Monday, February 07, 2011

Car Rides with the Kiddies!

What to do to keep the troops happy and peace in your heart on those LONG car trips???

We Byrds travel a bunch! Many of these trips it is just me and the kids hitting the open road heading to Grammy's or on some type of adventure. I used to call my old minivan ~ my living room on wheels because many a time I have pulled over in a gas station to breastfeed an infant or walk the dog or set up the mini-training potty in the back of the van on the side of I-95!

When the kids were toddlers I used to hit the Dollar Store buy as much entertaining crap as I could find and WRAP it in wrapping paper! Then as they got fidgety I would dole out one present at a time. I think once upon a time I even wrapped them in SEVERAL layers of paper just because it took longer to open.

I also remember doing lots of stickers and sticker books when they were small. Of course, you run the risk of having stickers all over your car with this tactic. I used to open all the packs ahead of time and would remove the outline of the stickers in advance so that it was easier for their chubby little fingers to manipulate them (also great for their fine motor skills).
Now with their interest in movies and a nicer vehicle with a built in entertainment system rides have certainly gotten easier. I still only pack the LONG movies (over 90min) so we are not switching out DVDs every 30 seconds. I try to hit Target or Blockbuster before a big trip and get some cheap ($4.99 or less) new to them movies. Pack some snacks and instant movie theater!
We LOVE car games! Let's face it our family just LOVES games period! But car games are a great way to laugh and connect with the kids no matter what their age. I downloaded a few new apps on my phone for fun car games (Campfire Games ~ a list of a bunch of fun games that can be played just about anywhere and the License Plate Game~ an electronic checklist version with color photos of the license plates~ are a few of them). Some more of our favorites (non-electronic version)-

Alphabet Game (an oldie but goodie & truth be told Chris and I play this more than they do)

Going on a Picnic (great for those learning the alphabet)

20 Questions (another solid choice)

Virtual Hide & Seek (a great one for restaurants too) - You choose a location that you all know well, could be your home, grammy's or a vacation home then someone chooses a place to hide in their mind AND THEY MAY NOT change the location. Everyone asks yes or no ?'s about their hiding spot until someone guesses it.

2 Truths & a Whopper - someone tells two things that are true about them and one that is made-up in any order then everyone tries to pick out which is the whopper.

Fortunately Unfortunately - A good way to learn the power of positive thinking with this game. One player begins with an unfortunate statement like, "Unfortunately, there is a bat in my hair." The next player has to counter with something more fortunate like, "Fortunately, I brought along bat repellent." Players continue to alternate between unfortunate and fortunate things until you've exhausted a particular topic.

A few store bought games that we love are

Rubber Neckers Jr

Car BINGO - we just leave these cards in our seat pockets and the kids use them even on short trips!

Melissa and Doug have several good car games (hangman, memorytravel bingo & bear hunt to name a few)

Happy Travels!


rose said...

I find the best way to entertain my kids on those long rides is to bring my Ipad. I work for DISH Network and have the TV Everywhere product with them. It's great the kids can watch all their favorite TV shows and anything that we have recorded on our DVR at home. I find this option better than DVD's just for the fact that they have all the TV channels and it gives them a variety of shows.

kara said...

Nice Rosey - I can't wait to experience the peacefulness of a trip like that. I do put on Will I Am on Sesame Street for the baby on my EVO when times get real rough!