Young Toddler Road Trip Essentials

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Before we left for vacation, I tried to really prepare myself for our 15-hr road trip with our 17-mo toddler.  I went on Pinterest for ideas and a lot of what I found really only worked for older toddlers.  I don't trust my 17-mo with crayons and a coloring book in the backseat because, lets be honest, they will end up in his mouth.

And if you know a 17-mo, then you know they have an attention span of a gnat.  So, I took a little bit of ideas from here and there, and then found what worked for us based on Ryan's current likes and dislikes.

While he had his moments of meltdowns, they were fairly short and his attention could quickly be diverted to something far more entertaining than crying his eyes out and mommy/daddy losing their minds.

Here is what worked for us:

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1.  iPad Car Headrest Mount - This was probably one of the best items we used.  We uploaded some Mickey Mouse episodes and some movies and Ryan was totally entertained.  We don't let him watch a ton of tv at home, but then again, he also is too busy running around... but the car is an exception.  He can't run around and gets quickly bored/uncomfortable so this is a luxury for him to watch endless amounts of his favorites.

2.  Skip Hop Backpack - We packed this bag with Ryan's books, phone, cars, doddle, and wow water book.  It kept everything in one place and we had the bag right beside Ryan so that he could reach and grab what he wanted.  

3.  Disney Movies Anywhere - I used this app right before the trip but I felt it included a shout out.  Using this, you can download any Disney movie that is not in the vault.  Some of Ryan's favs he watched (aside from Mickey Mouse episodes) were The Incredible's and The Jungle Book.

4.  Sandra Boynton books - We are huge Sandra Boynton fans and Ryan giggles endlessly at her books.  We grabbed some of our favorites and stuffed them in the bag.  Ryan would hand me some so that I could read out loud and then he would also grab them and read on his on.  Or should I say, babble.  (It's the cutest.)

5.  Zoli Snack Cups - I used this to keep all of Ryan's snacks separated into individual servings.  It was quick to grab and then pour that individual serving into his snack grabber cups.  It also saved space from having to pack his boxes of snacks.

6.  Melissa & Doug Wow Water books - Ryan has not quite mastered coloring since he would rather chew on the crayons so this is the next best thing.  You put water in the pen and he can "color" the pages.  The water turns the pages into color.  It's "practice" coloring.

7.  Mini Magna Doodle - Another version of "coloring" that we used.  The mini magna doodle is a perfect travel size and helped provide some distraction.  We actually bought this right before the trip and surprised Ryan with it while in the car so that it was something new and exciting to play with.

8.  Insulated Picnic Basket - Life saver for the parent and the child.  We packed Ryan's milk and anything else cold in their with a few ice packs.  It kept everything perfectly cold so that there was no spoiled milk.  I kept a ton of fruits in there too so that everyone had some healthy snacks.

9.  Vtech baby smart phone - We got this for Ryan when he was about 7 months old and he still loves it.  He practices talking on it.  He has the smart phone thing down pat.  He can press buttons to play music, dial numbers, etc.  

10.  Munchkin snack grabbers - We use this along with the Zoli Snack stacking cups.  We pour the individual servings from the Zoli cups into this snack grabber when it is snack time.

11.  Nuk Learner Cup - Don't forget your sippy cup!  This is the ONLY sippy cup Ryan will use. After spending endless amounts of money trying to find the best cup, this is the only one he will use.  It's a soft spout and although he can make it leak, its the easiest for him to drink out of.  He will not try anything else...  AT ALL.  I am not saying you should buy this cup, I am merely saying you must have your sippy cup with you for milk or water to keep the little one's thirst at bay.  If a toy will not entertain them, snacks and milk will!

12.  Vtech Go Go Smart Wheels - We have TONS of these little cars.  They are supposed to go with many of the Vtech tracks but Ryan has not quite caught on to using them on their play tracks.  But he loves pushing the buttons to make the cars light up and use their sound.  Then he likes to push them all around.  We packed several into his bag and he loved playing in his seat with them.

A few other pointers:
  • ~If you are going on a very long road trip (like our 15-hr one) break it up into two days.  We split ours 50/50.

  • ~Take frequent stops to let the little one run around.  We took several rest and food stops and let Ryan stretch his legs.  It allowed him to get some energy out and run around.

  • ~Make it fun.  We put on some jams and did some car dancing and singing.  Ryan found it hilarious that we were his entertainment and even clapped for us when he approved of our skills.

  • ~Put some apps on your phone and hand it to him.  You can turn the guided access on if you have an iPhone that way they only stay on the game you handed to them.  We did that several times with Ryan's favorite app Peekaboo Barn.


Any items that you use on road trips that work?