On our most recent trip to Florida, I made sure to pack plenty of car-friendly activities for the kids. I like to break up long road trips into segments of time, where the kids focus on 1 activity for a specified amount of time.
Here is an example of how we might break up the time:
- 1 hour – crafts/games
- 2 hours – movie
- 1 hour – tablet time
This helps break up the time and keeps the kids from getting bored with 1 specific task. We don’t always stick to a strict schedule but I like to break up the monotony of the long drive.
Before we left I went to the dollar store and the dollar spot at Target to pick up some inexpensive projects for the kids to do in the car or while we were away.
Here’s an example of what I got:
4 sticker activity books (1 for each kid)
3 play packs for the younger kids
Magic trick for the oldest
Say it Again Game
Tonka truck coloring
3 Mickey Velvet Art poster
Glow in the Dark Bracelets
5 grade/age-appropriate workbooks (easy math and spelling)
PlayPad (with word jumbles, mazes, puzzles, and more)
3 finger puppets
3 magic paint posters
All of these items cost me less than $25. Add in some pencils, a pencil sharpener, and some crayons in a small pencil pouch, and the kids were entertained for hours.
I think the most popular items were the sticker activity books, the magic trick, and silly putty. The kids loved all of the activities, and they spent about an hour each car ride doing a workbook, craft, or another project. The only things they didn’t play with in the car were the magic paint posters; they played with those at our rental house, but it was nice to have them on our trip.
My oldest, Jude, also brought along a book to read as he wasn’t interested in some of the little kid projects. The kids also brought action figures and other little toys to play with in the car. All of the creative play made for a nice trip with fewer screens. Overall, they only spent about 1 hour playing on their tablets in the car, and we only watched one movie per day; the rest of the time, they were doing crafts, coloring, or playing together.