I received multiple requests from you guys to share some things that helped make my solo road trip with the boys last week a little easier. When I went to include this list in my latest Currently blog post last week, it was suuuper long winded and I ended up morphing it into the blog post I am sharing with you guys today!
This list includes the things we’ve relied on over the years to make travel with our boys (currently ages 6, 4 and 1) a little less stressful. (It also includes some tips I still use from this previous post: How to Keep a Toddler Entertained on a Road Trip.) As always, I welcome your input in the comments section and would love to hear about anything magical that helps keep your kids entertained on road trips, too!
Kid Road Trip Favorites
I shared more about these collapsible totes on the blog years ago but they are a staple for us, especially for road trips. A cluttered car majorly stressed me out so I rely heavily on these totes to store toys, games, puzzles, coloring books and snacks and cannot recommend them enough for car organization on long trips! (For some reason Amazon has the price of the Clevermade totes rather high at the moment but these totes look similar with a lower price point.)
Puzzle Books + Magazines + Library Books
One of my favorite tips for road trips: Visit your local library for new-to-your-kids’ books for road trips! I also save the Highlights + National Geographic Kids magazines we normally have delivered to the house for upcoming trips when I know a road trip is on the horizon. For puzzle books, I had this Summer Brain Quest book for Chase and the big kids shared a couple of Highlights Hidden Pictures puzzle books during our most recent road trip and they were a hit!
I have a little box of “road trip only” activities I keep on hand in our house and I only break them out for long road trips with our boys. These various activity pads (Water WOW!, invisible ink and scratch pads) go in that box and seem to be thoroughly enjoyed anytime we have a long drive ahead.
I am all about novelty snacks for road trips. Stocking up on snacks the kids don’t eat all the time definitely keeps them happier on road trips! (This one is particularly helpful for Rhett! At under 2 years old he’s the trickiest for us on road trips — due, in large part to the fact that he refuses to nap in the car — so looots of snacks help most for him!)
I typically pack the boys’ lunches, fresh fruit and our usual healthy snacks so they get some nutritious food in their bodies to help prevent crankiness but “fun snacks” like Yum Earth lollipops, yogurt raisins and fruit snacks are fineee by me on road trips. I also will often opt for snacks that they can munch on seemingly endlessly (puffs, yogurt bites, Cheerios, popcorn, etc.) so they keep the kids entertained for longer amounts of time.
Our kids love dry erase boards and use washable dry erase markers on their boards to play games, draw pictures and even make race tracks and mazes for their matchbox cars to drive on.
We lucked into discovering sticker activity books when Chase was a toddler and he received one for his birthday. They’re a gem when it comes to keeping kids entertained during long travel days and we especially love the National Geographic Kids sticker activity books because the boys enjoy flipping through them and reading them long after the sticker activities are complete.
Chase and Ryder adore this learning tablet and it’s an electronic toy we save exclusively for road trips so it’s always a huge hit. Both boys really look forward to road trip tablet time with this device from LeapFrog and I like that the screen time they’re getting in the car involves games, mini movies and adventures that have an educational component, too.
Toys They Haven’t Seen in a While/Borrowed Toys
This is where a toy rotation can come in handy! I will occasionally box away toys for several weeks (or even months!) at a time and break a handful of old favorites out right before a road trip. Their old toys feel new again and get a little extra love on long car rides. Swapping toys with friends or borrowing some toys from friends for road trips works well, too! Some of our tried-and-true favorites that work well for road trips: LeapFrog Laptop, V-Tech Teach & Touch Word Book, VTech Call & Chat Learning Phone, HotWheels Cars, Monster Trucks, animal figurines
For kids who like to draw and doodle and for parents and caregivers who cringe at the thought of a mess, LCD writing tablets are a genius invention. They’re a big-time novelty upon first use but have continued to be great for road trips for our boys.
This was both Chase and Ryder’s “first” video game and I like that it is very kid friendly because they were able to figure it out themselves from a young age and really seem to enjoy it! Like all LeapFrog finds, it has educational elements and it’s another electronic we save exclusively for road trips so it’s always a hit when we bring it out.
Question of the Day
Anything you swear by to make road trips with little ones a little more bearable?