February 25, 2012

Sharing Saturday

You guys were so helpful several weeks ago when I asked about family vacation ideas.  I looked into all your suggestions and we're leaving on our first little family vacation tomorrow!  We found a killer deal on a short cruise so we took it.  We just told the boys today and they were jumping up and down.

So, the challenge is that we'll be in the car for about 10 hours each way.  Honestly, I don't think my kids have ever been in the car for more than one hour.  Other than a DVD player, do any of you have ideas on things to keep them busy/happy on a road trip?  I'd love any ideas.  I'll check them all out today and then we leave tomorrow.

I've never been on a cruise before and I'm pretty sure this is how I'm going to look and feel.  Remember this part from What About Bob?  "I'm sailing!  I'm sailing!"  Ha!  I can't wait.


Thanks in advance for your help!  You guys always have the BEST ideas!

49 comments:

  1. Having spent about 1/2 of my life on car trips, I love car games. Sadly, most of them cater to 10+ year olds. So, my family made up a fun game for young kids that we have been playing for years. It's kind of a backwards 20 questions. You start by thinking of an animal, you name something about that animal (for instance big ears, or grey, or long nose) and wait for people to guess. If noone does, say another thing about that animal until someone gets it right. Sometimes we keep score, sometimes just go around the car. The person who stumps everyone else could win, or the person who guessed the most correctly could win. You can get really into it by doing different groups like cars, food, cartoons, whatever you guys are into.

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  2. We are a military family, and when my kids were little we moved from Texas to California, 4 months later to UT, and then we traveled back and fourth to Arizona a lot, so my kids have been in the car A LOT. I liked to buy a lot of little inexpensive things like hotwheels, a package of gummy lifesavers (not too much candy, we didn't need hyper and then a meltdown) popcorn put in sandwich baggies, glowsticks, plastic dinosaurs, eggs from a vending machine, etc. and then I would wrap them all in little packages. When I could tell being board was starting to happen, I would pull out a "present", let them unwrap it and play with/eat it until they were over the new thing, and then I would pull out another. If they were contented for a while, then they didn't need another for a while, sometimes they would need another sooner, etc. I never spent more than $5-$10 on the treats, but it would make the trip more exciting for the kids.

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  3. SO, I have done numerous road trips with my shorties from Ottawa (Canada) to North Carolina and Florida - so like 18-24 hour trips. DVD player is good, but also make sure you have little toys and treats and things that you can pull out every hour or so. Doesn't have to be fancy; just stuff they haven't seen before. Dollar Store travel colouring books; a new toy car; packages of those little fruit chewy things that they don't normally have - stuff like that. I once gave my daughter (then 2) a box of bandaids and let her stick them all over the backseat (they were easier to peel off than stickers, and they took longer to unwrap - killed more time). Also, books on CD. We love Adventures in Odyssey (the Easter Story and Follow the Star) are particular favourites in our house. We also have a dramatized version of the Chronicles of Narnia, which my five year old is now starting to get into - maybe a bit tough to follow for your boys, though my 1 year old likes the music so who knows? I don't know what your library is like, but we always get a bunch of books on CD (you know the "when you hear the bing, it's time to turn the page!" ones - our library has a good selection of those.

    Have a great time!!!

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  4. I spent a TON of time on car trips growing up, and since we live overseas we travel a lot with our boys (2.5 and 7 months) on planes, trains, and automobiles, often for 10+ hours. So: bring LOTS of snacks. Healthy snacks like grapes or carrot sticks and not-so-healthy fun treats that they don't get often. Pulling out a new snack can deflect a tantrum and buy you another 10 minutes. Another trick is to bring some surprises for each boy (I've done 1 for each hour we'll be traveling, if it's a long trip), wrap them in tissue paper, and pull one out when you need a new activity... the unwrapping makes it feel like a special present and buys some more time. Raid the dollar store or the dollar section of Target for these - we've had big success with plastic animals or dinosaurs (wrap each one separately!), stickers, etc. Also bring a small bag/backpack for each kid stocked with coloring books/crayons, books to read, Etch-a-sketch/magnetic erase toy, a special stuffed animal, etc. You can read to them from the front seat taking time to show the pictures (provided you don't get carsick!) I'm also a HUGE fan of audiobooks - I have great memories of listening to different audiobooks on car trips growing up. "Adventures in Odyssey" are awesome, and your boys are probably old enough for some. (We would literally gauge how far we still had to drive by how many episodes we could listen to.) The library might have a bunch. Bring fun CDs that everyone can sing along with. Play a version of "I spy" where you see who can be the first to see a cement mixer, or a bulldozer, or a garbage truck. Plan time at rest stops/gas/food breaks to run around, preferably outside but a play place can be good too. Just make sure they get some energy out and move! Play hide and seek or tag or race from one tree to another for a few minutes. If you treat the whole thing like a big adventure, they will, too, and on the way there they'll be so excited about the cruise that you can use that as a good distraction, too. Coming home, you can ask variations of "what was your favorite part?" Have fun!!

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  5. I have to agree with the others, little trinkets and coloring books are great and do kill a little time. We don't have a DVD player in the car so we always listen to books on tape...everything from Dr Suess to Magic Tree House. And then processing the story aftewards takes a little time, too. One of my favorite parts of taking road trips with little ones is that it is a chance to just totally talk to them, live in their little world and get caught up. I know you spend a lot of time with them (as I do with my kids), but sometimes they have so much more to say than they ever get to say at hom! Good luck and have fun! :)

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  6. I saw the What About Bob pictures immediately opening the post and thought, "THIS is going to be a good post." =) Have an awesome time on your much deserved vacation!

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  7. My daughter is only 2, so what keeps her entertained on car trips is probably different than your kiddos... but we do magna-doodles instead of coloring books so that she doesn't lose the writing utensils en route (the magna pen is attached). Also, always plan for lots of extra stops to burn some energy-- nice rest areas or even just a small green area next to gas stations (get creative). Bring a small ball for them to throw or kick out there. We usually try to look up play centers on the way to stop if there's time and only if we're driving near there during a desperate moment.

    If you have stashed any toys away (maybe you rotate toys out like we do), bring those stashed toys instead of ones they've been playing with.

    Have fun!

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  8. I have driven 15 hours by myself and flown a lot with my kids so I definitely agree with the above. Little toys from the dollar store work really well. But create a schedule so that you don't run out. I would buy enough for a new toy each hour. The kids could always stretch playing with the toy they had until that next hour would happen. Otherwise you would be done too early.

    Lots of snacks. I love mini cereal boxes as an alternative for junk food when they don't want the fruit or healthy snacks. Easy to eat dry in the car.

    Also, make sure they are warm. Even in the middle of summer I have socks on my kids in the car and also their blankets to grab when they want. Warm feet and full bellies often help assist some great car napping time. Cold feet = cranky kids.

    And DVDs of tv shows I found always worked better than movies for my little kids. They were more able to be distracted in smaller doses.

    Good luck and enjoy your vacation.

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  9. One thing that really works for my kids is for them to have their own snack bags. I take a gallon ziplock and put a bunch of snack size baggies filled with their snack in it. This deters them from fighting over who go more or not handing over the box of crackers etc. Plus they keep their track in the big bag so there is less clean up. Total bonus!
    We also like books on tape to listen to when they had enough of the DVD's. And they have their own grab bags of coloring books, magazines, games, etc.

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  10. I usually bring books, and some toys my daughter enjoys playing with. And coloring stuff. She usually ends up playing games on the ipad. They have some really great interactive games. Another good idea is to leave early in the morning, so they might still be asleep.

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  11. We drove up to WV from where we live in the south a lot growing up and my mom is amazing at distracting us! As time passed we got to open a brown paper bag every hour with a new treat, toy, or activity. Also on our trip down to FL one time and my dad made a little map for each of us with marked distances and each time we reached one we could color in the map to that point. Have fun and good luck!

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  12. Put together activity bags with stuff for them to do. This link http://naturalparentsnetwork.com/activity-bag-fun/ has lots of ideas.

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  13. DVD player would definitely be the key for us. I always check out a bunch of new Dora, Winnie the Pooh, etc. videos from the library so they have new material to watch when we're traveling. Also, I like to bring healthy snacks that my kids like so they're not on a sugar rush the whole time. I do buy some fun treats that I don't buy on a regular basis as well.

    Another key for us is that we insist my three year old naps (just like she does every day) and we use watching dvd's as leverage. Works every time. Then we all get some silence in the car and she's a happy girl.

    Also, push the fluids about an hour before you know you're going to stop for a potty break. That way you aren't stopping every little while.

    I bring coloring book and crayons and toys as well, but it's really amazing how the kids just want to watch the dvd player the whole time. :) Good luck and have a great vacation!

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  14. We have traveled a lot and I always take a bucket of toys and activities that I can set between their carseats. A few favorite books, magnadoodle, and a few favorite toys make the trip a lot easier. I also throw in a little notebook and some new stickers for my older child. He likes filling the notebook with them.

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  15. We're in the van most of the summer to and from camping :) The dvd player is a must for sure {how did our parents live without them?} I also pack a bag of portable snacks that I can toss back at the boys, water bottles, Leapster video game systems, etcha-sketch type things, there are these clipboard things that you can get from Crayola that have the colouring book and crayons all together, books, cars {if you want to get really crazy you could tape a little track ~ with painters tape, within reach, in the car}
    Have a wonderful time!!!!
    xo

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  16. We went on ALOT of road trips when I was a kid. Family of five smooshed into a tinly little Honda. My parents would always let us pick out some cheap toys that we wouldn't get to play with until the trip started. We also used to play this game where we spotted different cars for points. My dad would come up with a point system based on how rare the vehicle was...easy stuff to identify like motorcycles, horse trailers, slug bugs, certain colors, ect. It was a pretty extensive list and my dad would be in charge of keeping track of the points on a scorecard. My sisters and I are all four years apart and all three of us loved this game :)

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  17. I take toys that are favs and then get some new toys from the dollar store or some place like that. I put all the toys in different plastic baggies....so cars in one bag, action figures in another bag and so on....then I have all those baggies in a big tote that I keep up in the front with me. As we go I'll hand my son a bag and let him play with that toy....for most toys we tell him he has to play with it for a certain amount of time before he can have another toy and if he gets tired of playing with it before the time is up he has to just talk with us, listen to us talk, or look out the window.....this helps to stretch the toys out over a longer period of time...otherwise you will go through the toys at lightening quick speed! He loves those little foam stickers, a notebook and markers too! We also don't start out with the dvd player....that is the highlight of the trip so he has to start out with the "boring" toys first. He's 3 so he doesn't get the concept of time yet, but we'll tell him time frames too, so like you get to play with a certain amount of toys and then we will stop for lunch or bathroom break and then you get to watch a show. I also have snacks in my tote that are in fun little containers...so I can hand him a snack quickly and easily....and the containers are ones that we don't normally use. We drive to see grandparents quite often so the toys, snacks and containers I use I reserve only for the road trips so it's exciting to have "new" things. We also have several playlists on the ipod of just kid songs.....but my husband and I also have things that are "big people" music and he just has to be content with us listening to it with us! When we stop we try to find a rest stop with room for him to run around or a McDonalds with a play place! I have found that having a plan is the best thing to have... I will also get library books and have him look at them and then later read them to him.

    Hope that helps! Have a fun vacation!

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  18. Painters tape is great for traveling. It comes off of things very easily and they can rip it easily them selves. Then they can tape things to the back of the seat in front of them without any worries. We will bring things for them to cut out from magazines to make collages, give them a list of things to look for. Also, I can't say enough for Crayola Wonder Items, there are some on clearance at my Walmart right now. Other than than, I think all my other ideas have been stated, Have fun!!

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  19. This is something I saw on Pinterest yesterday... Great idea! http://www.the-acts-of-grace.com/2011/03/diy-busy-wallet.html
    We've also listened to books on tape (short ones, obviously, when they're little) or storytellers. A good storyteller for your boys would be Bill Harley, or Eric Wolf. I think you can probably download stories off of itunes for both of them.

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  20. My family lives 8 hours away, so we take long car trips at least twice a year. We just got back from a trip there last weekend. We let each of our boys (5 & 3 & 1) have their own back and pick out the toys they want on the trip. Then I also back a big back of books that they enjoy looking at. Also, on this last trip that we took, I bought a notebook for each boy and gave each boy a ziplock bag with crayons and a pen inside. They spend A LOT of time drawing and coloring in their notebooks.

    Last year, at the Library, I found in the kids section you can check out books with CD for the kids. You put the CD in the car and the boys can listen to the book on CD while they look at the book. They usually have turn page signals so the boys know when to turn the page. They have loved those as well.

    Another thing is to have a cup with straw/sippy cup, etc for each kid that they can access on their own. And lots of snacks...We usually take crackers, small boxes of raisens, fruit (bananas, apples, grapes, anything that isn't too messy) as well as some fun snack that we don't usually have like cookies and gummy bears.

    One last thing...Stop often. We usually try to stop every 2 hours. Most of the time those stops are quick ones, enough time for them to go to the bathroom, refill waters and get back in, but it sure does help to break up the time.

    Good luck on your trip and I hope you have a fun time!

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  21. It looks like you got some great ideas! I hope ya'll have a wonderful trip! Can't wait to see the pics and hear all about it!

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  22. I do five hour road trips with a two-year-old and six-month-old pretty frequently. DVD player is a must, we have a Kindle Fire the toddler knows how to navigate and play games on, and I have CDs of music she loves. (For example, she's obsessed with the Sound of Music, so we listen and sing our hearts out.)

    I have a bin of toys in between their car seats that the toddler has easy access to, and I usually put a few "surprise" treats or toys in there for her (Target Dollar Spot usually provides ;) ). Oh, and I always plan on stopping lots. I have a standard looooonnggg stop in the middle where we stop and eat and play at a playground, but I also stop if either of them is having a total fit so we can regroup. I just plan on taking my time.

    P.S. I pinned this a while ago. I think it's so stinkin' cute. I think the two-year-old is about ready for it... http://pinterest.com/pin/83738874290974977/

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  23. I hope you have a ball! My only suggestion is to have everything (new and old) hidden in a backpack, and space them out. I've even heard of wrapping some of the items to increase excitement. Mostly just have fun and realize your little boys will only be little once!

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  24. We did a 10 hour drive to Oregon when our two kids were 4 and 2. Movies were a big part of it, and we made sure to borrow a bunch that they'd never seen before so they wouldn't be bored so quickly with the old reliables. They also each got a small dry erase board (from the office supplies section) and some markers to color with. The boards served dual purpose as a lap desk for regular coloring. Then I bought each of them a shoebox tote for $1, decorated the totes for each of them with some quick stickers and their names, and filled them up with fun little toys. I just hit the party favors section at WalMart. My daughter got things like necklaces and rings while my son got army men and parachute guys. Throw in some mini notebooks and coloring books, a mini Crayola Color Wonder, etc, and just fill it to the brim. Save this for your most desperate time (or the drive home when they don't have the excitement of a new adventure waiting) and they'll save you several hours of boredom! Oh, and make sure they each have their own travel sized pillows and a favorite blanket to make it easy for them to take a nap...THOSE are the easiest times! :-)

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  25. we drove 12 hours 2 days in a row to Cali. once. I too had a tote for my then 6 yo and different/new toys for each day. He had snacks, color book, crayons, some special disney toys but the thing he played with the most was a water filled yoyo ball he had to have at a gas station for $2! He would hang it from the hanger hook on top and avoid it's swing, hours!!! Best 2 bucks we spent on the whole trip!!!!!:) As suggested stops are important, we would race around the rest stop building just to help get out thost small bursts of energy.

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  26. We just got back from San Francisco...a 13 hour car ride.. :((. I made my little boy a busy book! I took a 1" binder & got some clear sheet protectors. I put in coloring pages, tracing pages, stories etc. I bought the dry erase crayons so he cold color & erase. It worked out wonderful! Plus the pages can be changed out every now & then! Have SO much fun on your cruise! I swear it's the BEST way to travel!! Drive safely!!

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  27. I just saw a fun thing at Costco I'd like to get for our kids on our next trip - it's a little case with magnets, coloring, and stickers inside. They have cars, toy story, and princesses. There are different background scenes and magnets the kids can pretend with. $10 each.
    Have fun!!

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  28. I just had a trip and after being asked too many times, I got a little list going four my 4yo. It had ask the towns we were going through and every hour. She then got to cross of each as we went through or each hour so she could see how could see far we had left.

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  29. Hit the dollar store for little toys, coloring books, crayons, etc... and present them with one new "gift" per hour. Make little magnet games using empty Altoids tins (tic tac toe, etc...). Pack CDs of kid songs and sing along together. Take lots of pit stops. Prepare for some fussing!

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  30. Try Veggie Tales...they have stories and fun music. Sing along song always were a hit then quiet time for movies. But everyone suggestions are good! Have a safe and FUN trip!!

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  32. Aluminum foil is so fun....they can use it to make animal shapes or swords or whatever!

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  33. we have a family of 6 and go on a 6 hr trip almost every summer. the best thing i've come up with were traveling binders. i recently changed them to dry erase like the one you posted a while back. i use various coloring pgs, mazes, activity pgs, vac. games {car bingo, signs bingo, etc.}, i spy books and other books too, magnetic games {making goofy faces, matching ppl, etc.}, alphabet and number tracing are great too. i packed this binder, water bottle, a few snacks (we usally carry a tote of extra snacks/drinks for backup so we're not spending an arm and a leg everywhere we go.) and some toys in each of my kids' personal backpack. also, ALWAYS be prepared to make pit stops. possibly see if there's any neat stops to eat at or visit on the way... or even some parks just to get some fresh air and let them play. don't forget to take lots of pix.

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  34. I haven't read all of the replies, and I'm sure you already have a ton of ideas, but the book Carschooling rocks. Some of it is geared towards older kids, but there is SO many great ideas for all ages--my husband and I really enjoyed them as well (which is always a perk! lol) on our 3 week roadtrip across the country last summer.

    Another thing that was surprising to me was how often my kids (who are 3 1/2 and 6) just wanted to BE. You know, sitting there looking at the scenery passing by (especially if it's dark out--they travel SO well at night because everything looks so different), chilling out. This definitely lasted for longer periods of time with my older child, but I was surprised at how much my younger one enjoyed it as well.

    Good luck!!

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  35. my suggestion has nothing to do with keeping them occupied- but it has saved us many times. I always bring a box of gallon sized ziploc bags in the car. My kiddos get car sick at times and they can puke in the bag and you can zip it up until you can get somewhere you can throw it away. They are also great for holding wet/dirty clothes or just for emergencies on the way because you just never know what's going to happen. :) Have a great trip.
    xoxo

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  36. We have done some of the same things mentioned above with toys/prizes/snacks given out a regular intervals along the trip. But I saw in a magazine a great idea that I added to it. You tie a string around the ceiling in your car and have it knotted at even spaces that represent mileage along the route. I have the Mexican Train Game and strung one of those little trains on the string and moved it every 50 miles so they could literally see how far we had to go and how far we had come. We handed out our distractions when the train hit certain points along the string.

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  37. I drive home every month or two (7 hours each way) with my son. He's used to it, but there's a lot of things that help us a lot:

    -stickers (peel away the negative space so they can get stickers off themselves)
    -colouring books (I like printing off my own colouring pages based on his interests)
    -and colouring supplies, crayons or colour wonder markers are best
    -dvds and a dvd player (seriously a life saver, but I like to limit the screen time)
    -my old iphone with some apps for kids
    -I made a busy book for my little man (http://www.acireadventures.com/2011/09/gavins-skill-book.html), which you obviously don't have time for, but somethings in it that he loves are: string, buckles, a zipper, buttons (to do up, like on a shirt), velcro, snaps, etc. You might be able to put together something simple with similar elements.
    -snacks! having individually portioned, healthy snacks are awesome. If you have them in bite sized pieces, it's a bonus because they make less of a mess.
    -small magnet boards or felt boards with accessories to play with
    -cars or other small toys they can play with in their seats
    -have you seen those velcro sticks on pinterest? I've never tried them, but they look like they could be a fun thing in the car
    -treats (aka bribery). maybe not as needed since there are two adults, but when my son and I make the 7 hour trip alone, I have a bag of treats (skittles, fruit snacks, etc) visible so he knows that if he's good he can have one every now and then. They're a good reminder for him to let me know when he needs to go to the bathroom too!
    -kids music or music you often listen to together so they can sing along or do any actions if they know some.\

    Best of luck! Enjoy your trip. :)

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  38. What a super fun trip! I've been on a few cruises in my life, and one with all three of my kids for a week in the Mexican Riviera. It was a great trip. We aren't big on driving, so our kids don't sit in the car for too long, but there was a trip to Whistler where we had 7 hours in the car. We did bring the DVD player along but promised that would be a last resort. We never used it. We do lots of books on CD like Junie B Jones (something my husband and I laugh at and the kids enjoy), the kids do lots of reading (even the non readers at the time, can look at books). I make a huge library trip ahead of time to gather lots of fun new things.

    Also, I always make a dollar store trip. I get one small thing for each hour and then wrap it, then the kids get to unwrap one every hour (we do this a lot for plane trips). I try to get things that will keep them busy for awhile.

    Our kids also love slug bug and the license plate game. We try to see how many license plates we can see in the time that we drive from all the different states. Might be fun to do one on the way there and the way back and compare.

    Good luck! Have fun!

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  39. As simple as it sounds, magna doodles are life savers for us. You can usually find small ones at the dollar store.

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  40. Something I did with my then 4 year old, was give him a list of towns that we were going through/past.... he was good at naming letters, so when we got to the next town I would have him "read" it to me (spell it out) and then he got to draw a line through the name.... this helped him "see" how much farther we had to go, it was easy and it breaks things up.... in between time he could play, sleep.... if he fell asleep, I would go ahead a mark off (check mark) the towns we went through.... remember to do the reverse for the way home! Have fun!

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  41. see if you have any friends who have MobiGo or Leapster toys that you can borrow! Nicole has a MobiGo and she gets a new game whenever we go on a trip. I like that those games are all educational. MobiGo is for ages 3-8 if I recall correctly. I actually bought it for her around the time that Olivia was born so she'd have something to keep her busy if I was busy dealing with baby.

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  42. You have already gotten a lot of great tips but here is one I don't think I saw. A roll of foil. They can make shields, swords, hats, little people...and its pretty cheap. Also I don't give my kids any toys or snacks to start out with. The excitement of the trip is enough till they start to get antsy. This saves some of your surprises for later. Have a great trip!

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  43. When I was little, my dad's family lived in FL and we lived in NY. A few times a year, we would take the drive (around 22 hours) to visit my grandparents in FL. This was before technology, so my mom got us a brand new box of crayons, new coloring books, books to look at, and plenty of snacks. Usually by the end of the trip we were bored with all that, so we played the license plate game. We would look at the license plates and, depending on our ages, try to make the alphabet, or find all 50 states, or make words, or find our phone number or our age. For instance, a car drives by with the license plate AHU876. There was the A. Then we would look for one with a B, a C, etc. If you're on busy roads this game works well.

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  44. Just make sure to make plenty of stops. Even adults get restless after awhile.

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  45. How fun! We are leaving for a cruise in 2 weeks. I am excited!

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  46. I just moved across the country with my 3 yr old. We were in the car for 4 days! I bought the tag reading pen from leap pen on eBay with a couple of books. It was a life saver... he'd read for HOURS!
    It might be too late to get off eBay....but I would pay full price because it was so great!
    We've been on lots of cruises and my son loves having chocolate milk waiting for him at the dinner table. Your boys are going to love it!

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  47. Probably too late now, but maybe helpful for another time. We drove to Disneyland in December w/ a 5 yr old, 2 year old, and 9month old. Some of the favorite things were least expected. They loved the Christmas window clings I got at the dollar store to decorate the windows. Also there were a few hours (like from 6 to 9) when it was dark out but they weren't going to sleep yet; I had a pack of glow bracelets..the kind you crack and they light up, they were a huge hit! Totally awesome for a car trip at night. They thought of all kinds of games to play with them.

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  48. My kids are in the car for long trips all the time and we do not own a portable DVD player. I don't let my kids watch tv much or get on the computer. So in the car, we usually plan it around nap or bed time and for the time they are awake I have coloring books and crayons. They also get to choose a toy for the car. But if they are used to entertaining themselves at home, they will do it in the car too. If it gets bad, you can play guessing games and my son loves listing to stories on CD like Robin Hood, Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, etc. Good luck and have tons of fun!

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  49. Plan for lots of stops. That's super important and my biggest tip! No toys can compensate for regular stops to let the kids burn off some steam. Take a ball or something to get the kids running around for 5 or 10 minutes. Or plan a longer stop, and wear them out so much that they go to sleep! My husband and I took our kids on a 5 month road trip around Western Australia and the Northern Territory. We took a Jayco camper trailer, and yes. I lived in a camper trailer for 5 months! Colouring books and markers were the best for our kids - we only used the DVD player twice on that whole trip. I also took Poingo books for them. It's a reading system. It has a digital pen that "reads" the stories and does activities with the kids, and they come with headphones that you can plug into the pen which was a great bonus - there was no arguing over volume. There's also "Spotto" which is like I spy or a treasure hunt, where the kids have to spot a certain thing and when they see it they yell out "SPOTTO!" That one kept them entertained for a while. And for my husband and myself, my wonderful sister-in-law gave us a sealed envelope that we were to open on the road. Inside it were 50 questions to ask your spouse. Some were serious questions, some were lighthearted and funny. But it made for some great conversation, and we learned a lot about each other and talked to each other in a way that we normally wouldn't. Good luck, and have a fantastic, much deserved holiday!!

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