The holiday season means traveling for a lot of people, and with toddlers, that can be very stressful. When we go on road trips with the girls, Hazel is always in the backseat asking “we amost der?” and then she’ll tell Iris “Is ok, Iris, we amost der.” It’s absolutely adorable for the first five minutes of our trip, but after a few hours it’s not as cute. Haha! Through our many road trips, I’ve learned that if you’re not prepared with activities, your toddler will cry…a lot. So I make sure I’m always well prepared with activities that will keep my toddler entertained for the trip (some of these I even keep in my diaper bag to pull out when we’re at dinner, a doctors appointment, ect.)
Another thing that we love, especially when we go on family road trips, are the driver assist features on my car. They really help to take the stress out of traveling and make me feel more comfortable driving while listening to a crying baby and/or demanding toddler. TadiBrothers is an online store that sells all the extras you might want for your car to help take the stress out of driving this holiday season. They have backup camera systems, parking sensors, etc. For me, having these features has been amazing! I absolutely love having the driver assist feature to help me, especially with having young kids who sometime can be a bit distracting.
- Busy sticks: These are so easy to make! All you need is colorful popsicle sticks and velcro circles. Place the velcro circles on each end and both sides of the popsicle sticks. Your toddler can create shapes and build with them.
- Sing songs: We love singing songs together! When Hazel was younger, Old McDonald was one of her favorites to sing in the car. I would sing the song and she would make the animal sounds in the song. Now that she’s 2 and can talk really well, she picks out the songs we sing and we sing the whole song together…sometimes she’ll even tell me not to sing and she’ll sing all by herself. It’s so cute!
- Mess free coloring pad: Another great item to keep in your diaper bag for anytime you need to entertain your toddler.
- Busy blocks: Similar to the busy sticks, you just need velcro and small blocks. Place velcro on all sides of the blocks, and let your child build. I love these for road trip because they all stick together so your child is less likely to drop them and be unable to reach them.
- Window clings: These are fun in the car or on an airplane.
- Felt garland: Another diy toy with velcro. This time, cut strips up felt and put velcro on the ends (I had to sew the velcro onto the garland to make it stay). Your child can loop them through each other to make a colorful garland. (This is better for kids 4 years+)
- Backpack of toys: Before every road trip, even if it’s just a short 30 minute drive, I tell Hazel to pack her backpack with the toys she wanted to play with in the car. It’s always funny to see the things she brings.
- Snacks: Never underestimate the power of a good snack!
- Magnets + a cookie sheet: Pick up a cookie sheet and magnets at the dollar store for an inexpensive way to keep your toddler busy in the car.
- Book Kit from the Library: Check out a book kit from your local library to take with you on your road trip. They have them for different ages. It’s basically a book + an audio version of the book. I’m not sure about the older kid book kits, but I know for the younger kids, they have page turn signals so your child will know when to turn the page. Practice reading the book with the page turn signals with your child before the road trip so they will know how to do it themselves.
- Talk about what you see out the window: It’s so simple and a great way to keep those lines of communication between you and your child open, which is so important for when they become teenagers.
- Sound books: Buy one of those books that has the buttons on the side that you can press and it makes a noise/plays music. We have one that we keep in the car and it does a great job at entertaining Hazel when we’re traveling.
- Memory game: This is an game they can play all by themselves 🙂 At 2 years old, Hazel is still a little young to play it all by herself. If I held guide her, she plays the memory game, but if she’s playing with it by herself, she just opens and closes the little flaps, which is still entertaining for her so I’m happy. Ha!
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