or alternatively titled – activities for road tripping with toddlers without using screens
It’s summer time! Which for those of us who are moms with toddlers this means splash pads, popsicles, trying to remember which kid we just put sunscreen on and running around. It also likely means traveling. Are you planning to go road tripping with your littles this summer? Are you excited or dreading it? And not sure just what you will do to keep them busy?
Do you try to keep your children as screen free as possible? For multiple reasons we have found keeping screen time very low or not at all while traveling helps everyone’s mood. Due to some sensory issues screens can heighten those issues making more challenges. If things are just super long and we need something at the end we might pull it out but I’ve found not allowing it as an option helps us to keep it a non-option. We just recently did two major road trips so here are a few things we did to occupy the kids on the thousands of miles we drove.
this post does contain some affiliate links – thank you!
Listening to music (make a play list of your kids favorite songs and download it so if you lose service you still have it!), listening to audio stories/books (James Herriot, Paddington and Audio Theater the are some of our favorites) and audio books. My oldest is just starting to really get into audio books but I’ve found with us all listening to one even my little one likes hearing the stories.
Snacks of all kinds. and more snacks. I try to pick some different stuff then they usually have to make it a bit more fun.
One thing we’ve found handy is given out the toys/books/snacks in different segments. Say in 1 hr / 30 minutes / 10 minutes you will get this. It’s a great motivator plus adds excitement. I never let my girls see their snacks or toys for the trip.
Here are several of the toys that we used…. The great thing about these are they can be used over and over again. And are quite practical for other times when they need to keep quiet and occupied. 😉
first off – go shopping at Dollar Tree! You can get a bunch of little prizes for a decent price. All of this stuff you can throw away after the trip and not feel bad cause it was just from Dollar Tree. 🙂 Be creative and think out of the box.
Fidget Cube – this was a huge hit. It was nice to have these fidget toys all together in a way both my 2 year old and 5 year old could interact with it. My one complaint was one of the toys came off. It’s also unfinished wood so I wouldn’t give it to real little kids. I do think I would probably get this one if I know my kids will be chewing on it.
Busy Book – again another great thing to keep focused and work on skills.
Magnet Dolls – my girls love the Melissa and Doug magnet dolls. It is a lot of little pieces so we just kept them in a bag but some people might not want to deal with that. these tins are also great but are harder to handle so definitely
Reusable Sticker Books – these are more for the 4+ age but they can keep your kids occupied a long time.
No – mess Markers & paper – they don’t stain clothes, or skin or anything else your child might want to draw on. (I mean I’m sure no one else’s kids do that! ha ha!)
LED drawing boards – A favorite of ours for use in church, in the car, at a meeting. They are pretty much always in my backpack.
Water-Wow – you can get lots of different brands and these are a quick way to keep kids busy.
Amber book light – my five year doesn’t always like the dark so this is a nice way to give her some light without it distracting the driver.
Fidget Toys – I will pull these out here and there.
This was one resource I didn’t have along but I think it looks super fun and can be used lots of different ways for many ages.
Other things I did was picked up cheap stickers and notebooks from Walmart and Hobby Lobby.
Are you traveling with your toddlers this summer? I’d love to hear your ideas of how to make riding all those miles a happy experience for your family!
And if you have family road tripping to your place maybe consider getting a family photo session done while they are around to capture the memories. 😉