Long car rides with seat belts and four point harnesses are a bore! I like to mix it up with entertainment (see our latest list of hits here) and surprises so that the miles don’t morph into who’s touching whom or burping contests.
Here are my three tricks:
New or new-to-us books
For our latest cross-country trek, we happened to be at Target getting underwear (of all things!). On a whim, we passed through the book section and my 6yo cried with delight when he saw the DogMan book he hadn’t read yet. Normally we don’t buy new books, but with a 2,000 mile one-way trip ahead of us we couldn’t pick up library books to take with us.
Each kid picked a book and then we left it on their car seats for our early morning drive. Quietest first hour of driving we’ve EVER had!
TIP: Next time, I’ll definitely hit a used book store or friends of the library sale to save some money – but I think we all know how fun it is to pick out a brand new whatever you want book!
New small LEGO set
As you know, I’m generally against having LEGOs in the car (picked up one too many of those suckers during our Great Car Clean Out last November – you can read about how I’ve waged war on a messy car here). But, on a long (8+ hour) car day, I’m open to anything that will keep kids engaged.
TIP: To successfully put together a small LEGO set without losing pieces. Tear off the top of the box and dump bags into the ‘tray’. Easy peasy lemon squeezie.
Mile Marker celebrations
When we started our trip back east from California, we all enjoyed a piece of candy whenever we crossed a state border. Having that tiny celebration turned into a great learning tool – we would consult the atlas to see when the next border would come, we would compare states to see how long it would be. (We also we commiserated with each other when we ended up missing Tennessee altogether when Google Maps rerouted us south to miss Memphis traffic.)
What tricks do you keep up your sleeve for long travel days?