Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Call for ideas

We are going on a very long car trip next month...8hrs at least each way.

Please give me your best car survival tips. (we are not bringing a DVD player with us)



Jason said...

We drove, over the span of two days, to South Carolina with our 5-year-old. The best advice I can offer are these 3 tips:

1) Plan stops to get out of the car and do something. Even if it's just walking around for 10 minutes after eating lunch, it helps to break up the trip.

2) Either find something to listen to that everyone can enjoy, or make sure everyone has their own activity to entertain themselves.

3) Try as hard as you can to let things go. Things will happen that make people upset, maybe you'll take a wrong turn, maybe you'll get caught in traffic. Let it go... turn it into a positive. As dopey as it sounds, it made a big difference.

Hope it goes well!

Anonymous said...

One of our all-time favorite things to do on long car trips is... State Line prizes.

I buy inexpensive little treats for my kids (at garage sales, dollar stores, etc). Some food treats, decks of cards, bubbles, anything that they like that doesn't cost too much. Then, as we pass the "welcome to..." sign of the new state, they get a prize.

Depending on the ages of the kids, we also sometimes stop at each of the welcome signs, make everyone get out and take a picture of the kids in front of the sign.

Very corny, but it gets us all out of the car!

We also rent books on CD. When we were traveling between the east coast and the midwest at least once a year, books on cd were a lifesaver. My daughter still loves to listen to Neil Gaimon read "Coraline." The American Girl stories are really good, Harry Potter of course, Magic Tree House. The library has lots to choose from!

Good Luck,

just a lurker

Anonymous said...

Pipe cleaners are great for car trips. You can do simple arts and crafts, bug your siblings, or have geometry contests. Who can make a triangle (stuff like that).

Just accept the trip won't go as planned and let them take as long as they need at stops. It won't make much of a difference in your travel time, but it will make a huge difference in how well the kids do on the trip.

Have fun! Even if the trip seems like a disaster they may look back on it as one of the best trips of their lives. My parents dragged me through ever major civil war battle field one month when I was 12. My sister was 18 months old and I was miserable for most of the trip. I look back on it now as one of the most interesting things I've ever done.

gwenna said...

Good for you for not taking a DVD player!! I'm resisting that as well even though hubby would like one in the car.

We took lots of long car trips as a child. I remember singing songs, listening to book son tape, playing car games like the license plate game where we write down as many different states that we see and BINGO with things you might see on the trip and I SPY. I read a lot on trips. One mom told me about the new toy/treat idea but she did every hour and called it the brown paper bag gift or something b/c she would have them in, obviously, brown paper bags. We could always bring things to entertain ourselves but they had to fit in a backpack that we were able to carry ourselves. Hope you guys have a great time!!

Leeanthro said...

We like to take the travel magna doodle (take one for each) and new books.

Also consider taking a few cookie sheets and magnetic letters/numbers, magnetic dress ups, magnets the shapes of the states you will pass through.

Take lots of snacks.

And if you have a young child, take a training potty with you. I don't know how many times my preschooler has had to go potty *right now* when we've been miles from the closet town.

Misc said...

Books, books and more books.

Art supplies (plain drawing paper and crayons/colored pencils).

We do the state line prizes, too.

Misc said...

Books, books and more books.

Art supplies (plain drawing paper and crayons/colored pencils).

We do the state line prizes, too.

Erika said...

Hi Jen,
SO--- my dear friend and colleague, Michelle, has "projects" that she travels with for her 2 and 14 year olds. She goes to Hobby lobby and buys one dollar lunch boxes and fills them with random stuff: There's the gluing project, the cutting project, the magnet project, the sticker project, the gum project (cheap packs of gum inside that the kids and chew and then stick all over inside the box). the fun is in the "do you need a new project?" and a new colorful box comes out. When done playing, all the kit stuff goes back to where it belongs. I just traveled for a week with her and her two year and I can't tell you what a great idea it was! Be safe!

Anonymous said...

Take a look at the book Carschooling. Lots of fun educational games.

Jenna said...

Thanks everyone for all the ideas...keep em coming!

I will note that we are only passing 1 state line...

Gwenna said...

I have to say I love Crayola Color Wonder stuff b/c I'm not worried what else will get colored in the process. Might be a good car thing too.

Jeanne said...

Here's what worked for your largest child when he was a kid. David and his sister would each get an activity bag to pack car trip activities of their choosing that we would purchase together, but not open until the trip. Colorforms on car windows were a big they even make them anymore? coloring books, sewing kits, anything they can do sitting in one place. even playdough on a lap tray works. We loved story tapes from the library that the whole family could enjoy... or personal tape recorders (with headphones) since your age range is huge. A bag of new library books for each are also good...once again, chosen but not looked at in advance.
And a frisbie (soft kind) for rest stop exercise. Jump rope for Maddi?
David was an excellent car tripper. I hope that is still true. :-)
Oh..and singalongs, of course.