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Old 05-25-2002, 04:47 PM
ski ski is offline
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Traveling with a toddler

We are having a family reunion this summer and it will be a 4 hour drive. Does anyone have any suggestions on things to do with a toddler(3 yrs.) for this long? I thought of those color forms we used to have as kids in my day.
If anyone travels alot with kids, I'd appriciate all your tips.
Pa. Mom of two boys. SAHM
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Old 05-27-2002, 04:14 PM
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Hi Ski! Do you have a kids' cassette player? Borrow some kids' cassettes or read-along-books from the library or buy a couple of new ones before you leave. I usually check the clearance sections (or garage sales) for books and activity books. Don't let your child see them until you're in the car. My kids are 8 and 11, and they still take out their MagnaDoodles once in a while (or Etch-a-Sketch); or take along similar toys that don't have a lot of little parts.

I always pack some snacks (in a small children's backpack) since kids seem to eat more often than adults. Then they have a snack available at the hotel for bedtime. And we usually have a cooler in the trunk packed with juice boxes, water, and grapes.

Don't take along crayons; they'll melt in the car.

Happy Traveling!
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Old 05-27-2002, 06:54 PM
Amanda's Avatar
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Location: southeast Wisconsin
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Actually there have been some great threads on this subject in the past on these boards. Here are a few of them!

Traveling Games

Favorite Car Games

Making the Children Comfortable

There's also some good articles on this site:

Stress Free Travel With Kids

Stress-Free Travel With Your Children: Part II

Travel Games for The Preschool Child

Travel Lap Desk with Wipe-off Top
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Old 05-28-2002, 04:45 PM
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We travel with children from 2 to 7 y/o. 4 hours really isn't that long, even for a 4 y/o. Is the 4 hour time frame you gave the actual drive time without pit stops? If so you will need to add about 1 to 1 and a half hours to that.
Make one or two rest stops, walk him/her around some to use up some of that stored up energy. Books and coloring books are my children’s favorites to take along. Also non-sticky snacks are good to take.
Have you considered traveling at night? Night travel is good being as the child will probably sleep most of the way, and the rest stops are kept to a minimum.
Happy Traveling!
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Old 05-29-2002, 07:04 AM
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Pinkie Winky

Dear Ski.......

I have a four year old girl and she is the hardest one to intertain...we just resently took an 8 hour trip to Grandparie and tell me its hard to entertain her for that long...First of all make sure you bring plenty of snacks and some juice boxes( i like the powerade bottles for that because they dont leak)Second.....crayons and paper....for her birthday her uncle got her this little portable flip top desk...inside u can put paper, coloring books...crayons or markers.....she just loves this she just loves to this works great.....she sat there most of the time and drew us hundreds of pictures......she also has a little fisher price piano (if you can handle the played this and serinated us the rest of the way.....and Third be prepared to stop to go pee at least 4 times..this also give you a chance to stretch your legs...and for the kids to get rid of pent up;-)


Last edited by emajmom; 05-29-2002 at 07:30 AM.
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Old 05-29-2002, 10:35 AM
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Hi Ski,
I frequently travel with 3 y/o and 1 y/o plus dog to parents or in-laws while my DH is on long trips. I ususally leave around 10 pm or midnight (less traffic and sleepy kids). When they wake up we eat and I give them a backpack stuffed with snacks and games. I have discovered Crayola's Color Wonder is perfect for long car rides and flights. The kits can be a little expensive, but if you only let them use it on a trip it is well worth it. You can find them at Walmart. My DD has fallen asleep with the caps off the pens and it didn't mark on anything. They can stain, but if you call thier 1 800 number they will help you with stain removal. If your son/daughter is awake at the 2 hour mark, and there is a place to stop, get out and streach and let him/her know you're half way there. Story tapes are great too, plus they keep the driver awake. I usually pop in a book tape when the kids fall asleep. Have a great trip!!
Military wife and SAHM of 2 precious girls
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Old 06-01-2002, 07:58 PM
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We have a motorhome and take the grandchildren 11, 9, 4, 2, and 1 yr old with us on trips. The little ones usually fall asleep in their car seats with a favorite toy. It is the older children who complain the most

We check the map for a park to stop at every 2 hours so we can all take a break. It gives the little ones a chance to play and the older ones get a well deserved break. We bring out snacks for a mini-picnic because only bottled water is allowed while we are driving.

We also let each child bring a small box that they get to pack themselves. It is fun to see what each child brings.
May God give you for every storm, a rainbow, for every tear, a smile, for every care, a promise, and blessing in each trial, for every problem life sends, a faithful friend to share, for every sigh, a sweet song, and an answer for each prayer.
~An Irish Blessing
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Old 06-01-2002, 08:49 PM
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Pinkie Winky Traveling with little ones

I have eight children and have learned through the years. Use pit stops to go potty and run around.----Only eat in the car if you want to make time, yes it can be messy(choose carefully what lunch, dinner, etc. will be) but it will give the child something positive to do. The driver can eat when the child is running and getting there energy out. Traveling during nap time will also give you quiet driving time.----Bring new things on the trip---I buy things that I normally would never by. For example on our last trip from WI to NY I bought glow pens and Black Writing paper and card decks.(regular for big kids, picture cards for little ones.)
This makes time fly. Once you are at your destination hid everything for the ride home. Hope this helps. Happy traveling.
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Old 06-02-2002, 04:44 AM
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My children are 4 and 3 and travel 3 hours at least once a month to visit dh parents. We try to leave after lunch and they normally fall alseep within an hour of the trip. Sometimes not and then we chat or see who has cows, sheep, or horses on their side. They also have some books and their toys with them.

I keep a small cooler on the floor behind my seat and have water , pop or juice in bottles too. Some small snacks as well. With my dd being 3, we take her potty with us (she doesn't use it at home as its the travelling one). That way if we have passed a town or gas station and she says I have to go we can pull over onto a side road.

DH and I use to travel late at night too before kids. It really is a great way to go - no traffic and no cops out at that time of night. I used to manage a fast food restaurant and would get home anywhere from 1-3 in the morning - so we would head out then.

We did take ds to Montreal one year to visit a great aunt and travelled at night. He slept all the way and when we got there he was awake and we were all tired. And guess who got to stay up with him! Little sleep does not do me well and I missed going to see the Canadiens Play as I was dead tired

Hope some of these tips help.
Ontario, Canada
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Old 06-02-2002, 06:58 PM
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I have a 20 month old and a 4 year old. When we travel I keep a bag full of toys, books, snacks, and extra sippy cups of water in the front seat next to me. If the kids drop a book/cup, I just hand them another one. By the time my bag is getting low it's usually time to stop to eat. We usually go somewhere with a play area so I can eat and they play. They eat when we get back in the car (chicken nuggets and french fries aren't that messy). We also listen to kids music tapes and sing for miles.

We have an 11 hour drive to make in a month. Hope the drive is as pleasant as our other trips. Wish me luck!
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