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There is something about road trips that makes my heart happy. Airports stress me out and although flying is usually a thousand times faster, I would rather be spending that time in the car with my family, and enjoying their company. You get to see places you would normally never see and make memories you and your kids will remember forever.
We took a road trip to The Smoky Mountains last month and everyday I wish we were back there. It was supposed to be a 10 hour drive that took us about 14-15 hours, and even with 3 kids and 3 adults crammed into one car, we all had a blast. Older kids are a bit easier on road trips, but my three year old needs a lot entertaining. Here are my favorite things to bring along for long car rides:
- Surprise Eggs- What kid doesn’t love surprise eggs? I make my own with plastic easter eggs and get a bunch of new toys/stickers/snacks/anything small that can fit inside. I let my three year old open them whenever she is really bored or about to have a meltdown. Total lifesaver. I bring these on long flights and long car rides and sometimes Ill even wrap the eggs in tissue paper so they are like little presents and always such a huge hit.
- Building Blocks- They sell the smaller sets for about 5$ and you can throw them inside of a 1$ pencil box or tupperware so they can build them and keep them all in one place. No missing pieces and they take quite a while to build.
- Coloring books- This is always my first thing that I pack. New coloring books and new markers/crayons. My toddler will color for hours and this is perfect for traveling during the daytime. They also sell those magic coloring books that are no mess too which is even better for kids who like to color everywhere else besides the coloring book.
- Road Trip Scavenger Hunt- Depending on where your route takes you, you could hunt for every fast food restaurant, license plates from every state, every color of car or truck, the possibilities are endless. We have fun with it and I like to mix it up and look for random things like people wearing hats, cars with the windows down, etc.
- I-Spy bags or bottles- I have made these a few times and the best part is that you can use them over and over. Fill a large plastic bag or watter bottle (Voss bottles are perfect for this) with rice and then a bunch of small toys. Then your child will have fun shaking and mushing their way around to find each object. Instead of rice you could also fill the bottle up with water, glitter, and small toys. Just make sure you tape the lid on!
- Tablet- No brainer. Just DON’T FORGET THE CORD. I download a bunch of new apps and movies right before long trips and try and save the tablet until it gets dark out. That way they don’t spend all day on it and get bored at night when every other activity is just not doable without light.
- Educational activities with do-a-dots– This one depends on how much you trust your toddler. Mine is very neat and clean and hates being messy, so I trust her enough right now to not paint dots all over my backseat. I like to print out a bunch of letters from the internet and have her trace them with the dot markers.
- New books- I save these for when I’m getting a little bored myself and actually have the energy to read books. I try to buy them used so I can get them in bulk and don’t have to worry about spending too much money.
- Lacing Cards– We just started using these and they are GREAT for hand-eye coordination. They don’t keep my toddler busy for too long but they are worth a shot and any time she is kept happy while learning, is worth it to me.
- Magnets- I haven’t tried this one myself yet but I have lots of friends who bring along cookie baking sheets and alphabet/character magnets and have had success with it. What kid doesn’t love magnets? And you can print out coloring sheets and keep them secured to the baking sheet with the magnets. Win win.
- Snacks- Snacks are a must. I bought a big bead organizer a few years ago, and I store all kinds of different snacks inside each compartment. It makes eating more fun for them and becomes a little activity in itself.
- Paint bags- We used to do these at home so much that they became a staple when traveling too. You take a gallon sized Ziploc bag, or you could do smaller bags too, and fill them with different colors of paint. Then tape the opening shut REALLY WELL, and let your kids “finger paint” without the mess. This would be great to tape to a cookie sheet as well so they have a hard service to “paint” on.
- Would You Rather- We like to play “would you rather” based around the trip we are taking. For example, on this trip we would ask questions like, “Would you rather climb on top of a mountain or go into a cave underneath it?” When we go to Disney World I ask questions like, “Would you rather shoot Merida’s bow and arrow, or wear Cinderella’s glass slippers?” There are SO many cute ideas online for this one and so many things you can make up on the spot. It gets your kids excited about the trip too!
- Sticker books- I like to try to get the educational ones so my three year old gets some learning in as well. The reusable sticker books are the best so you have something for them to use on the way home too.
- Dry erase books- They even make little dry erase cards too if you want something more compact.
Before our trip, I took our car to Walmart to get the oil changed and the tires ready to go. I am all about safety, especially when driving so I like to get everything checked out on the car before longer drives. Walmart’s Automotive Care Center had their Pennzoil Platinum® Full Synthetic motor oil with PurePlus™ Technology on Rollback so it was only $44.88 and fit right in with my budget. This deal is running through December 27, 2016. Whats’ great is I had to run to Walmart anyway to get all of our snacks and things for the kids to do on the long drive. Everything in my list above can also be found at Walmart, score!
Walmart Automotive Care Centers in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Tennessee are now able to benefit from oil changes with Pennzoil® Platinum Full Synthetic too. I was so excited to see that it was at our local Walmart since full synthetic oil performs much better in both hot and cold temperatures, so it was perfect for our trip from Florida to Tennessee! Pennzoil Platinum® Full Synthetic motor oil with PurePlus™ Technology even keeps pistons up to 20% cleaner and keeps your engine cleaner than any other leading synthetic oil. Be sure to stop by your local Walmart auto care center and don’t miss out on this great deal ($49.88 on Rollback to $44.88) through December 27, 2016. Find your local automotive care center here.