Surviving long road trips with 5y/o's
So we are about to embark on a 1000+ mile road trip (each way!) with the boys. We haven’t taken a real road trip with them since they were 2.5 and they used to do TERRIBLE on road trips … which is part of the reason we haven’t done one in a few years! Any tips? We have some kids’ CDs to listen to, portable DVD player, coloring and sticker books, a few new paperback kids’ books for them to look through, snacks … any other ideas for this age?
IngaParticipant9 months ago
This summer, Ethan went on his first road trip (although, it was only 4-5 hours). I bought a few new toys for the road trip and I’d bring out one new item every so often to make his interest last longer. His favorites were Cars Squinkies (also the Cars Busy Book cars get a lot of use), Travel Zingo, and a Melissa and Doug reusable sticker book with lots of vehicles. I’ve also heard a cookie sheet w/ an edge to contain items works well for a play surface or for magnets.
Good luck on your trip!
Good ideas, thanks!
Oh and before I get ahead of myself, they aren’t technically 5 yet; turning 5 in les than a month and I’m trying to get used to the idea.
lilybellParticipant9 months ago
DRIVE AT NIGHT. As much as possible. That’s always what my parent’s did. We’d leave at like 9 o’clock at night and if it was like a six hour my dad would nap from likw 8pm-11pm and then drive until we got there. I don’t know how long time wise your drive is but I HIGHLY recommend driving at night.
yellowwattsParticipant9 months ago
Snacks snacks and more snacks! That’s what keeps my kids entertained the most!
Maybe also magna doodles for them to draw on??
embraParticipant9 months ago
A few ideas that don’t require props: My daughter really likes alphabet game type things like, “We are going to the grocery store. We’ll buy something that starts with an A. What will you buy?” etc. through the alphabet. She also gets a kick out of I spy, where I describe the thing a bit (it is large and purple or whatever) and she tries to guess what it is. Another one is opposites where I will point at something and say real, and she tells me what it really is (like up or down) and then after a few times I say opposite and when I point up she has to say down etc. and we switch back and forth. She thinks doing boy vs girl is particularly funny.
Wikisticks or pipecleaners can also be fun to create small sculptures or 3d pictures.
gaamyParticipant9 months ago
we road trip ALOT and we have found that the best thing for little spirits is to stop often and stop long, unfortunately this makes it take alot longer but it’s better than shorter with a grumpy kid. if she’s awake we stop about every two hours and for no less than 15- 20 minutes a stop. and since we’re stopping so much we can ply her with food and drink to keep her happy.
for future trips, plan as far in advance as possible and fly. it’s expensive, yes, but if you give yourself enough time and save it’s totally doable and omg is it totally worth it. my parents live a mind numbing 12 hrs away (which with the kid is more like 15) over the summer i went with the girls and we flew. from the time we left the house to the time we arrived was a mere 5 hours, only 3 and a half of which were spent on the plane. on the return trip we got stuck in nashville for 3 hrs and didnt get home till 3 am and i STILL would rather do that than drive.
MomkeyParticipant9 months ago
My daughter can play for hours on her IPad in the car (she is 5), and like Gaamy said, stop frequently! Even if it is just to walk around a little, or for a bathroom break!
MagsterKeymaster9 months ago
I’ll second driving at night! Also, Redbox movies they haven’t seen are great, because they’re cheap and you can return them wherever you’re going.
Thanks so much for the suggestions!
NMteacherParticipant9 months ago
When we went to Texas with the girls last summer, we borrowed a DVD player, which was just a huge blessing, and I would not have wanted to try without it. Had lots of snacks available. I kept a bag up front with things they could switch out, so the clutter was somewhat controlled: coloring things, those little books that they color by filling the pens with water, so it can be reused, regular books, little toys, 1 stuffed animal and blanket per, CDs. You might try having a little schedule of activities planned to give them something to look forward to/mark time with, and help break up the time so it doesn’t seem interminable: movie time, song time, book time, coloring time, read aloud time, nap time, snack time, lunch time, free play time, potty break/wiggle time, car game time (I bet they could do I Spy, My Father Owns a Store, Guess Who, count the (insert color) cars and things like that). You might try pumping them up with things like, “Now that you’re almost 5 years old, you’re big enough to learn some car games.” You could also start teaching them some map skills, talking about the states and cities you’ll be coming to next and making a big deal out of it when you cross a state line or the Mississippi River, etc. You could teach them a song like America the Beautiful, and then have them be on the lookout for mountains (such as you may find in that part of the country), plains, fields. You could try to think of family stories to tell them, especially about the family they will be visiting. I think it could be a great family bonding experience.
gaamyParticipant9 months ago
i almost forgot!
whenever we road trip i carry what has come to be known as the front seat bag. it’s a huge purse full of things that if they are needed you dont want to have to dig for. i used to keep changes of clothes for her but now i have a suit case on top w/all that in it. i usually carry 1-2 bottles of water, wipes, bandaids, any meds anyone might need, toliet paper (yes, toliet paper, i cant tell you how many times i’ve walked into a roadside bathroom that didnt have toliet paper on a roll. i wont use it if it’s just sitting out somewhere) paper towels, hand sanitizer, and extra set or two of head phones, small chargers a few empty plastic grocery bads and cloth rags. the rags are for clean up of anything catastophic like vomit or a melted choclate bar. all the paper towles in the world arent going to help that. the dollar store usually has cheap rags you wont be too upset if you have to throw them away.
also make sure you bring towels/ blankets to cover the windows if you travel during the day just in case they sun bothers them.
jasonlovessaraParticipant9 months ago
ear plugs …. for you
Awesome suggestions, thank you!
I also bought two soft activity/snack trays that will go over their booster seats to make the coloring and such easier. Hoping those will be hits. Loaded up with color wonder stuff, regular coloring books, dry erase preschool workbooks, stickers, CDs, DVDs, and lots of great game ideas and snacks!
yellowwattsParticipant9 months ago
Sounds like you are prepared!