March 01, 2007,
R.D. asks from Brevard, NC on February 26, 2007
Travel Entertainment Ideas Needed
I am planning to make a car trip to visit family within the next few weeks, and I need some ideas to keep my 18 month old son entertained! This is a drive that takes around 8 hours without many stops; I anticipate 9 or 10 hours with breaks for my son to run around. My husband is not going with us, as he has to work. My son is in a forward-facing car seat, but obviously he'll be in the back seat all by himself. I can certainly talk to him and sing songs and play music, but beyond that, I'm stumped. He doesn't talk too much yet, so it's not like we can play typical "car games". Any ideas anyone has would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!!
So What Happened?™
The basket of toys in the front seat was the best advice ever! I loaded up a basket (we needed to take toys with us anyway, since we were gone for two weeks) and every so often, I handed him a new one-- it was like a brand new toy every time! To be fair, my son has a remarkable ability to look out the window and be fascinated by whatever he sees, so we spent a lot of time just looking-- pointing out trees, mountains, big trucks--- he loooooves big trucks. Also, we are a no-TV family, so I really wanted to avoid the DVD thing, and toys seemed to be enough. Thanks, everyone, for the wonderful advice!!
T.K. answers from Charleston on February 26, 2007
I would suggest a portable DVD player. We usually have to take a 10-11hr to Ohio every year and that came in handy.
A.D. answers from Charlotte on February 26, 2007
We have five children and make two trips a year to Florida, to see all our family! While we do have a tv in the car, I also bring a backpack full of toys. I just wouldn't let your son have all of them at once, trade them every hour or two to keep them fresh and interesting. Also, buy some snack size zip bags and put different snacks in them, you can pass the bag to him easily and he can hold it because those bags are smaller. I just went to the Dollar Tree and they have a bunch of books in because of Easter, they are the hard cardboard type books, my Dollar Tree had Dragon Tales and Target has Sesame Street books for a dollar also right now (it's in their little dollar section up front). I personally stocked up for Easter but you could buy some new books and keep them from him till the trip. I wish you the best! Have a fun & safe trip!
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A.R. answers from Greensboro on February 27, 2007
Hey! I have 20 month old and we are always making trips to Ohio from Virginia. I got him a Little Doodle Pro from Fisher Price. He can draw all he wants and it keeps him busy for hours. I only stoped one time so Andrew could get out. But for the most part he slept the whole ride.
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Y.A. answers from Mobile on February 27, 2007
Hi, We've done many long trips with the kids, with and without the DVD player. My kids get tired of watching movies and want to do things so it's only good for a little while. The best advice I was given and use all the time is to get a basket that will fit in your passenger seat. Have one area that you can pack in different snacking stuff so you can open it without spilling and hand back a few at a time. Also, bring a bunch of toys that your son loves and get him some new ones. Put all those in the basket (with drinks also) and start with the old toys, then give him a new one when he gets bored, then use more old ones, then another new one. The new one will break the boredom barriers as well as quell any whining. The old ones are more for comfort since his surroundings will be changing. He'll want those when you get there as well. Last, but not least, bring books! My kids love to sit and read or look through books. My son is only 14 months old and he'll sit and look at a book in the car for 10-20 minutes. These can also go in your basket. I use the basket everytime I don't have someone in the car to help hand things around. I make sure I tell the kids that I can't jump around in the car to pick things up so if they throw them or drop them they are gone until we can stop again. They know to hang on to them to trade them for other items now.
Good snacking items are nuts, marshmellows, fruit snacks, small crackers (less mess), dried fruit, basically things that won't melt and I always pack a case of water bottles. They can get warm and not go bad and you can always stop at a gas station and get a cup of ice for much less than a water bottle (usually, not always).
Hope that helps and have fun!
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M.M. answers from Charlottesville on February 27, 2007
We have Madeline (10 monther)and Gracie (3 year old). We have relatives that live on either end of California, so we do a 10 hour drive. Is there anyway you can leave in the wee hours of the morning? We leave around 300 or 330AM and by the time the kids are awake 1/2 the trip is over plus there is no traffic on the road, it makes for a nice quite time. When the kiddos wake up, we stop by IHOP for some fun food and let Grace run around, then back on the road for another 4 or 5 hours (with some pit stops at rest areas to let her explore). it seems like the car puts the kids to sleep. I would sing songs as well, get a kids CD (dan zanes is great, and good listening for you too!) But for us the key is leaving as early as possible. Good luck!
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C.M. answers from Norfolk on February 27, 2007
If he takes a regular nap try to plan it around sleep time. We just moved from VA to OK normally a 20 hour drive. We did it in 3 days but they slept alot of it.
I.M. answers from Richmond on February 27, 2007
A portable DVD player is exactly what you need. Then check out a few dvds from the library that he's never seen before for surprises on the road. We did the drive to Disney this past summer and I also packed a bag of surprises from the dollar store. He particularly had fun with a sticker book, something about peeling the stickers on and off was very entertaining, and little flashlights, if you're going to be driving at night.
C.A. answers from Spartanburg on March 01, 2007
We travel to NC to visit my grandmother once a year and it is also an 8 hour ride. We usually leave late in the afternoon around 4. When we stop for dinner, I will change diapers and put on their PJ's so when we get to our destination and they are asleep I can lay them down in bed. We have also traveled during the day some on vacation and we purchased a portable DVD player that attaches to the headrest for them to watch. We bought ours at Target. It came with 2 screens. My daugthers love to watch movies. We also take toys, snacks and a Magna Doodle for them to write on.
S.J. answers from Charlotte on February 27, 2007
Portable DVD players are great (as other posters have said). I drive Charlotte to Boston twice a year with my kids (18+ hours each way without many stops). I take a few of their favorite DVD's and a few new ones. I take a few small snack cups that I can fill with some of their favorite snacks. Also, a small MagnaDoodle (my kids call it a "write-write") to draw on without getting into trouble. I go back and forth between music and videos. The variety seems to help. Also, I have a DVD player (I just got a new one from Target.com) that has a separate player unit -- it's not attached to the screen. I put the player where I can reach it without getting out of the car and can control it from the driver's seat. WHen we stop, I don't let the kids run around too much, because then they don't want to get back into their seats. Sometimes I use stops to go to a Target or WalMart to let them pick out something new to play with in the car. I also readjust their seat (recline to straight up) every so often so that it changes their pressure points. Make sure you have a "kid mirror" so you can see him and talk to him and he can see you...it helps a lot.