A long road trip with a toddler can seem incredibly daunting. They can be more vocal, more alert and need a little more entertaining than a newborn, but traveling by car is often a cheaper option than flying with a toddler. Whether you are planning on just one or several road trips with a toddler, these tips will help to keep your sanity intact.
Road Trip With A Toddler Tips & Fun Activities To Keep Boredom at Bay.
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6 Helpful Tips for a Road Trip With A Toddler
If you are wondering how to plan for a road with a toddler and how to keep your toddler or baby entertained on a long car trip, then we have you covered!
1. Make sure your car is fully serviced and ready to go.
Fill up the car with gas or petrol the day before your trip and check that windscreen wiper fluid etc are all topped up, tyre pressure is good to go and that you have relevant car breakdown cover and contact details easily accessible. Seemingly obvious tips, but I have forgotten before and regretted the extra early stop!
2. Expect to Make Several Stops
Toddlers will need either a diaper/nappy change or fairly frequent toilet stops. When traveling with a toddler, a stretch of legs, will also help burn off some of that energy and relieve any boredom too. Keep diapers/nappies, wipes and a changing pad close at hand. If you are traveling with another adult driver, take turns driving so you can both rest and try and keep long hours of nighttime driving at a minimum.
3. Bring An Old Towel & A Plastic Bag.
Just in case little one is sick all over their car seat, use an old towel, piddle pad or disposable baby changing mat to line their seat. Any of these will do the trick, and then you can just ditch or stow in a plastic bag without having to wash the entire care seat.
4. Don’t Forget Toys for Car Trips With A Toddler & Preschoolers
When you are searching for toddler travel toys for road trips or flights, the emphasis slightly shifts to keeping your toddler entertained in car with more stimulating and engaging toys. Having a range of car activities for toddlers is important as their attention span is limited.
Long road trips with toddlers will still mean several pit stops, but will give you plenty of opportunities to swap over toys, refill any snacks and stretch everyones legs. Car travel with toddlers can be more fun for you too, as they can engage in singalongs or simple I-spy games and have more dexterity for the following road trip activities and toddler toys for the car.
Gel re-usable window stickers
An alternative to classic stickers are gel window stickers or gel clings which great for traveling with toddlers in the car. These are reusable, mess free and very handy if you little one can see and reach the car window to stick them on. (One for toddlers who won’t try and put these in their mouths!) For Amazon worldwide prices see here/ or for an alternative range of window clings see here.
Melissa & Doug Water WOW
One of our favourite road trip activities for toddlers are the mess free kind. Melissa and Doug do a great range of books which use a pen filled with water to colour in the pictures on each page called Melissa & Doug Water WOW. These are mess free and unlimited colouring! For the latest prices on Amazon worldwide see here. For an alternative range see here.
Reading books like Fox’s Socks, Hide and Seek Pig
You may well have an older sibling road trip who will read to your toddler or flap books such as Julia Donaldson ‘Lift the Flap’ series. Fox’s Socks, Hide and Seek Pig etc. or books with texture can help to make this a quiet, solo activity for your little one too. An audio book could also be great if all passengers don’t mind listening to toddler-friendly stories.
Wooden Cheese Activity Toy
A friend recently recommended this Loobani Wooden Cheese Activity Toy for a road trip with a toddler. This wooden threading block which is great for developing fine motor skills – plus it’s a very quiet travel toy. For more information on Amazon see here.
Crayola Color Wonder
Crayola Color Wonder are a great option for a car travel with toddler activity, as they are mess free and have large pens for little hands. On a road trip with our 2 year old, these ‘Magic’ pens which only show the colour on the special colouring book and not on clothes, seats etc were a life save – she was not covered in pen or paint for once! For more information see here. For alternative crayola color wonder sets, these are available.
If you have a tray table in your car or a travel drawing tray, triangular crayons like these from Melissa & Doug, don’t roll away. These are are always on our list when travelling with a toddler! Genius invention.
Magnetic Board Playsets
The magnetic board playsets open up and creates a scene with characters and accessories that stick to the board! The photo above shows construction sites, but there are also dinosaurs, pirates, ballet, mermaids and lots of other choices for boys and girls.
Magnetic Travel Tangram
Another option for one of the best toys for car trips for pre-schoolers is a travel tangram set. This educational travel game is made of wooden magnetic blocks with non-toxic paint. Kids can look at the pictures and replicate them on the back of the board which is magnetic. For more information and latest prices see here.
Reusable Puffy Sticker Play Set Travel Toy
These reusable puffy stickers sets are great to include as part of your collection of travel activities for toddlers in the car – especially as they can be used again and again. Let kids create transportation adventures again and again! The sturdy background board (with built-in handle!) folds to neatly store it all away. For alternative prices on see here and to compare on Amazon see here.
Fun games for a long car ride
Games for the car for toddlers and preschoolers could include, In My Bag I Packed…A simple memory travel game for toddlers, but great to add a little competition which is easily accessible for all participants on the road trip by listing something you would pack in a bag you take on holiday or vacation and then repeating this but inserting your own addition afterwards.
Other classic travel games for toddlers include I-Spy, the first person to spot a green car, 5 sheep, etc.
You can incorporate some challenge by using the alphabet to list objects. A perfect travel activity for kids as it can help you all to remember those last few bits that you might have forgotten to pack for long car rides with toddlers and will need to grab on arrival.
MORE Travel Toys Ideas For Long Car Rides With Toddlers.
Traveling with toddlers in the car can be distracting, so here are a few extra toddler car activities and ideas if you need to keep them busy.
- Fuzzy Felt or similar
- Melissa and Doug reusuable stickers.
- Interactive Apps – See my separate post on Apps.
- Magnetic boards games
- Finger Puppets
- Toddler busy bags are also available ready-made online so here are a few options for you to choose from and some suggestions below of how to make your own!
- For some more screen free ideas see here
5. Remember Other Road Trip Essentials For Toddlers
Car Window Blind
Comfort on a long road trip with toddlers is an important consideration too. Even if you have tinted car windows, bright light can still be a distraction, so consider some window blinds for the rear seats too.
Travel Neck Pillow
Travel neck pillows are useful for those long car rides with kids. This Trunki travel neck pillow supports little heads for those over two. There are hidden magnets so the travel pillow connects under the chin to form a soft and supportive cushion – which stops your child’s head from rolling forward. For more information and latest prices see here.
First Aid Kit
If you are traveling with toddlers in a car or plane a first aid kit is essential. *Normal first aid kits don’t normally include kids medicine, so add kids’ Tylenol or Calpol to your kit.
6. Don’t Panic Over Tears
Hearing your own child crying can be incredibly stressful, so if your armoury of toys, snacks and other toddler travel activities are not helping, consider pulling over somewhere safe for a short break and a cuddle to reassure them. If you can’t stop, try changing the music, or singing a familiar song to distract them. toddler travel activities
7. Bring all the snacks
A variety of travel snacks will help keep little ones busy. When you are packing your favorite road trip snacks for kids, it is definitely easier and saves on squabbles if each child has their own snack pack. You can buy great ‘bento’ style organizer boxes which can hold a variety of travel snacks or for toddlers use something like the Munchkin snack catcher to stop spills on the go. They will get plenty of use whether you are on a long road trip with kids or an outing to the park.
Have you any car trips with toddlers planned? Let me know what worked best for you in the comments below! For older kids, you may be interested in road trip games for kids.
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