We drove from AZ to IL and back at christmas time. We had a portable dvd player, quiet toys, no crayons- as I didn't want to be cleaning crayon off my car seats (she wouldn't intentionally color, but they'd get dropped in the seats, etc.), but we did have those color wonder markers that only color on the special paper. We had books, lots of snacks and drinks and tried to stop every 3 hrs or so. Dd was 4 1/2, ds1 was 2 1/2 and ds2 was 7 mos. On a plane trip once, we had big beads that could be laced onto a shoelace. Any small quiet toys- maybe some travel games. We have a leap pad that dd liked for the trip.
we just did a 9hr trip. dd liked coloring with crayons, a magnetic home-doll set (given as going away gift from friend, she got it at a dollar store) markers (I would not recommend as dd thought it would be nice to give herself "fur" and "fish scales" and colored her entire arm (she was very quiet and Dh and I just couldn't look back). We brought a leap pad but she never used it, normally she would. Books on tape might be good with all the kids.
You can get Crayola Washable Window markers and let her draw right on her window if you want. Snacks that have *very* small pieces (I know nerds candy have two strikes against them, but they would keep my kids occupied for like an hour for a small box when they were younger because they would pick each piece up by itself). Magnet boards are a great idea (you can get little themed ones for $4-5 each at Toys R Us). Lots of books.
Originally Posted by TiredX2
Two words: MAGNA DOODLE
we always leave this in the car, in addition to a felt board with different themed pieces (under the sea, castle, etc.), and a lap desk with the crayola markers that only write on the crayola paper (fabulous for our leased car
We did a 20 hour car trip a couple of months ago. The girls had their Leap Pads with a few new books. Dh nixed the Crayola Color Wonder stuff since last time it did leave stains on their clothes. We had a stack of new books, some music to sing along to and my computer for watching movies. Since my computer has an older screen it meant no movies until after dark. I'd wanted to let the girls draw on Post it notes and stick them up, but dh nixed that idea as well. They'd have loved it, even just peeling them off the stack with no coloring at all. Before we left we also helped each girl pack a small tote bag with her favorite toys and they had those next to them. We also stopped at certain fast food places along the way that we knew would have fun toys. You can buy the toys by themselves if you don't want the meal.
I'd say they spent about 1/2 of the time that they weren't asleep playing with the Leap Pads (they've always liked playing with them), the other half was either staring out the window and talking about the scenery or playing with small toys or looking at books. And a movie after dark.
We've driven from Tucson to Kansas City more times than I can count. There is a wonderful little dinosaur museum in Tucumcari, New Mexico (on Hwy 40, east of Albuquerque). It is a fun place (may be 10 minutes off the hwy) and a great place to run around and touch things. Amarillo TX has a quarter horse museum (right next to the hwy) that has fun places to run around, put on cowboy gear, sit on fake horse, etc. Both of these are small museums that you can visit in 45 min. to an hour -- just the right amount of time to break up a road trip. (We would stop at one of them going to KC, and the other on the way back).
We have a video player in the car and do a movie, then listen to a CD and play with something (you've had tons of great ideas here) and then watch another movie when the CD is over. So many people have DVDs for their cars you could most likely borrow one for the trip. One thing that helps my kids on trips is to just have one thing out to play with at a time -- just have the magna doodle out. Then put it away and get out color wonder, etc. If everything is out all over the back seat, they just get grouchy.
DVDs, LeapPad & Books [Read stories to non-readers, interactive, etc], Crayola Magic Markers & Books [They color on ONLY books, not seats, clothes, etc], Of Course -- many many BOOKS, Music CDs [like Yanni, Disney sound tracks, Best of the 50s-n-60s, Muppets, you get it],
Also a nice idea is one of those RoseArt kits with paper pad, color book, pencils, crayons, stickers, etc in Theme of Choice. [Son has TMNT, Neighbor has Bratz, etc]
And may I suggest a school pencil box filled with those Polly Pockets. [Uhg, I know, but REALLY a wonder for car time.] A pencil box full of "things" is easy even for your 1.5 yr old -- ex Fisher Price Little People.
Finally if you can afford it/them, try some of the Klutz kits. The "Activity Book" is a must, and the SpiroGraph is also a good one. I dont know about others but you get the idea.
PS. One final tip, pick motels with a heated pool. It is [in my opinion] worth the extra bucks to stop driving before bed and take a nice 30+ minute swim with the kids to wear them out a bit and relax everyone overall. Swimming again before getting into the car for another 10 hrs is a REAL treat too.
Wow, 20 hours, that's quite a hike. I have never done that long a drive with my ds but we do go regularly to my parents and sister, which is a 6 hour drive, so we have it down. We rely heavily on the Etch-a-Sketch and Magna Doodle. Last trip I had found for under $10 a set of 4 simple wooden puzzles that came in a box with a lip around it so it functioned as a lap holder to do the puzzles on and this kept him occupied for quite a while. This is great for a kid who really likes to do puzzles. You have to be careful the pieces don't get lost of course. Also we have Stuart Little read on tape (have to get another one).
I totally second Levar on the pool idea. Now if we ever have to stay in a motel or hotel the first criteria is if they have a year-round or indoor pool.
Originally Posted by onlyzombiecat
What about small containers of playdoh?
no offense, but this is a bad idea. It would most likely make a mess that would be impossible to ever clean up. If you driving across the southern part of the US at this time of the year, you have to consider what anything in your car will be like at 140 degrees because it can get that hot while you are parked so you can eat. It gets hot enough to melt crayons. I don't even want to think about what playdoh would be like.
On long trips, we start very early in the morning, putting the kids in the car still asleep and in their jammies. We take lots of stops to strech legs. We drive for a couple of hours after dinner. You can get 10 hours of driving in pretty easily that way. When we were driving Tucson to KC it was a total of 24 hours of driving and we did it in 2 days.
Is this your drive when you are moving? Are you going to have pets with you?
Forget the museums I suggested -- you can't leave your dogs in the car in this weather
What route are you taking? We took 10 east out of Tucson, then went straight north through New Mexico, and headed east again at Albuquerque. There are many rest stops on this route. Traveling with pets in the heat we only eat fast food in the car because we are afraid to leave the animals in the car when it is so hot. (I know fast food is evil, but this is a trip that you will ever make again with your dogs.) We stopped often at places where we could get the dogs out, and the kids could strech their legs, too.
Be sure to pack water bottles and dishes, toys, etc. for your dogs.
You will most likely be tired and stressed out before you even get in the car. Even if you think kids should never watch TV, get a DVD player for your car and some new DVDs. You can give the thing to charity afterwards if you don't want it, but this is going to be a hard trip for all of you.
We've made many long trips with the kids, but traveling while moving is a much more complicated deal. Do whatever you need to get through this. You can get back to your usually parenting (little or no junk food and TV) later.
I hope I don't sound negitive, but I've been there done that with little kids. You will survive and you will be stronger for the experience. Once you've done this you will know that you can do anything. Your kids will grow up as great travlers that you can take anywhere.
When we drove from Delaware to Tennessee last June, (about 14 hours)we left right before bed time. Everyone had had their baths and we set out. Dh and I drove straight thru the night. We made sure we took naps the afternoon before.
I have to tell you, that was the best night I have ever spent with my dh. The kids slept most of the night, only waking once or twice and not fully.(they were 5.5 and 1.5) I have never felt more connected!
But, I hope you have a great time! THese were all great ideas!
1 - a map of the usa and canada to tally up license plates from other states. we always saw licence plates from all fifty states and all canadan provences. (plates from the state we were driving through didn't count, nor did they count stat about five-ten miles before we crossed the state line. and unless you could make a great agrument non were counted from the disneyland parking lot.
2 - my mother ised to stash never before seen toys. they didn't have to be expensive or fancy, just new.
3 - we used to get up really early and stop for breakfast about two hours down the road. it snuck in a couple extra hours when it was cool in summer months and it was exciting to go out for breakfast which we never just did. also if you going-out-to-eat budget is tight breakfast is usually cheapest for the amount of food.
Not all hotels allow dogs, but Holiday Inns do. There is an extra charge (usually $25). If you are moving your own things or towing anything, the drive will take significantly longer than if you are just driving your car.