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20 Toddler Activities For Long Road Trips

We are heading on a long road trip to Maine and I thought I’d update this old post with toddler friendly activities for the car. While I’m all for using the iPad to watch movies and shows on long road trips I definietly don’t want Piper glued to a screen for 15 hours. Many of these work for airplanes, and going out to eat too! Remember to save some of these activities for your way home so you still have some “new” tricks up your sleeve! Also THESE are the packing cubes I posted about!!!

Mini Coloring Boxes– Use an empty first aid kit box ($1 in the travel section at Target) and attach a new square size post it with hot glue or double stick foam tape to the back and stick a few crayons in. It’s the perfect size to hold everything and you can toss it in your purse for when you eat out, too. Just don’t leave the crayons in a hot car! Got the idea here.

Popsicle Stick Puzzles- This genius idea could not be easier and will keep toddlers entertained for a while! Use it on a small cookie sheet and the fridge after you travel! See how to make it in this post!

Popsicle Sticks With Velcro– Add velcro dots to the back of colored popsicle sticks and let your child create different shapes. Will be fun to use out of the car too, be sure to pack in a small box to keep everything together.

Magnetic Puzzles – Pick up a few new puzzles and stick on adhesive magnetic dots to the back  and stick it on a cookie sheet.

Clipboard Coloring– Attach sheets from coloring books to a clipboard to allow your little one a better coloring experience on the go!

Lego Boxes – Can’t wait to see how these little lego boxes go – I got everything at the dollar store and the idea here.

Sticker Matching–  This could not be easier to make before you leave, just clip your sticker sheets to a clipboard with a crayon or colored pencil and let your little one practice fine motor skills +  development. Got the idea here.

Snack Boxes– Fill up tackle or craft boxes (I found for $3 at Michael’s) with various snacks. Not sure how our 3 year old will do with these and spilling so we may let her pick her snack from each section and put in a spill proof cup for eating.

Truck Spotting- Piper is really into looking out the window now that her car seat is turned around– though it may be better for 3-4 year olds and up – you could make a simplified version for younger kids. Idea found here.

Water PaintingWater Wow books from Melissa & Doug are a lifesaver as are their Paint With Water coloring pads – simply put a little bit of water in a cup in your child’s cupholder on their car seat and let them go to town (use a clip board)!

Window Clings – These won’t work for children sitting in the middle seat too well but older ones may enjoy sticking window clings to the windows.

Discovery Boxes – Every few hours give your child a new box or bag full of discovery items — this can be anything from kitchen utensils to small toys, the name of the game is offering them items they haven’t played with before or in a while.

Spools of ribbon or crepe paper – This kept Piper busy during our last road trip, she enjoyed unrolling spools of ribbon, and then I would just roll them back up for her, over and over and over….

Play kids music– Have your child’s favorite tunes cued up — they almost always calm Piper down and she has fun singing along to familiar music.

Stickers- No-fail and always on hand. I cut up some new sticker strips and put them in a little coupon organizer I got at the Dollar Store to make them a bit more exciting for Piper.

Magnet or felt board – I’m hoping these entertain Piper… here is a great post on how to make a magnet board and here’s one for a felt board – I’m going to make mine with cardboard in a smaller size.

New books – Head to the library before your trip to surprise your little one with plenty of new books!

Busy Wallet– I’m so excited to make this for Piper and give it to her during our trip, I read about it here. She loves to take my wallet out of my purse and pull it apart. I can’t wait to give her one to play with in the car!

Mini Post Its – We’ve used these on the airplane before with success — simply let your kid go to town with post it’s – sticking them on the back of the seat, a book or peeling ones off that you’ve stuck.

iPad – When all else fails I’m not above resorting to the iPad. We have two games we let her play in the car (Fisher Price farm animals & shapes) and we’ll also download some Pixar Shorts and episodes of Sesame Street. Piper’s usually not too interested in really watching long but it does help calm her down if she’s really upset.

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  1. Suzanne Eden

    August 5th, 2018 at 5:35 pm

    Just got around to reading this and you have some great ideas in here. Can’t wait to try!