Traveling with kids is not always a picnic, but when your families live 8 & 15 hours away (as ours do), road trips aren't really optional! My hubby & I have always loved traveling, and we continue to do as much as we can, even dragging our posse along with us. :) In December, we did a 35 hour round trip with 4 kids under 4 (2 of whom were foster kids and untested in a long road trip!), in June we did a 23 hour round trip with the same crew, except they were now 5, 3, 2, & 1.
But now I'm facing a new challenge, driving solo on the 30 hour round trip with my 2 kiddos (5 & 3)! So while I know my kids are good travelers, I'm still working ahead to make the trip as seamless as possible.
A long time ago, I heard a friend mention in passing about making little bags to hand over to your kids each time you enter a new state. I filed it in my brain-stash of "do this sometime" and now, I feel the time is here! While we will have an open basket of toys & books to keep them occupied in the car, getting handed their own little bag of goodies at each state line will definitely be helpful in preserving everyone's sanity. :) Here's what I've been compiling......
First thing I did was hit up Five Below & The Dollar Tree. These bags can be as simple or as elaborate as you want them to be. You don't have to spend much or anything at all. There might be plenty of little gadgets around your house that your kids don't play with often, but sticking it in a goody bag might bring it new life! I spent less than $15 on some new art supplies & trinkets.
Stickers are always a good road trip item for my kids, a notebook & pen, book, toy, & a few snacks. Probably the least exciting bag, but we'll still be pretty fresh into the trip. Saving the "big guns" for later. :)
A fresh notebook, new box of crayons, & stickers. I thought these binoculars (Melissa & Doug / we already owned them) might be a fun road trip toy!
I will add celery to dip in the peanut butter and we love Trader Joe's organic suckers which don't have any artificial dyes, synthetic chemicals, or artificial sweeteners. I'm not saying they're health food, but a better sweet treat for the road. :)
Silly putty - yes! A shared movie to watch together.
Color by numbers book, dot paint (love that stuff!) and a robot transformer. Seriously, $3 total is sure worth a lot of sanity saving!!
Modeling clay and a new baby doll will make a happytraveler. :)
And we know that getting there is only half the journey, so I am keeping out some items and will try to re-build the bags for the trip home!
Another idea to include is coupons for screen time (phone, ipad, movie, ect...)
I know that squabbles are inevitable and so that's why I'm also bringing along my handy-dandy timer. (It can also be used to track the coupon for screen time). If there is fighting or whining that is driving me crazy, I'm calling out TIMER TIME!! Timer is set for 5 minutes during which there is NO talking. Usually after 5 minutes, they've forgotten what they're upset about and peace can resume. :) .
Maybe you're not traveling 5 states away, if your drive is 6 hours, you can plan bags to pull out every 2 hours or whatever is adaptable for your travels....you get the idea!
Traveling with kids CAN be fun and for sure, the destination is always worth the journey!
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