My son and I make regular road trips, which often take about 6 hours each way. Over the years, I have come up with many ways to travel with kids in the car for so many hours! With a little organization, you can reduce “screen time” while increasing everyone’s fun. Let me share the car travel tips that were most effective for me.
- Bring along one or two new toys, crafts, or books to spark some interest! Even if you don’t have something brand new, try pulling out a good travel toy or something that they haven’t seen, played with, or read in a while. That’s almost like a new toy!
- Buy or borrow a lap desk that attaches to the car seat or booster. The one I had has a cup holder and a place for a couple of crayons. This tray has been a lifesaver! My son was able to eat snacks, draw, color, play with toys or just read using this tray.
- If you have a child that still takes naps, try scheduling your trip over some of the time that they will nap. This worked like a charm when Lucas was still napping twice a day! We would pack up the car after breakfast and by the time we got going, he was ready for his morning nap. After lunch, he would take nap number two! Boy, I miss those days. (This method worked pretty well when we went on a plane trip too.)
- If you travel by car regularly, get a few (maybe 5) nice toys that will work well when played in the car. I really like magnetic toys for the car. Things didn’t roll away and rarely fall off the lap desk! Some of my other favorite toys are Magna Doodle, Brain Quest cards, invisible ink coloring books, and reusable sticker packs.
- Pack a basket full of these fun toys, books, spiral notebook of paper, zip lock of crayons or washable markers, and set it on the seat between kids. Check out this car seat organizer.
- Have a bag packed with healthy snacks and a covered cup for each kid and dole them out as needed. No need to buy gas station food if you plan ahead! Choose snacks that are not sticky, gooey or extra crumbly, if you don’t want the car to be a blowout when you arrive! I prefer one-bite snacks like goldfish and the like. If they aren’t crunching several bites out of a cracker, there’s likely to be less mess.
If everyone gets tired of the toys, there are the old-fashioned car games we played as kids!
What are your kid-friendly travel tips? Do you have a magic activity for the car or plane?