In case you didn’t know, we never leave home. Ever. We are home-steaders, after all. But we do love to travel once in a while and decided when our eldest was about 3 and obsessed with all things Disney, we would take her, and any future children, to Disneyland when they were 5. That seemed like a decent plan.
This will be our second go round with the Happiest Place on Earth, made just slightly more complicated by adding a third human and the expense of air fair for 4 humans and a baby to fly half a state away. I’ll get to the point. We’re driving. And because we are driving, and the 19 year old in me loves a good road trip, and the ocean, and is all nostalgic over the years I spent on the Cali coast….we are including an extra 4 day extension to drive up HWY 1 along the California Coast. Whoopie!!
With Spring and Summer right around the corner, many of you may also be making plans for a vacation with your little ones and, whether flying or driving, I think this post will include some ideas you can utilize to make this your best summer vacation yet!
Come On, Come On, Come On….Let’s go!
Our 8 day road trip is just over a week away!! Time is flying by and I am sure glad I started prepping for this trip a month ago. Lesson to the wise, it is never too early to start planning! Especially when kids are involved! I have a smorgasbord of ideas and plans to make this the best trip ever, which is not an easy task to pull off considering the ages of my kiddos; 9, 5, and almost 2! Yes. You read that correctly. Almost. Two. 8 day road trip. Almost 2. I know, it sounds crazy…but it’s going to be awesome! Here are a few things I have planned to make sure everyone is having fun (okay fine! to make sure everyone is distracted enough that the baby screaming in the car won’t even phase them!). You. Don’t. Even. Know. But you will! Read on….
All Star Road Trip Activity Line Up
Individual Travel Binders – these are stuffed full of “all the things” my girls love to do. Drawing, coloring pages, dot to dot, mazes, tic tac toe, a USA states map to color as we see license plates from each state – you name it, it’s in there! I also hole punched a bunch of the magazines they got for Christmas (9 year old – Nature Friends, National Geographics for Kids; 5 year old – High Five, National Geographics for Little Kids), a cute little activity book, with stickers, and a pencil bag with sharpened pencils, erasers, and a pencil sharpener.
Lego Boxes – I am pretty excited about these! I printed out a bunch of lego patterns for each older girl and put together these really great patterns for them to follow. They both love legos and I love sneaking math into road trip time so….win win!! But seriously, how cute are these?! And they fit perfectly into a basic pencil box. Loooove them! And my kids will to 🙂
Small Cookie Sheet – We’re talking the .88 cookie sheets at Walmart here. They need to be small enough to fit in their laps, but large enough that a piece of paper and some colored pencils will sit nicely inside of it. This one from WalMart works perfectly (side note: I feel like I have been conditioned to hate WalMart…yet love Amazon! What the heck? What is actually the difference…?Comment below to clue me in) Uses for this cookie sheet will be many!
- Magnetic Puzzles
- coloring or drawing
- eating food
- playing with legos
- basically anything they might need a hard surface for!
Magnetic Puzzles! – We are a family of introverts, okay? And introverts LOVE their puzzles. And books. And basically being anywhere extroverts are not (okay, that was a joke – probably a bad one!). The girls got a few miniature puzzles in their stockings this past Christmas, so I stuck magnets to the backs of them and bam! magnetic puzzle! I had a little too much fun putting this one together for the picture, I’ll admit it. And of course, we’re working on learning continents and oceans in school soo…. #shamelesshomeschoolplug
Zipper Pouches – I bought these great zipper pouches to fill with fun little things to entertain the kids and these were actually great to stuff for the toddler as well (who was the most difficult to prepare “things” for this trip!) Here are the things I came up with to fill my bags’
- Little finger puppets and wooden fairies! The littlest actually loves these! She got them in her stocking and when I saw how much she loved them, I snagged them for these bags so she wouldn’t get sick of them before our trip!
- Hex bugs. Does anyone not love these things? I mean really…they are hilarious and so fun.
- I filled one whole bag with wooden teethers and baby toys and mirrors.
- Stickers! And paper to stick them on! My though process with this one is that the Little One can be doing this while the older two are doing their scrap book-y stuff, listed below. Eh? Eeeeh? I’m always thinkin…
- Mini wooden farm animals.
- A few more Miniature puzzles with magnets on the back
- Shapes, fractions, and colors wooden chips cards
Audio Books – My two oldest girls have Disc men and headphones, which may or may not be necessary (since we have already ascertained that baby will be happy happy the entire trip). I love audio books and so do my girls! Here are a few of our fav’s that will be coming along; Winnie the Pooh, Adventures in Odyssey, Aesop’s Fables, Swiss Family Robinson, the Bernstein Bears, the Secret Garden, The Land of Stories, The Cat in the Hat, Peter Pan. We probably have a lifetime worth of hours between these options, but I am also planning on checking into our library to see if they have other fun books and titles to listen to!
Dry Erase – This one is so simple it’s almost funny. Just remove the insert out of a DVD case and slip a plain piece of computer paper inside. I put dry erase crayons inside the case, along with a rag to erase, and they have endless hours of drawing entertainment! Easy peasy.
Other Miscellaneous games and activities include;
- Connectagons (seriously one of the best inventions for kids, ever!)
- Lots of card games (hearts, go fish, matching, rummy, old maid, war, etc.)
- Popcicle Sticks with Velcro on the tips for making letters, shapes, etc.
- Disney Tins with magnetic letters and numbers
- I found these GREAT miniature Disney themed play sets on Black Friday last Fall! They are so adorable! The kids are going to love them. What better thing to unwrap on the way to Disney Land to get us into the “Princess Spirit” (as if we need an excuse! Lol).
- Books for everyone – mostly paper books but there are a few new surprises loaded onto their kindles as a last resort
- When all else fails, there is pureflix or netflix we can stream from our tablet. Though I really am trying to keep screen time to a minimal for this trip. And always…the struggle is so real, right?!
First Aid Kit – This is not an activity, exactly, but still a very necessary part of any expedition, especially with kids, am I right? Here is my working list…
- Band aids of various sizes
- Ibuprofen (both for adults and the babies)
- Car Sickness Medication (my oldest gets horrible motion sickness)
- Cough Drops
- Calamine Lotion, insect itch relief cream (in case of an itchy itchy rash…or bug bites)
- Various burn relief pads, sprays, and treatments
- Rubbing alcohol
- Aloe Vera
- Tweezers & Fingernail Clippers
- Gauze pads and wraps
- ACE Bandages and Sports tape
- Allergy Medicine
- New Skin
- Iodine (for disinfecting)
- Baby Powder (we’ll be at the beach as much as I can manage…and baby powder is the best for getting all the sand out of “all the places”)
- Diaper Cream
- Baby Wipes
I will be keeping this box in my car from here on out, and I suggest everyone have, at least, a basic first aid kit in their vehicle. You just never know what you’re going to need or when!
That’s a Wrap!
One of the most exciting parts of having all of these fun activities for the kids? I am going to be wrapping a lot of these fun treasures up and doling them out at specific times and intervals as we travel! So they will get a new distraction every few hours to keep them from getting too bored. I think it’s going to work!
Alright, that’s a wrap on road trip activities! Stay tuned, because this week I will be working out, planning, preparing, portioning, and packing up the hardest and most important part of any traveling: FOOD! We eat a pretty specific diet and I am a tad bit neurotic about my kids eating toxic chemicals and such (I know, I’m so annoying) that I can’t stand the thought of “just eating out” for every meal! We might actually die. So you better believe we are bringing a cooler the size of a Prius and staying in hotels that have some sort of fridge or kitchenette. And, of course, I will have every Whole Foods charted along the entire California Coast before this trip is over! Ha!