10 Hour Car Trip

Updated on September 22, 2007
B.S. asks from Washington, MO
7 answers

I am hoping someone out there has an idea on how to occupy a 17 month old on a 10 hour car ride. I have already thought of driving through the night. Fortunately I will be able to do that on the way to Ohio, but coming back I don't think that will work out. We have a wedding reception on Saturday night and we have to be back in St. Louis by Monday morning. So if anyone has an idea that is great.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

I can relate to your dilema. Our family lives in Oklahoma, eight hours away. I load up my almost two year old and my six year old with books, DVD players one for each of them, video games and lots of snacks and drinks. They both typically will fall asleep for about two hours and we try to pull over for stretching our legs break plus potty breaks. So far, we have been successful which is hard to believe because my little one can be high maintenance at times. Good luck and I hope some of these ideas can help.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

We took a 16 hour trip with a 13 month old a few months ago. She had always paid attention to her Baby Einstein videos, so we bought the entire set (on ebay--great deal) and ended up watching every one on the trip there, and every one on the way back. Each time she would clap when the caterpillar and the Disney logo would come on the screen. We felt like bad parents having the videos running the whole time, but we wouldn't have made it without them. She also LOVED the rest areas we stopped at.



answers from St. Louis on

Hi B.,

I have several years of experience with long drives (17-20 hours, over 2 days) with toddlers. Here's some of what has worked for us:

1) Take LOTS of breaks... every 1.5-2 hours, preferably at a rest area or someplace with green space for a few minutes of running around. We usually brought along bubbles and a big ball to help get the wiggles out quickly.

2) A clean, empty 20 oz. soda/water bottle and a baggie of small colored paper squares (tissue paper or construction paper). Show your child how to push the paper into the bottle one at a time. At this age especially, this is a really fun activity for them (it gets a little challenging getting all the pieces back out, but its worth the effort).

3) My 20 mo. old son loves matchbox cars. I tied two of them to the straps on his car seat, so that he could play with them, and they wouldn't get lost or dropped. I also had a stash of others that I would pass him from time to time to keep it fresh.

4) My daughter loved stickers at that age. Big stickers that were easy for her to peel off and stick onto paper. The dollar stores usually have lots of cheap stickers.

5) Snacks in baggies... and my secret weapon is dum dum lollipops... sticky, yes, but a big help in ameltdown.

Good luck. Travelling with toddlers is a challenge, but worth it!




answers from St. Louis on

hi, we just took our 5 kids to san antonio. it was a 14 hour trip and our kids are 2,5,8,9,and 11. we brought dvd players, nintendos, ipods, and a whole bag of things for them to do. travel games, cards, coloring books, etc. we let the kids sleep the night before in their clothes so they wouldnt have to get up and change. we left at 4 in the morning and my husband just put them in the car. they went back to sleep and we had made almost half the trip before they woke up. (oh and make sure you let them stretch out their legs often, its more stops for you but makes the trip easier on them and you.)
hope this helps
take care



answers from St. Louis on

We make 5 hour car trips to TN and back twice a month with my 22 month old, and we have since she was 2 months old. What keeps us sane is a portable DVD player, half a dozen DVDS (some Baby Einstein and some Disney), stopping every couple hours for a run-around break. Also, since this is a one-time deal for you, I think a few new toys might be in order to bring out one a time every few hours during the trip. I know stopping every two hours sounds like a lot, but it's worth the extra time. Also, check the car seat before you go to make sure the straps are adjusted right and will be comfortable for him. Bring snacks (Cheez-its, pretzel and grapes work well for us, but whatever his favorites are). Good luck, and have fun!



answers from St. Louis on

First, keep in mind that he'll probably nap for a few of the 10 hours. (Thank God, right?)

When we went on a trip to visit my brother in Cleveland, Ohio, we had to come up with things for our son to do too! We bought a few things that either he had never done before or only gets to do as a special treat. Wrap (use newspaper or tissue paper for a cheaper way) each of them up individually (if it has more than one piece, wrap them all up to use more time and make it a little more exciting!) Let him choose a new thing to open and play with when the last thing gets old/boring. By the time he's opened the last thing, the first thing will be exciting to play again!

I can't remember everything we got, but here are a few ideas:
-I Spy Books
-My son really enjoyed using highlighters, and since they're light colors it didn't matter if he got it on his hands!
-playdoh or Floam
-magna doodle (they make a smaller one for a fridge now)
-matchbox cars
-paint with water books
-wrapping special snacks/treats is fun too :-)

Another idea would be to bring his photo albumes (especially his baby album) and go through it with him. Take time explaining each picture - who's in it, what was taking place, a funny/cute story about him. My son LOVES to hear about when he was a baby.

My only other suggestion would be bringing a portable DVD player. :-). If you don't have one, see if you can borrow one from someone.

Hope this helps! Have a safe trip!



answers from Memphis on

Good luck! I've got 3 young boys and done my share of car trips with them. I think that's one of the hardest times to travel with kids. Will he watch any type of movie?? I normally don't encourage TV, but you could buy/borrow a portable DVD player-that might get you through a few hours. Even kids who won't sit at home to watch a show, sometimes do in the car, because there's nothing else to do.

There are always the standbys--books and snacks. Stopping every 1 1/2-2 hours usually helps. Bring along a ball to kick around and the rest stops.

Some other ideas--contact paper and tissue paper-kids love to squish up tissue paper and stick it to the contact paper, stickers, those playforms stick to car windows, magnadoodle or aquadoodles, some kids songs on CD's-family sing-a-longs area favorite with my kids.

My kids always love those books on tape (you can check them out from the library). Apparently, it's much better for someone else to read the story than mom.

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