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dh and i are planning an 11 hour car trip in two weeks. we're going to visit S/BIL and newly adopted nephews! dd is (almost) 21 months, and dh is super concerned how she'll react to all that time in the car. because of personal obligations, we won't be able to leave until noon, and therefore arrive sometime around 1-2 am. she will hopefully take a long nap soon after we leave, and then fall asleep once it gets dark.

i'm wondering how we can preoccupy/entertain her during those awake hours. what has worked with your toddlers? i plan on bringing lots of books, and probably buy a travel size magna-doodle. and i know we'll have to make frequent stops. what else?
also, what are good car ride snacks?

thanks
 

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we make an 7 1/2 hour trip with our 20 month old every other weekend.. we make sure that we make plenty of stops and let her run around. take 5 or 6 little baggies of toys and swap out when she/he gets bored. listen to kiddie musuc onthe cd player (this helpd alot)...include her in conversations, etc.

that is about all the advice i have . hope it helps
 

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I'm planning an 11 hr car trip (then 7 hours, then a 15 hour return trip) with my 12 yr old and SPIRITED 28 month old in a few weeks - I got bags of toys, a magnadoodle, books, snacks (fruit cups in gel, goldfish, water, juiceboxes, puddings, etc), music and a travel screen for my older son's PS2 (plus we're bringing games and DVDs for both boys to watch).
We'll be leaving fairly early int he morning - I think T will sleep for quite some time (he's a car sleeper and not an early morning person anyway), but I'm planning on making several stops for exercise and "gotta-get-out-of-the-car" times, plus meals.
(Plus, I will be the only adult in the car... the only driver... *sigh*)
I'll be thinking of you and hoping we BOTH have good, quiet, happy trips!
 

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We've done several long car trips with dd and these are some of our "guidelines".

Buy a few new toys and books but don't get them out for dd until you really need to. You don't want her to see all the new things within the first hour, and then become bored with them. Set a few things aside for the trip home, too.

Dress her in comfortable clothes - nothing with lots of straps and buckles.
Change her into pajamas before you get to BIL's house.

Keep extra changes of clothes easily accessible (not in the bottom of the suitcase in the trunk!)

Buy a new cd/tape of kid music.

Others may not agree - but dh and I sort of feel that for long trips, our usual NFL "rules" need not apply. We bring plenty of disposable wipes and paper towels, along with Pringles and diluted juice - 2 things we don't normally give dd very often.

Hope it goes well!
 

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We really like the audio books from the library. The narrator tells the story while dc listens and turns the pages. For snax, I like to bring string cheese, crackers, baked snap peas,peanut butter granola bars & organic fruit roll ups/leather from Trader Joe's. Ds still gets fruit and protien but w/less mess. Crayola has stainless finger paints if someone wants to sit in the back and help paint pictures...ds loves it. Clear paint turns to color on the paper only.
Magnadoodle as already recommended. Hope you have a fun time!
 

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portable dvd player & dividing the trip into 2 days staying over in a cheap hotel 1/2 way or more. we drove to NC from NY when dd was 17 months & will be doing it again this august. i believe in whatever gets you there- she can watch dvd's the entire way if it keeps her happy. last year we had lots of photo albums, books, etc to keep her occupied. now that she's older, i'm thinking about getting one of those tables that come up over the car seat so she can color easily. we mixed in a few new things with her old favorites too.

i know there are guidelines about a child's age & how often you should stop to let them run around/stretch their legs. we followed dd around a rest stop while she did laps at one point! :LOL

Snacks are also key. lots of variety!
 

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I'm probably not adding anything new here, but this is what we do.
Bring lots of finger food snacks, lots of water, and lots of small toys, books, and some fun music. Also at any rest area that we can, get out and play for a bit. it makes the trip a lot longer to keep getting out of the car to play, but it definitely helps cut down on restlessness. We also try to reserve a few very nifty and new toys that DS has never seen before, break them out at peak times of restlessness, like, hey! here's something totally new to do! One thing that keeps DS amazingly occupied are little photo flip books with pictures of our family, friends, and pets (especially the pets, he loves to look at those pictures).

We've got our own big long car trip in about a month. Woohoo!
 

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We are also on the portable DVD player bandwagon. We drove from MA to MO in December, and those dvds bought us a couple of extra driving hours each day. We didn't even turn it on until it got dark. Someone suggested to me before we left to wrap up the new, cheap car toys we bought since children love opening presents. The wrapping paper became one treat, and the toy became the second. Also-my 2yr old loved playing with a felt board and train felt pieces.
Have a great trip!
 

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We always have one of us sitting in the back with ds (who will be 2 next week) and that makes a huge difference in contentedness for him. (Who knows what we'll do with two?)

It's especially good to have the parent that spends the least tiem with them sit in the back when they are awake and happy....the novelty factor of uninterrupted "me and daddy" time has bought us alot of miles...although ds invariably wants me when it's time to fall asleep (even in the car)....but then, DH doesn't have the goods for the nursing, so it's not surprising.

Stickers are good if your kid likes them...magnets on a cookie sheet, we have a toy with music, flashing lights and all sorts of sounds (picked up for 5 at a garage sale) that has given us TONS of happy time in the car...it never leaves the car and we have few toys like that at home, so it's a novelty...

good luck.
 

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We have recently taken two trips with 20 month old DD, who is a challenge in the car. She pretty much refuses to sleep. Anyway, some of the toys that we use are: a big puppet bear and a barrel of monkeys - the kind that hang together by their arms, she doesn't get to play with these any other time. Feeding her on the road buys us some scream-free time (rather than using a stop for a mealtime). We also encourage her to look out the window and we talk about what we are passing - big trucks, trees, etc.

Having just gotten back late last night with a rather difficult return trip :yawning:, I have to say that the portable DVD is sounding more appealing to me - and we usually don't let her watch any TV. Normally I would hate for her to be sucked into the screen when she could be moving, doing, interacting, learning... but she can't really do that when she's strapped into her carseat, now can she?

Good luck - hope you have a reasonably peaceful trip!
 

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the voice of gross reality here....if your DD hasn't been on a long car trip before, be prepared in case of car sickness!! (aren't you glad I decided to check out this forum today, LOL!). We thought our 2-yr-old would be fine on a 5 hour trip last summer...let's just say we bought her a new car seat after that. Now we always pack extra clothing, wipes, gingerale and keep a close eye on her looking a little pale for EVERY car trip.

Best wishes for a great trip.
 
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