Saturday, March 15, 2014

Road Trip With A Toddler

At the end of August my son, my pup and I took a super long 1,288 mile road trip from Colorado to Oregon. I was pretty nervous because I had never done the drive by myself and because I was going to have to keep my very active, very hyper toddler strapped in his car seat for about two days straight. I jam packed the back seat of the car with everything I could think of to keep him entertained and happy. The trip went amazingly well and it ended up being a lot of fun, my son was so great and stayed pretty busy the whole time by exploring everything I had brought for him.

Since its Spring Break time I thought it might be helpful to post the tips and tricks I used to survive a long road trip with my toddler, just in case any of you are planning on doing the same thing.

Fun Interactive Map
 I made this map out of the top of a pizza box so my son could keep track of where we were. I made a little car that looked like ours and glued a magnet to the back of it. I put another magnet on the back side of the map to keep the car attached to the map while keeping it mobile so we would be able to move the car along the line of our route as we reached the towns that I had written on the map. He loved it and it was an amazing visual aid!

Box Full Of Goodies
This box was full of my sons toys and gadgets, I placed it on the seat next to his car seat so he could go through it and pick out what he wanted to play with.
A better look at what was in the box. 
 *A Crayola Mess Free Color Wonder coloring book with markers that can only color in the book. I didn't have to worry one bit about him marking up the back seat.  
*A LeapReader Jr and a few LeapReader Jr books. The LeaspReader Jr read to him while he followed along which he really enjoyed.  
*My iPad which I had filled with new games and some of his favorite shows and movies. 
*Head phones, that way he could listen to his movies and shows in peace. I had my music on pretty 
much the whole time to keep myself entertained!  
*I put a huge amount of my sons toys, old and new, in the box to keep him busy. 
*Our portable DVD player and a bunch of my sons DVDs. This was one of the things that kept him the most entertained.  
*A pail of Play-Doh for him to create fun things with. 
*To keep the Play-Doh in one place I packed a small cookie baking sheet that I bought from The Dollar Tree. It sat perfectly on his lap and made a perfect little table.

 Tummy Fillers
There was another box on the floor which was full of snacks, and next to this was a mini cooler full of juice and water. 
I didn't want to have to stop every time either of us got hungry or thirsty, our two day road trip would of been even longer if I would of done this, so these boxes really came in handy.

For Comfort
To keep the sun out of my sons eyes and to keep the car a bit cooler I bought two window shades on sale at Target for $2 each. I used them on the two back windows and they worked really well, I still use them today.

I also packed his pillow and a small warm blanket.

 Keeping Clean
I had anti bacterial hand gel and some wet wipes in the door for when my sons hands and face got dirty.
 I also had this little makeshift garbage can on the passenger floor in an attempt to keep the car clean. I would dump it out at the rest stops or gas stations that we stopped at as needed. It is a large plastic pitcher and a small garbage bag from The Dollar Tree.

Do Not Forget!
The car chargers to all the electronics you are bringing. These were my life savers on the trip!

A Couple Extra Tips
 Don't rush! 
Its so much less stressful if you just take your time!

Take breaks!
Every time we stopped to get gas or use the rest stop I had my son run around and play with our dog for a bit. It gave both of them a bit of exercise and gave both their little butts a break.  

Bring Some Books On CDs!
My mom came with me on the road trip back to Colorado and we passed the time by listening to some books on CD. The trip felt like it flew by because we were both so into the stories.

Have Fun!
Play I Spy or the Alphabet Game. This will keep you all entertained, the trip will feel like its going by faster and I'm sure it will put a smile on all your faces and bring you a bit closer together as a family. I know it did for my son and I! 

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