Glad you made it safely there, but what are you going to do with your son's therapy stuff? As much as I would love to take off for the summer, my kids therapy means we can't.
Road trip activities that don't involve a screen? - Page 3
My favorite thing was taking a small cookie sheet (or buying one!) It made a great surface for coloring! Plus we had to make quite a few bathroom breaks. DS got to pick a magnet from each state (we drove from IL to key West, FL, plus made stops at Panama City Beach and Disney then back).
And he loved those magic pen marker sets.
Those are great ideas. Especially the cookie sheet!
what happened to your car? It broke down?
Spending a summer in Texas?? I am so glad I don't have to do that! My friends who live in the Austin area have been telling me that the high temperatures and drought have been making this summer pretty awful already. I hope that the place you are staying at has A/C even if your car doesn't! Hope you found a tenant to sublease your apartment, since I know money has been tight and who wants to spend rent money on a place where you aren't even living!
Congrats on the successful road trip! My kids are all a bit older now, but we have been regularly doing a 14 hour, 1000 mile road trip to NYC from Chicago since they were babies. I know this is too late for your current trip, but for others taking road trips, or for your return trip, I'll tell you what worked for us!
~ New snacks (crackers, individual cereal boxes, granola, even cookies) that they don't normally get! This is about the only time that they would get a juice box, for example. My only word of warning, is to make sure you clean out any old or unused packages! My daughter would stash her unused juice box at the end of the trip, and then down it at the beginning of the ride home, only to puke somewhere in New Jersey! We thought she was allergic to NJ for a while before we figured it out!
~ I would go to the Target dollar spot or the dollar store and make up little gift bags for the kids to open. Whenever they were getting restless or bored or discontent, I would give them a new present. They got to explore the new gift, new toy, unwrapping, etc. The novelty of having something to unwrap would keep them content for at least 20 minutes. That's before even getting to the toy!
~ Road trips mean new crayons and new coloring books. Or, now that the older ones are more capable, color by number, a journal or a blank pad of paper. This keeps them occupied for hours and hours. when they were toddlers, maybe not so long, but still for a long time. It was something they could keep coming back to. I would often get them a new pencil holder or case. They loved taking their things in and out of it when they were younger.
~ Books on CD or tape. The kids all have either an Mp3 player now or they have one of our old iPhones that has all the games but no data plan or phone service. I know not exactly screen free, but it can definitely eat up time and keep them entertained! The kids also have leapsters, so they are able to use those to their hearts content.
~ We always bring a lot of books. The big kids bring several novels with them and get to spend a lot of time reading. Thankfully, none of them get motion sickness!
~ Road games are always a big hit. Right now, the kids love being the first to point out the VW bugs (no hitting involved in this game! lol). I have to be on top of my own game with them! One I remember as a kid is playing the license plate game. Melissa & Doug make a really nice one, but you don't need to be so fancy with it! For preschoolers, doing a letter hunt, or a "scavenger hunt" is always fun. I've done this with my girl scout troop with great success. I printed out a bunch of things they needed to spot on the road and check them off. You could use pictures for a pre-literate kid. Some of them were pretty bizarre, and the girls had a great time with it.
I have road warriors for kids, so we don't need to do a lot, but being prepared with activities and ideas has really helped out in a pinch! We are going to be making a cross country 2 week road trip this summer with my kids, so I know I will be using a lot of these ideas! The best thing is to stay flexible and keep a sense of humor!
I also took them by myself for about a 1400 car ride and we made it in about 2 days. I can't see in the dark and that's why I had to stop right when it got dark.
What kept them happiest was eating. It drove me nuts and it was a mess back there at the end of the trip, but things like trail mix etc that took a while to pick through (and throw at each other, sigh) kept them entertained for hours.
They also enjoyed destroying things. Like, they got a package of baby wipes and they "cleaned" the windows and threw it at each other and generally drove me batty and were very wasteful... but happy and giggly wasteful for about an hour.
They also liked magnadoodles.
ETA: We don't have any battery operated toys so they didn't miss those, but my friend's kid was obsessed with them at 4 and sat through her entire 12 hour labor, quietly in a chair, glued to one of them.