P.T. asks from Trussville, AL on July 05, 2008
Road Trip TX to CA: Ideas to Keep 2 Year Old Occupied!!
Help. We are leaving in two weeks for a trip to California to visit my family, and have a family vacation at the same time (Beach, disneyland, Catalina Island) We are driving because with 5 of us it is cheaper than flying and renting a car! The problem is we have not done a trip like this with a child this little. Can you please give suggestions on what we can take to help keep her amused? We have a dvd player in out van, so that will help and we plan on many stops to let her out to stretch her legs. She is still just barely 2 though so any suggestions will be helpful. Thanks in advance!!
J.E. answers from Dallas on July 07, 2008
If your little one likes to color then Color Wonders makes those awesome markers that only draw on their special paper. They've made several "coloring" books, numerous disney characters, dora, etc that she can color in and you won't have to worry about her making a mess in the car. Everytime I fly back home to Cali with my 2 year old I always buy her a new one for the trip. Make sure you take her favorite stuffed animal or doll for comfort, a new book or two always help. They're so excited with new things that the usually play with them a little longer then their old toys. Travel size Magna Doodles are great too.
C.S. answers from Dallas on July 05, 2008
It sounds like you have the right idea. Lots of stops (every 200 miles at least) and try to not get anxious about the lengthy travel time. Stop at McDonalds with the playpalaces!!! Rest areas are great too but there are considerations (weather, biting insects, strange strangers, etc.) different from the contained environment of McD's. Also, it's a good place for them to get worn out. So sit down, relax, have some coffee. Give them a good 25 minutes, use the facilities (usually quite respectable) and drive safe. Oh, and if you leave really early in the morning (4am wouldn't hurt), so that they fall back asleep for a few hours while driving, you might be able to get some good miles in. So make sure that the seats are prepared the night before (reclined with maybe a comfy blanket).......
Hope it helps, have a great trip!
C.B. answers from Dallas on July 05, 2008
That isnt going to be easy. We drove here when we moved from CA and I swore never again to take such a long road trip. We drove through the night which was hell for us but better for the kids since they slept most of it. I guess you should be mentally prepared for the time it will take for you to get there if you stop often and you probably will have to with your 22 month old. NO matter how many games, activities you take they will get bored and restless. Good luck.
B.B. answers from Dallas on July 05, 2008
Coloring books, Portable dvd player and movies, Books, play phones, Magna doodles, oh and take lysol wipes to clean potties and other germie things. Flashlights for playing with at night. Cd's with sleepy time songs to help at nap and sleeping times and other cds with fav songs to sing to. I hope this helps.
B.D. answers from Dallas on July 06, 2008
My first thought was something we used to do on our trips from Houston to Fort Worth when my son was 2. Ahead of time I'd take a few of his toys & stow them away when he wasn't looking. He didn't see them for a couple of weeks, so they were more interesting to him by the time we hit the road.
I kept them out of sight in a bag in the front seat & simply pulled a new one out every now & then when he began to get fussy. I also tossed in a few 'safe' (this can be a relative term, I know) household items such as a flashlight or a set of old keys & keyring (which were run through the sanitize cycle in the dishwasher first). Things that normally he didn't get to play with--'grown up stuff'. You can enlist your older children to help monitor those things if needed. We also never went on a road trip without his Magna Doodle. I can't tell you what a lifesaver that was!
New books were always a big hit. You might consider a trip to the library before you leave. Another thing I used to do & still do, actually, even though Jack is now 12 is record my voice reading his books on tape. He LOVED to put on headphones or listen on the car player to the stories while he held the picture book & followed along. At that age, it's helpful to ring a bell or clap on the recording when it's time to turn the page. I'd ring a bell & say, "time to go to the next page". I discovered that this is also an excellent, inexpensive preparation for early reading skills (Can you tell we home school? :)) AND a good way to help toddlers wind down at bedtime after you have said goodnight.
Obviously I don't ring any bells anymore, Ha! Jack is now a voracious reader of chapter books, but I still do read some of his old favorites on tape (like the Little House series) & he often goes to sleep with them playing.
G.G. answers from Dallas on July 07, 2008
We recently brought my 2 year-old nephew for a visit and that required a 6-hour car trip. He enjoyed my daughter's "books with sound," the ones with the "sound effect" buttons that you push when certain pictures occur within the story. We also had a bucket full of "fidget" toys and he spent a lot of time with them. These were things like a spikey ball he could turn inside out (He spent many miles trying to figure that one out!!), a plastic tube he could stretch and then push back together, an old Rubik's cube, and an electronic light-up game. The newness and the uniqueness of each item seemed to be the key. Good luck, have fun and try NOT to watch the clock or the odometer!!