Tips for Keeping Your 3 Year Old Entertained on a Road Trip

Hi, guys! Happy Hump Day!

We had such an awesome time at Stowe Mountain Lodge. What an amazing place. I seriously can’t wait to tell you guys all about it! In the meantime, I wanted to share some of our tips and tricks for keeping a tiny human entertained on a road trip. It look us about 4 hours to drive to Stowe and nearly 7 hours to get home. Ya, I know. It was a lonngggggg ride home, which involved hitting rush hour/stop and go traffic —> Qman getting car sick —> vomit —> taking a pit-stop at Bertucci’s to clean him up. Poor kid. He was totally fine after he puked, so we grabbed dinner before making the rest of the journey home. Anyway, now that summer travel is upon us, here are some ideas to keep your little one entertained when they’re trapped in a car seat for hours!

  • Plan your travel around nap or bedtime. This is probably a bit of a duh tip, but it’s definitely a good one!
  • Give your little one a new toy right before they get into the car. It totally doesn’t need to be something extravagant. Even picking up a few small items from the Dollar Store or Target will keep them entertained for awhile. Similarly…
  • Create a “knick-knack jar.” It’s literally a jar with random items from around your house and/or the Dollar Store that they can explore. We did this for Qman, and he loved it!
  • Let your kiddo photograph your road trip with an old point-and-shoot camera or your cell phone. They can snap shots of what’s happening both in and outside the car.
  • Play silly games. We typically make them up on the spot (they’re so ridiculous sometimes), but two of our favorites from this trip were “I Spy” and “Fire and Ice.” <— You freeze someone by pointing and saying “ice.” They can’t move until someone else unfreezes them by saying “fire.” Quinn thinks it’s hilarious!
  • Enjoy a family singalong! Play your kid’s favorite soundtrack. We love Moana right now, so we belted out a number of songs during our road trip!
  • Feed ’em. Pack lots of snacks and drinks.
  • Plan stops around kid-friendly attractions or search for nearby playgrounds, so your tiny human can run out some energy before getting back into the car.
  • Utilize a tablet or DVD player to play games or watch movies. Obviously, this isn’t a great option for us since Quinn gets car sick easily, but I know this works well for a lot of families!

Question of the Day

What’s your favorite tip or trick for keeping your little one(s) entertained on a road trip?

 

18 Comments

  1. I don’t have any kids of my own, but my dad always said the trick to a long car ride with kids was keeping us well fed and entertained! He would always find new and fun snacks for us to bring and would entertain us with tons and tons of elaborate stories he would make up about our favorite cartoon characters while he drove (usually from Winnie-the-Pooh)! He would stretch the stories for hours and always made long drives go by so quickly- that time in the car turned in to very dear memories!

        1. We don’t let him read or play with the tablet in the back seat. We’ve also started bringing a “puke kit” of sorts for easier clean up.

  2. Having multiple little new gifts and snacks (about one per hour, dollar store stuff) that you gift wrap. Kids love opening presents! My mom used to do this for us and I did the same when my kiddo was little.

  3. The last long road trip we took I brought jelly roll pans (or cookie sheets would also work) and tons of those letter and number magnets. For some reason kids LOVE magnets! The only crummy thing is the jelly roll pans take up space in the car.

  4. Sending this on to every parent I know! This has been huge and I know prevents a lot of my friends form taking trips since they’re so worried about the car ride. This is amazing and I know they’ll be super appreciative. Have an amazing week Tina!

  5. Planning travel around nap time is key. And lunch is around that time, too, so we try and kill two birds with one stone. My parents live four hours away, so timing is key!

  6. We use to plan our departure right at nap time….and for some reason they always took a longer nap in the car. Win-Win!!

    (I also remember a time when our kiddo puked licorice all over herself and her car seat…..talk about a smell!! Yuk!)

  7. I love the idea of a knick knack jar. Traveling around naps helps a lot I have found. I also try to plan ahead and pick stopping places that have something cool to see, or an area where the kids can run around for a few minutes before getting back in the car.

  8. Regarding car sickness- my son gets crazy car sick in WV mountains. We have found that diffusing peppermint oil helps a ton. I put the oil on q-tips and hang in front of air vents. When he gets a bit weird feeling, he just takes the bottle to smell. We’ve had sooo many cleanup free car rides since starting this.

  9. That is such a cute picture of Quinn! I would say it definitely looks like your tips work based on his reaction! Keep it up!

  10. Our little one year old is the worst passenger in cars! She was born hating the car! We are off on a road trip in France soon so I will give some of your tips here a go and see if it helps 🙂

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