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Car Activities for 5 year olds

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Ok so we are going on vacation next week (yay!), we are going to an amusement park (hooray!), and we are driving there (hmmm).  We are carpooling with another family (and meeting even more friends at the destination!!!).  So in my car will be one just turned 5 year old and one almost 5 year old. I need somethings for them to do in the car so they don't end up bickering (as is their style when they can't move around and such).  The other family has a dvd player that we will bust out if we need to (however these two cannot agree on media choices so it's almost worse).  As they have gotten older I am having a bit more difficulty in coming up with awesome car activities.  Suggestions please, TIA!!!

post #2 of 7

Maybe you could pick out a dvd in advance that would appeal to both kids and not give them options. Find out from the other parent what the other child hasn't seen, etc, see what the library has.


You can get small dry erase boards at dollar stores...


Magnetic boards can be fun... Or sticker books.


One trip, the biggest "car toy" success ended up being the package of straws I happened to bring along. Ds squished one end enough to fit in the end of another straw and built things. How about those wax things? Wicki Sticks or Bendaroos?

post #3 of 7

We routinely have five+ hour car trips and here is something that helped: VERY comfy pillows to encourage a nap. For the DVD player, we found that Tom and Jerry cartoons worked well for our mult-age kids, mainly I think because there was no dialog to follow and the episodes were short. In our car the parents present the media, so it's my choice or nothing :-)  I pick things with short episodes (vs a movie) and even a picky kid will watch once it gets rolling. The Popular Science for kids series and Arthur also went over well.  Ditto the predictable tedium of Scooby Doo.

For car play, little figures -- either people or animals -- seemed to provide the longest engagement.

My kids also like to be quizzed and we play the game 20 Questions aka "Animal Vegetable Mineral." For littler kids we play the quicker "thinking cap" game, where you give three characteristics or "clues" and they guess (adding clues if necessary) and then the next person goes. A full round usually burns up a half-hour for us.

post #4 of 7

A couple of ideas that have worked w our 4 yo during our 8 hour drives:


etch a sketch/magnadoodle

books on tape (or rather 1 book over and over)

episodes of curious george, backyardigans, or magic school bus

brainquest decks

collaboratively making up a story that I write down and we illustrate

pipe cleaners to make things with (like the straws above)

favorite playmobil people

drawing pics in her travel journal abt what she's looking forward to doing

glow sticks (just saw 2 packs at target)

dry erase handwriting book (go figure)

apps on the ipad

glue stick and paper shapes for making collage



I find the best approach is to dole things out one at a time and let her exhaust something before doling out the next.  Have fun!

post #5 of 7

I find both my reader (5 years) and non-reader (2 years) will page through books for over an hour if I check out several dozen from the library. Mostly, though, I try to travel when the kids should be sleeping (either naps or early morning).

post #6 of 7

dd and i drive with friends all the time and we usually have a variety of age of children on long car drives. 


books on tape - that is interesting to EVERYBODY has worked well for us.


plus we talk. 


radio station. aaah but the key is play their station so they can sing along. 


i think after dd started reading i never worried about activities on a long drive. 


thankfully dd can read without getting motion sickness, so when she wasnt that much into reading we'd get her those Klutz books (even the boys got into it) or other silly books. 

post #7 of 7

Head phones and a CD (my five year loves Raffi)

CD audio books


He loves "I spy"

coloring books/crayons

travel pillow for his neck so he can sleep comfortably

different snacks I let him pick out/prepare (he helps me cut up the fruit, string cheese and helps put it in containers)


Hope that helps. Have a good vacation!

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