By: Karen Del Ben
This is the first of a three part series on Travelling With A Toddler
Over the March Break my husband and I decided that we would go on our first family vacation, and in order to save money on airfare driving by car was the only way we were going to go. After deciding and booking our hotel stay at Disney and also making arrangements with family in Florida we slowly started planning for the long road trip with our son who would be one month shy of his second birthday.
Every night for the two months leading up to our trip, I read countless blogs and websites on tips of driving to Disney. I desperately wanted to make our first road trip as smooth as possible, while also saving some money along the way.
There were two things that I did to prepare for this trip that I think are most important to anyone planning a long car ride with children.
First is to purchase or borrow a portable DVD player. We borrowed ours from a family member and it was the best thing we did. My son sat quietly for hours on our trip just watching his shows that we also borrowed from friends and family. The DVD player was a novelty for him since he had never been able to watch TV in the car before, he was completely mesmerized by it. The DVD player was only turned on for the longer portions of our trip such as for driving for several hours rather than driving from the beach back to Grandpa’s house.
The second tip that was worth planning for was an activity bin. I found countless pictures and samples on pinterest with regards to baggie activities. The theory behind baggie activities is to plan to have a bag prepared for each hour of the trip. I used a large freezer bag for each activity, and within it, I would have 1-2 choices, such as a new book and a toy car, something he hadn’t seen before. It sounds like a lot more work that is, but it was totally worth it.
Start looking around your house for different kinds of things your child would like playing with and put them aside. Here is a list of activities that I planned for my son during our trip. He did not get through all of them because he was did watch more TV than I thought he would, but it’s always better be more prepared for the unexpected.
- Sticker book and stickers
- New books saved from Christmas
- Toy cars
- Leap frog tablet
- Link blocks
- Small cake pan with magnetic letters
- Small white board with dry eraser crayons
- Colouring books with crayons
- Popsicle sticks with Velcro
10. Piper cleaners and large beads
11. Flashlight (for night driving)
12. Glow Sticks and glow bugs (for night driving)
14. Lacing cards with shoe laces
15. Jelly window cling-ons
These are just a few of the activities that I had for my little one, but right here on this list is about 15 hours of entertainment depending on your child’s mood. My son did enjoy most of these activities since he was not familiar with any of them. All together our activity bin cost approximately $20. Most of the items were saved from Christmas or borrowed from friends, and anything that was purchased was purchased at the dollar store.
So when you decide that it’s time to try out a road trip, always remember to plan as much as you can. You won’t regret it!
** Join us for Part 2 of Travelling With A Toddler- Getting Your Sillies Out