Monday, September 13, 2010

HOW TO: Survive a 14+ hr drive w/ small children

I thought I'd share some ideas (some borrowed from Es) on how to survive a long road trip with kiddos. Here are a couple that worked great for us:

1. DRAWING GOODIES: I got a basket for each kid filled with all manner of drawing supplies: dry erase boards (from the $1 bin at Target), stickers, pads, etc.

I bought these trays for tot-school & then for home preschool but they are AMAZING for in the car. It give a hard flat surface to draw on & a way to keep your crayons from rolling away.

At around half way we found a McDonalds with a playplace so the kids could stretch their legs & get their energy out.

4. MARK THE PASSAGE OF TIME: To help mark the passage of time I hard a treat or something extra for each hour. So every hour we had a new baggie with a treat in it (fruit loops, popcorn, chapstick, etc)

5. MINI DVD PLAYER & REDBOX: We would rent a Redbox movie, watch it, & the next time we saw a Redbox we switched it out for a new one. It kept the movies coming.

6. BOOKS: I let the kids pick 5 library books including these big Disney storybook ones & that took a up a bunch of time. Reading all the ones they picked, trading, & then re-reading too.

7. KEEP THE SUPPLIES ALL TOGETHER: I made these little pencil/marker/crayon holders for around these blank composition notebooks (here's my no-sew tutorial on how I made it) & it meant I wasn't reaching back to help them find stuff.

These are the pads that have a marker that looks white but when you draw on the pad the colors or designs are reviled. Syd & Rob spent HOURS drawing on theirs.

What things have worked for you guys?


Trixie and Tess said...

We do the same kinds of things. Redbox was a lifesaver this summer during our roadtrip! I like your idea of packing a little something for each hour! I'll definitely remember that tip for the next roadtrip!


Amber said...

Nothing works for me =) I would shove a toothpick in my eyeball before I would drive 14 hours in the car with my kids(you are a brave woman). Those are great ideas and you are an awesome mommy for putting all that together! It just wouldnt work for my wild and crazy munchkins!!!!

Ashley said...

Our first few road trips I'd be totally organized and full of ideas. But we've driven so many hours now that nothing really works and we just try to drive through the night or play movie after movie!

Actually, last time we traveled to Charlotte (16 hours) we gave Rae a map of our trip and she enjoyed that.

I really want to make the drive out to Salt Lake for Nana's bday, but it's 18 hours and Roy can't go, so I just don't think I can handle it! I'm still thinking about it though.

Susan said...

These are all EXCELLENT IDEAS! Thank you for posting this!

Katie said...

Wow!!! That is amazing! I love your ideas. I will definitely be using them. We haven't had any long trips in awhile, but my boys fight even on two hour trips. I think they would love the composition book one. For some reason they love those books. Gabe has one that is almost full.

Kristal said...

well, with my imaginary children I just tell them to please not make a fuss so i can listen to my audiobook, (and while we are imagining, lets say it's a rewritten and satisfying Mockingjay) after which they sit quietly, with their hands folded for the next twenty hours. Interruptions in the silence are only my kids telling me what a fabulous human being I am.

Kristie said...

JoAnn's has some great clearance ideas, similar to the books and coloring and stuff.
One thing my family did, was they got some little shoebox type totes that could slide under a seat and used them to store everything in.
We will also save happy meal toys to put away for a trip, they are small, kids tire of playing with them quickly, so you can put them away, and they will be fun again.

Anonymous said...

I am bookmarking this post. I really want to get a couple of those trays. These are all great ideas. Thanks for sharing.

the mama monster said...

this is perfect! we are heading to cali in a few weeks with 3 boys 5 and under in the car! i love your ideas. we do the time thing but i like how yours were fun treats. you gave me a great idea, i'm going to go email you right now about it!

Debbie / Cranberry Fries said...

We do a lot of the same things. A package of coloring things, a gift ($1 store toy)/treat periodically throughout, movies, making up stories, car games, stickers, etc. Great list (with visuals and all)!

I remember when I was little my parents would take turns taking naps and us kids would get to take turns sitting in the front seat. Well that plus we were laying all over the van. Times of changed. :)