Raising a Blended Family

Toddler in a Car: Purchased Sanity-Savers (Part 2)

on March 9, 2015

Edit: so, this post had a part one to it but WordPress seriously ate it. It’s just- poof- gone! Instead of retyping my entire post, I will quickly tell you the good, the bad, and the ugly:

We’re going to disney world next weekend.

We’re driving.

It’s 13 hours.

And strapping the children to the top of the car is not an option.

SO, now that we’ve established the facts , this post is about trip preparation, round one. We’ve made things, we’ve bought things, we’re making trip decisions… But this post is about the things we’ve thus far bought to keep our kids entertained in the car!

Item number one is this travel tray from Amazon. One of the first things we realized is that if the toddler doesn’t have a surface to play ON, it’s going to make playING a lot more difficult, which in turn makes our entire car trip a lot more difficult. So, we invested in one of these. They clip around the toddler’s waist to stay secure while in use. They have great reviews, they’re made out of soft foam so they won’t hurt them in an accident, and they seem sturdy enough to support basic eating and playing functions. We’ll let you know how it went after the trip but I’m excited to have it to use!

snack play tray

Along the same lines of functionality, we also bought a few of these:

sippy grip

I know, I KNOW, we’re probably the last parents-of-small-children of EARTH who do not own one of these yet. I honestly don’t know what we were thinking, especially since a favorite toddler game around here (especially while in the car) is “throw the sippy cup, cry for the sippy cup.”  which then morphs into “scream for the sippy cup when moms refuse to pick it up anymore.” Holy crazy-making batman. I am 100% sure that this device is going to save us during this car trip. Does it make me a little evil that I can’t wait to see the look on littleman’s face when he tries to throw his sippy cup down and realizes… he can’t? Muahahahaha. Gotcha now, sucka!

…Ahem. Sorry. Regular-me is back now.

Anyways, another amazing purchase is something I found on another fellow mom blog. A simple yet genius idea, it involves using a shower caddy ($1 at dollar tree or target) to dole out fast food meals/snacks in order to prevent spillage, droppage, and the like. We have already tested it out and it works wonders! It’s so much easier for the kids to hold onto and keep their meals organized when they have them in these plastic bins. Less spillage, less droppage, less mess overall… they’re awesome! These are now a mainstay of my car and will be used not only on this trip but for many trips to come.

road trip snacker

So, besides the dual screen DVD player we bought, that’s pretty much it for the “functionality” purchases. Now, onto the toys. We tried not to buy too many because we already have a TON of toys at home and because we knew we would be making some DIY-car activities as well; however, I am not unaware of the magical abilities of a new toy to spruce up a sulky toddler and so we did make a few small purchases.

Item number one was an impulse-buy from Target, and since I saw that it was on clearance I figured, why not:

crayola dry erase

Reviews for it are so so and I have my doubts, but I’m sure it will be good for a little bit of entertainment, at least. It also has the added benefit of appealing both to my toddler and to my nine-year-old, so it will get good use, I’m sure. And if it doesn’t… it was cheap.

Item #2 I’m much more enthusiastic about, at least where my son is concerned. I KNOW he will have a blast with it:


An Aquadoodle! This particular version is the travel version, but they come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Pax loves to color (preferably on walls, it seems), and this will let him do so (on an approved surface!) with zero mess involved. All you need is water! Amazing.

I also found these cool lacing cards that are, bonus points, Disney themed.

mickey lacing cards

I might have to show him how to start them since he’s never done it before but once he gets the hang of it I think it will keep his attention and concentration for a good long while. They are made by Melissa and Doug- I am a huge fan of their toys and this one does not look like it will disappoint. Thing One might be interested in these as well.

The rest of the things we bought were little things- dollar station finds. Silly glasses, light up balls, sitckers, etc… We plan to individually wrap these and give them out as “gifts” every so often as needed for bored kids. Half the fun will be for them to unwrap their “gifts” and it will take them longer as well to get to the toy which will make the entertainment time of each toy go up. All good things!

So, this is the end of part 2 for how to keep a toddler entertained on a road trip! Stay tuned for part three, which is all the silly things we’ve made so far and things we plan on making to entertain the kidlets.


2 responses to “Toddler in a Car: Purchased Sanity-Savers (Part 2)

  1. We haven’t done 13 hours in a car, but we did a 7 hour car trip this summer (Z was 19 months at the time). We found that taking a break at a local park to run every 2-3 hours really helped. Whenever we were ready for a break I’d look up the nearest town on my smartphone, find a place to eat, and then look for the local park. Z thought that trying out lots of different climbing structures was a real treat. This added time to the trip, but I after a bit of a run he was ready to be back in the car each time. Hooray!

    We’ve also found that the one spot at T.arget sells these great “coloring books” that have a little no mess pen that magically makes the paper change colors. Z has used the heck out of them on long(ish) car rides. They are Disney themed which might really suit this particular trip. We are also not above offering episodes of Mickey Mouse Club.house x1,000,000 and did that at the end of our return trip this summer! Z was so ready to be home that he couldn’t stand it.

    Finally, my Mom used to pack all 3 of us kids in a car and road trip us from CT to the Midwest to visit family each summer (before the era of traveling videos). We are all awesome travelers as a result. She used the trick of buying new toys to pull out when we started to get whiny and tired of the road. We also went to the library and chose audiobooks we all liked and individual books we were excited to read. I think that traveling well is a great skill to learn and your kids will benefit from it – even if the early learning really sucks.

    We took Z to Dis.ney when he was 23months (October of this past year). He LOVED every minute of it. I would do it again in a heartbeat. Watching a little person explore is one of the best things I’ve ever experienced. He loved finding hidden Mickeys and riding the Dumbo ride (among others). I hope you have an amazing time.

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