Having recently gone on two separate camping trips, I’ve had time to ponder what to do with that child crying in the backseat. Each camping trip was a five hour drive away from home, which was a bit much for our 17-month-old, even with a few stops. I wish I could say that he always was this docile and playful:
But that was not the case! If I had researched car activities for 2 year olds in advance… we might have all been happier campers (at least, in the car!).
I decided I’d never been that unprepared again on a road trip, so after getting home, I started brainstorming and googling ideas for our next trip. Here’s my handy list, I am losing no time sharing with you!
Fun and easy car activities for your next road trip
- Hang soft toys from links within reach for interest, and so you can retrieve them easily when your baby throws them!
- Sing. Bring a selection of CDs or make your own mix of songs on a CD or iPod to play for your kids!
- Play the color game with cars or buildings. Just the sound of your talking will interest your child, and they may join in if they are old enough.
- Traveling toys. Pack a special bag of “car toys” for the trip, include a few board books and sturdy, washable toys that can handle getting dropped over the side of the car seat. A lot!
- Talk. Studies show that children aren’t being talked to nearly enough. On a road trip, you have a captive audience! So talk to your kids and let them talk to you! As them about specific details of what they look forward to. Ask what they see out their window. On the way home, ask what they enjoyed the most – they will have lots to say at this point because road trips and vacations are feasts for the eyes! Share your own ideas with your child – this builds their vocabulary!
- Count how many card, birds, cows you pass ( pick an object that is showing up with regularity and is familiar to your child.)
- Create. Bring along quiet toys for restaurant stops – a crayon holder (I make and sell these on Etsy!) is great for keeping crayons in their place. These make for fun ‘trip surprises’ to bring out at the first pit stop.
- Soap bubbles. Only for the brave of heart. I read this on a website, and perhaps if an older child or adult was in the backseat, this might be a good activity. Blow bubbles out the window or in the car… it’s just soap after all. (Your thoughts? Because I’m not sure I’d really do this one, but I might pack bubbles for rest stop fun!).
- Stickers. Get a little notebook of paper for your toddler to apply stickers into during the ride. This is a good time to use up all those address label stickers. Or maybe buy stickers that have to do with your trip – if you’re going to the beach, find some fish and beach related stickers to engage your child.
- Felt boards. Create your own felt board by gluing a large piece of felt to a sturdy piece of cardboard. Then give your child felt shapes to stick to the felt board. You can create your own shapes or buy some precut shapes! Soft, quiet fun for the car ride!
Great games to play in the car with toddlers
Stocking a few travel games is a win for everyone. There’s so many options for mess-free fun in the car with your toddlers and preschoolers. From magnetic games to wipe-off books and activities. Here’s a few ideas to get started:
Melissa & Doug Flip to Win Travel Memory Game – Wooden Game Board, 7 Double-Sided CardsMelissa & Doug On the Go Water Wow! Reusable Water-Reveal Activity Pads, 2-pk, Vehicles, AnimalsMelissa & Doug On the Go Water Wow! Reusable Water-Reveal Activity Pads, 3-pk, Animals, Alphabet, NumbersMelissa & Doug Flip to Win Travel Bingo Game – 2 Wooden Game Boards, 4 Double-Sided CardsNoah’s Ark Magnetic Travel GamePeaceable Kingdom Preschool Write and Wipe Games to Go! Activity Book
Bonus: I found a lot of great traveling with children tips and ideas on Mom’s Minivan site.
Share your tips for traveling with toddlers! What are your favorite car activities?