Road trip activities that don't involve a screen? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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Old 06-17-2011, 12:02 PM
 
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I usually hit the dollar store before we go on a road trip.  I just look for little things that will keep them busy - some of which others have suggested: pipe cleaners, little animals, a new coloring book, puzzles, etc...  One thing I have used before that works well are balloons.  Although we don't use them anymore - once one popped while we were in the car and nearly gave my dh a heart attack so now they are banned blush.gif.  But our two kids would toss them back and forth and that would entertain them for a while.  Someone mentioned crayons melting in the car - we have started using those new crayola colored pencils in the car.  You turn them for a new point so you don't have to sharpen them.  I also go to the local thrift store and buy a bunch of new kids books at 4/$1 so they have new books to read. 

 

I'm heading out on a road trip myself this summer - so will be looking for tips from others...


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Old 06-17-2011, 03:49 PM
 
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You should be at your destination right about now, if you kept to your schedule.  How'd it go?

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Old 06-17-2011, 10:53 PM
 
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Well, I'm not the OP, but I'm glad I read this. I can't believe it never occurred to me to take pipe cleaners in the car! DD1 creates all kinds of neat stuff with pipe cleaners! So, thanks to whoever posted that.


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Old 06-18-2011, 07:58 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jenniferlynne View Post

Hope your trip is going well!  

 

You've gotten a lot of great suggestions here.  I second the suggestion of audiobooks.  We do that all the time, and my kids love it, especially if they can have their own headsets.  Sometimes we all listen together, but other times they either take turns or we use one of those splitters that allows you to plug two sets of headphones into one iPod.  That way I don't have to listen to Charlotte's Web for the 900th time! :)  

 

 My kids also love art activities in the car.  I recently did a blog post about the activities I made for them to keep the occupied on an 8-hour drive.  It's probably too late to help you out for this trip, but maybe you'll get some ideas for a future one:

 

http://willandkateinluxembourg.blogspot.com/2011/04/how-to-survive-long-road-trip-with.html

 

Good luck!


I just checked out your post - that stuff is great -and things I hadn't heard of before - like the sandpaper/yarn idea.  Thanks!

 

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Old 06-19-2011, 12:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well. A million years later, I finally have a chance to update.

 

We got here a few minutes after 10 PM on Thursday. All in all the trip took us about 25 hours vs the 22 hours that the GPS predicted. I think that is awesome for traveling with two small kids in a tightly packed car with no AC, driving through the south.

 

The night time was fine. We drove til early morning, taking turns, and the kids slept. We did stop for pee breaks and gas, and at 2:30 AM when we stopped we took them out of the car, changed dd's pullup, took ds pee and then gave them cheezits, which was novel enough that they stuffed their faces nonstop for abut 15 minutes, in complete silence, before falling back asleep.

 

We ate breakfast at a waffle house and that was where I changed them out of their pj's, did dd's hair and washed them up a bit. That stop took about 45 minutes. Then we stopped again midmorning because our windshield wipers are old and it was raining heavily. we couldn't find anywhere near the interstate to buy new wiper blades so we just pulled over and sang songs and let the worst of the storm pass. (OK, actually I took ds out and he splashed in the puddles in the parking lot.) That was about a 20 minute stop.

 

We stopped AGAIN at 12:30 PM to fill up and get the kids drinks. The place we stopped at happened to have an old train caboose out back that wasz converted into a CB radio shop. ds loved it and we spent close to an hour there. About 2 hours after that we took a quck 30 minute break for lunch. We had planned to to eat in the car but it was just too hot.

 

 we did a lot of 5 minute pee break stops where we all jumped out the car, went pee, had ds run a couple laps around the car and got back in. Super fast but just enough to stretch out legs. I had totally overestimated the capacity of a 14-week pregnant bladder. It was actually ME that needed to stop the most.

 

The pipe cleaners were a hit. stickers and foam sheets, especially sparkly stickers, were a HUGE hit with both kids. Ds' transformer and dd's baby doll also were immensely entertaining. we couldn't really sing or talk much in the car because of the noise from the wind (all the windows were down due to having no AC). the magna doodle and a big whiteboard that doubles as a lap desk were a lot of fun. During the last part of the trip I pulled out dollar tree stamp sets. dd pretty much just smeared the ink pad all over herself but at that point we were like 20 hrs in and I really didn't care what they did as long as it didn't cause permanent bodily harm! Also, novel items (a ziploc baggie full of baby wipes, a purse full of mismatched puzzle pieces, a couple old cell phones) kept dd entertained for a good while.

 

So....that is the story of our 25 hour road trip through the south with two small children, too much stuff, and no AC. It CAN be done without losing one's mind!!!!


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Old 06-19-2011, 04:00 PM
 
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Wow I don't know where you are but it is HOT here in Houston no way I'd drive around without a/c during the day! I'm glad your car made it. And your family too of course!!!
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Old 06-19-2011, 04:53 PM
 
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So, do you need to do a return trip or are you staying put?   Just curious?


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Old 06-19-2011, 09:47 PM
 
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Was interested in this because I am preparing for a trip from Fargo, ND to Fredericksburg, VA in a few weeks, and have gained a few tips in this thread! What were your start and endpoints again? I am glad it went well for you! Can't wait to hear about how the return trip goes.

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Old 06-20-2011, 11:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We're in TX (came from Va Bch, VA). We are staying for the rest of the summer so by the time we make a return trip it should be a bit cooler (I hope!). Plus SO has a merchanic in the family here so we will have the car fixed by then.


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Old 06-20-2011, 02:29 PM
 
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I have to admire your guts - I could never had attempted a trip like that when my kids were that age!

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Old 06-20-2011, 02:48 PM
 
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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.


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Old 06-21-2011, 06:09 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenni1894 View Post

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!

 

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Old 06-21-2011, 06:14 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waiting2bemommy View Post

We're in TX (came from Va Bch, VA). We are staying for the rest of the summer so by the time we make a return trip it should be a bit cooler (I hope!). Plus SO has a merchanic in the family here so we will have the car fixed by then.



what happened to your car?  It broke down?

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Old 06-21-2011, 12:09 PM
 
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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! 

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Old 06-21-2011, 07:20 PM
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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!lol.gif 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!


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Old 06-22-2011, 01:56 PM
 
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We recently drove from Washington (the state) to Florida, taking detours along the way. My kids are three and four and we didn't really have a whole lot of entertainment. DH doesn't "do" kid music and he's not really kid-centric (we did stop every once in a while but not as often as I would have). After the first couple of days of being restless the kids sort of just got used to it. I don't know if you'll be in the car long enough for them to really adjust. I remember when we had a 1 year old we drove from New England to the Rockies, and he was horrible in the car but he was a very miserable baby in general.

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.

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