Going on a road trip with a toddler can be one of the most frazzling experiences ever. Most of the time, your child simply wants to unbuckle and get out of the car seat and the parent just wants to arrive at the final destination.
We have all been in that boat before, and we don’t want it to happen again! With just a little planning ahead, however, car time can be a fun experience and not a nightmare. Here are a few different ways you can keep your child entertained during a long road trip.
Some of us shy away from handing our toddlers electronics, especially for long periods of time. And this is probably the way it should be. It isn’t the best activity to have our toddler’s eyes glued to a screen for hours. But let’s face it, screen time is a great way to keep a young child entertained during long car rides.
Find educational apps that will engage your child’s thinking capacities! You can also download audiobooks or children’s nursery rhymes to listen to in the car. And, honestly, a movie to break up the monotony of the open road will help everyone get along better. Electronics can be a great tool in helping your child (and you!) survive a long trip.
There are dozens of activities that will keep your child entertained and get their creative juices flowing at the same time. Make sure to pack coloring books and crayons. (Markers may not be the best option because they definitely have the potential to end up in the car interior and not on the paper.) If your child is old enough, teach them games like Tic-Tac-Toe, Dots, and Hangman.
Some non-paper games that are easy for children to learn are I Spy, Would You Rather, and Tell Me A Story. “I Spy” entails one person to find an item and describe it using a few adjectives. “Would you rather” is an entertaining game where the parent and child take turns asking questions with two made up scenarios (example: Would you rather eat ice cream with broccoli on top or go to bed an hour early?). “Tell me a story” is an opportunity for your children to finish a story that you started.
You can also bring finger puppets, stuffed animals, or dolls to put on some play rehearsals and be characters in your stories! Other creative activities that will keep a child busy are sticker books, felt picture boards, picture books, and pipe cleaners.
One of the best parts of a road trip is that your children can actually learn during the long drive. Once you plan a couple activities that will keep them occupied and teach them something at the same time, you will always have these activities as options to play for those days you’re stuck in traffic or the next road trip!
One educational activity is mapping out your route. You can give your child a map with your route traced on it. The child can recreate the map on a new piece of paper as you go, learning about the various states/cities that you drive through. This will help the child understand geography at their own level. Depending on the age of your child, you can use car time to teach your child about colors, shapes, the alphabet, etc. Educational coloring pages and flashcards really come in handy since they can be done at any level. Matching tiles is also a great way to help your child learn to recognize similar objects.
These activity ideas are a great start in helping you figure out how to entertain your toddler during a long car ride. Oh the places you’ll go!
Featured image: IG @pursuingpie