We are days away from hitting the road for our 5 months in transit before heading overseas to Japan! We aren’t exactly living out of our car, but we have to fit everything we will need in it and comfortably drive across the country to each of our destinations so I’ve embraced the minimalist approach to fit everything I think we will need. Space Bags have become my friend for packing enough clothes to outfit me and the two boys over 3 seasons. I’m praying they don’t fail me because I just might have an explosion of clothes if the air gets back in them.
So, what am I packing to keep 2 young boys entertained for the long car journey? I thought I’d give you a list of things we’ve accumulated for our drives. The boys have become road trip champs with all the traveling we have done with them, but traveling in a car for days at a time can wear on anyone. First off though, these Travel Lap Trays are awesome! I think I saw that you can make your own with cardboard boxes or use cookie sheets if you didn’t want to purchase any but having a harder surface for them to play on made a huge difference in our comfort level on road trips.
1. Melissa & Doug Travel Hangman: This requires 2+ people so my 5 y/o plays with the passenger in the car. It gets interesting when he misspells a word!
2. LeapFrog LeapPad2: We found each of the boys a LeapPad on Craigslist just for this road trip. We do like to keep their screen time to a minimum but sometimes you just need some quiet time in the car.
3. Woodsies Natural Skill Sticks: These you can buy at a craft store too. They can build houses right on their lap trays.
4. Crazy Aaron’s Putty: I love this putty. It keeps little hands busy, it isn’t sticky and never dries out.
5. Curious George Magnetic Tin Play Set: This has a couple different scenes and magnets that they can play with. They do a lot of imaginative play with these.
6. ThinkFun Rush Hour Jr.: One of my favorites to watch him do. This keeps him entertained sometimes up to an hour while he goes through all the cards.
7. Brain Quest Workbook: Kindergarten Workbooks make him feel like a big kid and the lap tray makes it easy for him to work on his pages.
8. Space Race Pinball I love these old retro games. I found this one at World Market.
9. LeapFrog Mr. Pencil He doesn’t use this as much anymore since he’s learned how to use a real pen, but he still likes to read the books that came with it and learn some of the drawing strokes.
10. Ball in Cup I think this was a gas station find on a road trip awhile back but he loves it and it’s great hand/eye coordination for him.
11. Roadtrip USA Geography & History I did buy the download for the USA curriculum knowing we’d be going through so many states on our trip and not having the time to put something together myself. Some of the curriculum is a little too old for him at the moment but I did print out the coloring pages for all the states we’d be traveling through. They have fun facts for him to learn and we’ll be doing the postcard activity as well as learning some history for each state we pass through.
12. Free Intricate Coloring Pages – Do a google search! There are lots of free ones on the web. Just print out and let them color.
1. Early Learning Flash Cards These are great for reinforcement and practice as long as they can do most of them on their own.
2. LeapFrog LeapPad2 A Craigslist find for us.
3. Melissa & Doug Lacing Cards Great for hand/eye coordination and a nice quiet activity. We take these to restaurants too for some quiet time before the food arrives.
4. The Scrambled States of America (Book & CD Set) This is a fun story that comes with a cd so the kids can look at the book and listen without having me read it to them.
5. Curious George Magnetic Tin Play Set My 3 y/o got one of these as well and he loves it even more than the 5 y/o.
6. LeapFrog LeapReader Junior This was a hand-me-down from his older brother and it keeps him busy reading on his own.
7. Coloring Books If you bring coloring books in the car keep the crayons out of the heat! Some brands make more of a mess than others.
8. Space Race Pinball This was a great find for both ages.
9. Wikki Stixs They can mold and make fun figures out of these.
10. Dora’s Car Bingo
11. Pipe Cleaners To play with much like the wikki sticks.
12. Matchbox Cars You can make roads on the windows with window markers before you leave or with tape on the lap trays. My kids like to make them fly too so they seem to keep entertained in their 3 ft car bubble space.
What keeps your younger kids the most entertained on long road trips? I’d love to know!
Happy Road Tripping! If you’d like to follow our journey across the states as we eventually make our way to Japan, you can follow me on Instagram or check back for updates on the blog!
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