods) trips. I’m sharing with you some ideas that help with little ones on long-ish car rides to help the time to pass more enjoyably (with less movie time).
First, these trays are great! You can make these yourself if you don’t have a travel tray. I shared a post on how to make them.
Next, I printed some sheets to slide in page protectors. This works great if you can trust your little ones with dry erase markers (mine are just old enough to use them and 1 had just learned to read and 1 wasn’t a reader yet). It was a good opportunity to get some writing practice in that seemed fun. 😉 I put them in a binder, 1 for each child, with a few different pages. I tore pages out of a couple of their play books (it took some courage to rip those out) and slid those in page protectors. Things like brain games, crosswords, mazes, search and find, and such. Now, they can use them over and over, plus…when one child tires of it, I can pass it along to the next one that is ready for that level. I Googled I Spy printables and Road Trip Scavenger Hunt printables to find the one below.I wanted to start off simple since I had a non-reader still.
These treat bags are filled with their snacks – since we all know they are going to want them, plus, it helps fill the time. I keep our snacks in baggies they can easily open, so if they are in packages, open them ahead of time and transfer to something easier. 🙂 I have used the “fishing tackle box” container snack method and it doesn’t work for us because half the snacks get wasted because they don’t want those or because they spill them. Besides, they like opening their snack bags like this…it makes an ordinary snack seem like it’s a special treat. 🙂
In addition to the snack bags, I make goodie bags to open along the way if it’s a long ride. I save stuff from the dollar store, extra pinata fillers, really…anything extra from birthdays, holidays, or good sales! Stickers are a big hit (while they’re little) because they can decorate their white bags with them. A new DVD is a good surprise, but we’ve learned it’s better on the wallet to stop at Redbox the morning of the trip before I fill the bags and just leave one open to put it in later. Mini spill proof bubbles…at your own risk! They stay really occupied with them, but depending on the size of bottle it is, determines how sticky things in the car get, lol. Mini activity pads (they are only $1 and fit right in the bags), gel clings for the windows, scratch pads (again, if you can give them the little tool), and a small book if you have a reader is always a good choice. You can always get those from the library ahead of time and return them when you’re home. Just don’t forget any behind. 😀
I have little clips on the visor so they know they don’t get their bag at the next stop if they don’t have any left. I don’t have to repeat myself over and over about getting along (or whatever the case is); I just remove a little clip. I explained the clips before we left. They catch on pretty quick to behave when they see one disappear. I just found images online that I liked, saved, edited, and printed them. Then just glue them to a clothespin.
I printed out some cute car images and wrote down the stops when they would get a goodie bag (it didn’t stop them from asking when they get to open one, but it helped remind me!). Eventually, I just would tell them: when this movie is over or after our next stop. They understood that better. I think since they are older now and learning to read a map (gasp – yes, an old-fashioned paper one, haha!) that this concept would work great. The visual also helps them to see how much further we have to go because they have a general idea of how many stops are left.
Our daughter enjoying decorating her window with gel clings:
Our son decorating his bag with stickers (and using his lap tray):
Dollar Tree sold these awesome organizers for a short while. Every so often they have them again and I stock up on them because they are so useful. For the children’s things in the car that they can reach, for organization in the back seat (like sunblock, bug spray, first aid kit, etc.), for closets and bathrooms…so useful!
I like to keep theirs stocked with kleenex, wet wipes, crayons and pencils, and I leave one spot where they know to put their trash (instead of the floorboard, haha).