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Summertime and the Livin' is Easy! It's road-trip season! Windows rolled down, music cranked and nothing but a drink in your hand and the wide open road up ahead...
...Road-trippin' with kiddos can be fun! We've driven across the Country several times and I thought I'd share some things that have worked for us.
Take a minute to 'Get your Kicks - on Route 66' and if you ever get a chance - take a road-trip along part of the old Route 66! There are books and apps showing the route and so much fun history to see along the way. A trip back in time to the 'old days' when the family would pile into the station wagon and head on down the highway!
Road Trip Basics
We have a bin of items that are strictly for road trips. This keeps them exciting! This bin is full of books and games.
One thing I can't stand is that small space between the child's car-seat and the door. EVERYTHING falls down this crack! And it's always the item a child needs immediately and they cannot cope after it falls down to the abyss. Not to mention the avalanche of blankets/toys/sippy cups/books/half-eaten snacks that happens every time you stop and open the child's door...and this tends to always happen in a disgusting parking lot - like a gas station or rest stop.
Who can relate to this?!
Here's an idea to earn the title, 'mom of the year'...if you have a long road trip ahead, purchase some new or used books and wrap them up. Allow the child to unwrap a new book at specific intervals, i.e., every hour/every 100 miles/each day. This makes the trip so fun! You could also wrap up other things like toys, games or crafts.
I'll explain in more detail the items in this picture - first up is the car seat tray. This tray is fabulous! It has a strap that wraps around the car seat and provides the child with a comfortable place for coloring, playing with cars, eating snacks, etc. When you make a pit stop, you can leave the strap behind the car seat and simply unbuckle the sides and move the tray to the side. If you have a long trip ahead of you - I highly recommend a car seat tray!
Road Trip Children's Books
Books! So many Books!
Our children enjoy books that have lots of different things to look at. Search and Find books have a list of things to find on each page. Little People books have fun pictures to look at and lots of 'lift the flap' fun.
Richard Scarry books are an all-time favorite with so many crazy adventures to look at and funny things that happen. The child can also try to find 'goldbug' on each page! I specifically keep books with lots of pictures in our travel bin. Picture dictionaries for children are another great idea to keep them entertained. We carry Richard Scarry books - check them out HERE!
Road Trip Matching Games For Children
Matching games are great fun. Children can make matches or just play with the little cards. These magnetic games are ideal for the car since pieces stay put! Both magnetic games come with different scenes and lots of magnets to create a construction work-site! Grab these games for your children or grandchildren and make the next road trip smoother.
Construction Site Matching Game
Designed with little hands in mind, this sturdy card-matching game features playful illustrations. In this fun memory game, lay the cards facedown and take turns flipping over two at a time.
- 24 die-cut cards that make 12 matches and boost visual recognition and memory skills.
- The travel-friendly pouch is perfect for on-the-go play.
Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site Magnetic Game (3 Years and Older)
Kids will enjoy hours of imaginative play with the Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site magnetic character set.
- The magnetic tin playset comes with four background scenes on two double-sided cards.
- Three sheets of character magnets, including a Crane Truck, Cement Mixer, Dump Truck, Bulldozer, Excavator, and more, all stored in a sturdy hinged magnetic tin.
Magnetic Play Scene Construction Scene (3 Years and Older)
Decorate two construction scenes with little busy animal workers in this Construction Site Magnetic Play Scene from Petit Collage.
- The portable playset features two magnetic scene sheets and 40 magnetic pieces.
- Easel-style box includes an elastic loop for easy storage between play.
- Sturdy construction made from recycled materials, printed with vegetable inks.
Magnetology puts out this great construction site book. 45 magnets are included, and the inside cover has a built-in envelope to store the magnets safely. Each page in the book contains a different scene to set up and create a new construction site! Magnets provide hours of road-trip entertainment!
Pop Up and Lift the Flap Books
These books are full of moving parts, pop-up scenes and 'lift the flap' opportunities. There is so much to look at! Great for children who can't read yet but also super informative for the traveling readers.
The Ultimate Book of Airplanes and Airports
Learn all about airplanes, airports, and the fascinating world of air travel.
• Supersized spreads feature marvelously detailed illustrations.
• 50+ interactive flaps, tabs, and more to keep kids engaged.
The Ultimate Spotlight: Firefighters
Interactive and engaging, Ultimate Spotlight: Firefighters shows young children what firefighters do all day!
- More than 20 interactive and moveable parts to keep kids engaged.
Big Green Garage
Little hands get to work and play in the Big Green Garage by pushing and pulling 15 satisfying novelty elements!
- 15 push-and-pull tabs.
- Satisfying and interactive read-aloud.
Here's our collection of travel games that can only be used on road trips. However, the pink drawing board (bottom right) is something we use often...including restaurants and church!
If you're pulling some long days on the road, consider wrapping a small toy (matchbox cars/lego set, etc.) to take to the hotel room for the children. After a long day of driving, parents are exhausted, and children need to unwind. Hotel rooms don't offer great activities; giving them something new to unwrap and play with as they decompress has been so helpful for us!
Geo Safari Game
We had an older version of this game when I was a child. I had such fond memories that I scoured the internet to find one for my children. Unfortunately, they are no longer made; even the newer version (pictured above) is considered 'vintage.' You can still find these on second-hand sites like eBay and Mercari.
It's a fun knowledge game; I learned much from it as a child. You pick the card that you want to play, place it in the center of the 'laptop,' and questions will light up for you to answer. You can play alone or with another person. I'm really surprised these aren't available new anymore. Perhaps games like this are all on computers nowadays - but I sure love that I could purchase it used for my children!
This game would be great fun for older children while traveling.
One more thing...
You never know when your kiddos will need a break, or you need a dose of sanity. There are cool attractions to stop and see all over the Country! Download the TripAdvisor app when you need a stopping place, punch in 'near me now' attractions. Nearby sites will pop up! You can see the 55' Jolly Green Giant in Blue Earth, Minnesota - the world's largest Holstein cow (12,000 lbs) in New Salem, North Dakota, and so much more. No matter where you are, there are great things to explore and memories to be made!
Don't forget the snacks - lots and lots of snacks!